Are Your Teeth Shrinking From Stress?

 

jaw clenching can shorten teeth over time

jaw clenching can shorten teeth over time

Daytime clenching and nighttime grinding will erode the height of your teeth over time. Most patients we see are not even aware of these habits. Typically, the grinding and clenching is caused by stress.

This article has some great tips to help relieve stress, however the first step is becoming aware of the habit.

Some additional reasons for clenching could include:

Medications;
Lifestyle;
An unknown TMJ condition.

If you have clenching or grinding or even unexplained headaches, give us a call. Dr. Pete has treated such conditions for over 30 years.

Call 314-576-3000.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keeping Free From Cavities Is Old Time Common Sense

Look Ma' No Cavities!

Back in 1958 when this ad first came out, it was a lot simpler to stay healthy; food was more natural, people ate more fruits and vegetables and meats weren’t pumped up with chemicals. The environment was less toxic and couch potatos were unheard of.
Despite advances in science and technology, staying free from cavities and getting regular dental checkups still form the basis of good health. Just like this ad depicts. That’s probably why it was recently named one of the Top 100
Most Memorable Taglines.

If you do nothing else, keep your gums free of disease and your teeth free of cavities. Dr. Pete says: “There’s just no good argument for waiting to fill cavities. The earlier you get them filled, the more painless and less costly it is.”
Today’s nonmetallic white filling material is more attractive than the silver fillings of fifty years ago. It eliminates any risks connected with putting metal into your mouth. Dr Pete’s been using this material for over twenty years.
Did You Know the Best Time to Treat a Cavity Is When Its Not Hurting? Here’s why:

  1. Waiting until a cavity hurts can lead to more extensive work
  2. One of the best ways to prevent a root canal is to fill a cavity when it’s small
  3. Cavities usually don’t hurt until they grow and affect nerves or cause fracture
  4. Bad breath is one sign of tooth decay
  5. Pain when consuming sweet, hot or cold foods or drinks indicates tooth decay
  6. A cavity doesn’t get better on its own
  7. The most economical time to do fillings is when they’re small.

 

Emergency Dentistry is a Pain – Don’t Wait ‘Till It Hurts

emergency-dental-painLike death and taxes, there’s no avoiding neglected dental conditions. An untreated cavity will eventually get larger and possibly become that emergency visit in the middle of your vacation or work day. If left untreated long enough, it will require a root canal and crown — all costlier in terms of time and money than the simpler treatments when the condition is just starting to get bad.

A tooth that’s had a root canal needs a crown. Some put this off but in fact the tooth is frail and cannot withstand the burden of chewing without the crown. If it cracks (it’s dried out because the nerve is gone) it will need to be extracted. That means getting a dental implant and crown or some other tooth replacement.

Then there’s replacing missing teeth. When this is neglected, the burden of chewing is shifted to remaining teeth. Just recently, a patient with missing teeth on one side of the mouth cracked a tooth holding a bridge on the opposite side of the mouth, which was overused for chewing.

The moral is: the sooner dental conditions are treated, the less time and money you’ll spend.

Can Tongue Piercing Cause Dental Problems?

A survey of university students in 2006 found slightly more than one in 10 have a tongue piercing. If

your son, daughter or grandkid wants to join the growing number of young adults with pierced tongues, they should be aware that piercings can cause tooth chipping and breakage and lead gums to recede due to rubbing and irritation.

Are You A Night Grinder?

Teeth grinding is when you clench your top and bottom teeth together or grind your teeth back and forth over each other. Because it’s a subconscious muscle activity, most grinders grind without realizing it, until a fragmented tooth or facial soreness or other symptom occurs.

It is estimated that 10-15 percent of Americans moderately or severely grind their teeth. Normally, we exert about 20 to 30 pounds per square inch on our back molars when we chew. but teeth grinders, especially at night without restraint, can exert up to as much as 200 pounds per square inch on their teeth.

The relentless wear and tear at night from grinding can quickly erode enamel, fracture teeth, affect bite and damage the temporomandibular joint at the hinge of the jaw, and the masseter muscle, which controls the jaws. Jaw and face pain as well as earaches and headaches may also occur.

Having treated this condition for over thirty years, I’ve helped many night grinders eliminate their problems.

*Some information for this article was taken from NY Times article of October 2009: When Stress Takes a Toll on Your Teeth.

What Is a Deep Cleaning?

If you’ve been told you need a deep cleaning, also known as “scaling and root planing,” it’s important to understand what this procedure is and why it is absolutely vital to your dental and overall health to get it done — if you need it.

A type of gum puffiness, redness or bleeding means that your gums aren’t completely attached to your teeth. These areas that aren’t attached are called pockets and once they develop they provide an opening for bacteria to get under the gum line. Once it gets in there, it festers. Even if your gums reattach at the surface, if bacteria is trapped inside, it gets to work on your bone.

With a deep cleaning you get all of that trapped bacteria, plaque and calcification cleaned out. The result is your gum tissue can reattach to the bone. A deep cleaning, when necessary, is one of the most therapeutic health treatments you can get. Good gum health is a foundation of good overall health.

Here’s an example of how vital healthy gums are: a fellow in his mid forties came into the office with very puffy, swollen gums that bled when he brushed his teeth. Many of his teeth were loose and shifting. As you can imagine, his poor hygiene had led to other dental problems. He requested to have all of his teeth extracted and replaced with dental implants and crowns. Instead, I advised him to get a thorough deep cleaning. His own teeth could not thrive with unhealthy gums, and dental implants would not last either.

The Top 5 Causes of Bad Breath and Its Treatment

Robert had Eleanor intrigued ....

...until he got close enough to reveal his bad breath.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Original sketches by Suzanne Conway

 

A whiff of bad breath can sour a social encounter. An occasional “morning breath” doesn’t qualify as a case of chronic bad breath – also referred to as “halitosis.” When it’s from a meal of onions or garlic, chewing gum or breath mints can tide you over until you can brush  your teeth. However, when bad breath is chronic, it indicates a more serious matter. Chronic foul breath usually accompanies one or more of the following common factors:

1. Plaque Buildup. Cavities and tongues with deep grooves serve as prime reservoirs for bacteria we commonly call plaque – a sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on teeth. The bacteria produces volatile sulphur compounds that give bad breath, or halitosis.

2. Periodontal Disease. Gums that are puffy or bleed when you brush indicate infection.

3. Medications. According to the most recent research 7 out of the top 10 medications used in the US during 1998 had “dry mouth, bad breath, or taste disorders” as a side effect.

4. Tooth Decay. Tooth decay is just what the name implies–dead, decayed matter. Dead stuff smells bad by itself,and since the decay is fairly soft, it absorbs juices from the foods you eat, and that decays as well. Every area of decay is a potential source of bad breath. You cannot hope to eliminate bad breath permanently without first having the decay repaired.

5. Diseases. Some diseases are directly related to chronic bad breath such as diabetes, sinus and tonsil infections and lung, kidney and liver diseases.

Since chronic bad breath can be either medical or dental in origin, the first approach is improving oral hygiene. This includes the following:

•Scrape Your Tongue.

•Brush and Floss every day

•Get regular professional cleanings

•Treat gum disease with deep cleanings that eliminate bacteria that has penetrated into gum tissue that has pulled back from the teeth – called “pockets.” This allows the gums to heal and reattach to the teeth.

If the above treatments don’t address the situation, seek medical treatment for any chronic infections that are contributing to the condition.

Do You Have Symptoms of Imbalance?

Headaches or migraines.
Neck aches.
Facial pain with increased pressure in your head and sinuses.
You wake up with headaches or develop them by midday.
You have pain behind your eyes for no apparent reason.
You have sounds in your ears, but your doctor can’t find anything wrong.
You notice your smile is getting crooked as teeth wear down unevenly.
You’ve had an increase in root canals, especially on one side of your
mouth.
You have neck and low back pain that creates stiffness and inability to
perform tasks.
Your bite isn’t the same since getting cosmetic dental work.
You have head pain since your orthodontics.

Correct the Problem and These Symptoms Go Away. That’s Done By Balancing Your Head, Neck and Jaw Before Doing Dental Work. That’s What Orthopedic Dentistry Is All About. It Also Ensures Your Cosmetic Enhancements Don’t Create An Imbalance.

In a perfectly constructed mouth, the teeth and jaw fit together to perform the function of chewing. The slightest adjustment to a tooth can throw this precise functioning off-balance. Even the replacement of a filling can make your bite feel different if it’s not balanced correctly and if not adjusted, can cause your jaw joints to move out of place.

If just a simple filling requires such precision, imagine the skill required in placing veneers or implants while ensuring they not only look great but are completely natural in their feel and fit.

Like a perfectly balanced bridge constructed to withstand the elements of weather and carry immense weight, your teeth and jaw are designed with a similar precision. The ability to work with the precision of an engineer and the talent of a master artisan ensures your dental outcome is both sound and beautiful.

Designer Dentures?

Designer Dentures?
Rather Than Dread Dentures, Views Them as a
Chance to Design Your Own Smile
Morton came in as a new patient asking for a new
set of dentures. In collaborating with him so we
could make him dentures he would be proud to
wear, I asked him questions such as:
Do you want spaces between your front teeth?
What type of smiles do you like?
Who do you want to look like?
Do you want big teeth, little teeth, long teeth,
wide teeth?
• Do you want personalization, such as little
character flaws built into your teeth?
• Do you want perfect alignment?
Morton told me he’d never been consulted to that
degree like when getting dentures made previously.
He said for the first time ever, he was excited to get
his new denture appliance.
According to the Center for Disease Control, 1 out of
every 4 adults over 60 have lost all of their natural
teeth due to gum disease and tooth decay. Another
CDC report says 1 out of every 5 adults over 65 have
lost all of their teeth. Once that occurs, your choices
are dentures or implants.
Although dental implants are an excellent alternative
to dentures, not everyone can get them. This doesn’t
mean you have to dread dentures. The biggest
reason denture wearers switch to implants is:
• Their dentures are ill-fitting and uncomfortable;
• They don’t like how their dentures look.
You can dread dentures or view them as an
opportunity to design your smile. If you want to pay
$99 and get “teeth-on-a-plate” then the old adage
“you get what you pay for” applies.
On the other hand, if you want someone to craft an
appliance that feels and looks natural, you can spend
the money and get something that will make you
feel confident.
As an Art Minor in college, I see beyond the science
of dentistry. Although an appliance needs to be
engineered perfectly, the aesthetic appeal must also
be present.
If you need a denture, view it as an opportunity to
design the smile you’ve always wanted.
*BLOG is short for “weblog,” a journal posted online.

Rather Than Dread Dentures, View Them as a Chance to Design Your Own Smile

Morton came in as a new patient asking for a new set of dentures. In collaborating with him so we

could make him dentures he would be proud to wear, I asked him questions such as:

Do you want spaces between your front teeth?

What type of smiles do you like?

Who do you want to look like?

Do you want big teeth, little teeth, long teeth, wide teeth?

Do you want personalization, such as little character flaws built into your teeth?

Do you want perfect alignment?

Morton told me he’d never been consulted to that degree like when getting dentures made previously.

He said for the first time ever, he was excited to get his new denture appliance.

According to the Center for Disease Control, 1 out of every 4 adults over 60 have lost all of their natural teeth due to gum disease and tooth decay. Another CDC report says 1 out of every 5 adults over 65 have lost all of their teeth. Once that occurs, your choices are dentures or implants.

Although dental implants are an excellent alternative to dentures, not everyone can get them. This doesn’t mean you have to dread dentures. The biggest reason denture wearers switch to implants is:

• Their dentures are ill-fitting and uncomfortable;

• They don’t like how their dentures look.

You can dread dentures or view them as an opportunity to design your smile. If you want to pay $99 and get “teeth-on-a-plate” then the old adage “you get what you pay for” applies.

On the other hand, if you want someone to craft an appliance that feels and looks natural, you can spend the money and get something that will make you feel confident.

As an Art Minor in college, I see beyond the science of dentistry. Although an appliance needs to be engineered perfectly, the aesthetic appeal must also be present.

If you need a denture, view it as an opportunity to design the smile you’ve always wanted.

Dr. Pete’s Top 5 Dental Health Trends

Trend #1. The explosion of implant dentistry will bring costs down. Like computer technology costs came down with demand, so it is with dental implants. The cost of materials that kept prices high for implants and crowns is coming down simply because more people are getting implants for missing teeth and instead of dentures. 

The American Academy of Implant Dentistry reports, “As the Baby Boomers begin filing for Social Security, they’re replacing teeth weakened from periodontal disease with dental implants instead of bridgework and removable dentures. Further incentive is that highly precise computer-guided dental implant surgery has made the procedure faster, highly predicable and long-lasting with a success rate of 97 percent.”

Trend #2: Teeth straightening will increasingly become the first step in a cosmetic makeover. It’s been a common practice to place porcelain veneers on crooked teeth. While this gives the appearance of straight teeth, it does nothing to address the health conditions caused by uneven teeth. These create uneven bite pressure which can lead to health problems, including headaches and migraines. With more dentists understanding the connection between the bite and jaw joints and head, neck and back pain, concern for health will lead to correcting the uneven bite rather than covering it up with veneers.

Trend #3: Gum Contouring Will Become More Popular. Just like lip plumping or botox improve appearance without surgery, contouring gum lines will become popular as more dentists investing in acquiring and learning how to use laser dental equipment. With laser technology being used in everything from skin care to knee replacement surgery, it was only a matter of time before it would be more routinely employed in your dental care. In addition to gum contouring which, by the way, is also great for men, lasers can disinfect diseased gum tissue. They can also cut into the teeth, making it faster and more comfortable to get fillings.

Trend #4: 3D x-rays will enable more precise dental treatment. Technology called “cone beam” takes two dimensional x-rays and makes them 3D. This allows your dentist to provide more precise dental treatment. For example, with a 3d picture, your dentist can see the nerve tissue surrounding impacted wisdom teeth. This allows for a better surgery. With implants, we’re able to determine more exactly their correct placement.

Trend #5: Teeth whitening will become part of a daily makeup routine for women. Whitening pens like Liquid Smile will make a professional in-offce whitening last a lot longer. Instead of bulky whitening trays sitting in your mouth for an hour with saliva coming out the side of your mouth, pens allow you to touch up the teeth that are visible.