Posts for: May, 2015
Sure, it’s big news when celebs tweet selfies from the dental office… if you’re still living in the 20th century. But in Hollywood today, it’s harder to say who hasn’t posted snaps of themselves in the dentist’s chair than who has. Yet the pictures recently uploaded to Twitter by Mark Salling, the actor and singer who regularly appears as Noah “Puck” Puckerman on the popular TV series Glee, made us sit up and take notice.
“Getting my chipped tooth fixed. Also, apparently, I’m a big grinder,” read the caption. The photo showed a set of upper front teeth with visible chips on the biting surface. What’s so special about this seemingly mundane tweet? It’s a great way of bringing attention to a relatively common, but often overlooked problem: teeth clenching and grinding, also called bruxism.
Although bruxism is a habit that affects scores of people, many don’t even realize they have it. That’s because the condition may only become active at night. When the teeth are unconsciously ground together, the forces they produce can wear down the enamel, cause chipping or damage to teeth or dental work (such as veneers or fillings), or even loosen a tooth! While it’s common in children under 11 years old, in adults it can be a cause for concern.
Sometimes, mouth pain, soreness and visible damage alert individuals to their grinding habits; other times, a dental professional will notice the evidence of bruxism during an exam or cleaning: tooth sensitivity and telltale wear and tear on the chewing surfaces. Either way, it’s time to act.
Bruxism is most often caused by stress, which can negatively impact the body in many ways. It may also result from bite problems, the overuse of stimulating substances (caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs), and as a side effect of certain medications. Sometimes, simply becoming aware of the habit can help a person get it under control. Common methods of stress reduction include exercise, meditation, a warm bath or a quiet period before bedtime; these can be tried while we monitor the situation to see if the problem is going away.
If stress reduction alone doesn’t do the trick, several other methods can be effective. When bruxism is caused by a minor bite problem, we can sometimes do a minor “bite adjustment” in the office. This involves removing a tiny bit of enamel from an individual tooth that is out of position, bringing it in line with the others. If it’s a more serious malocclusion, orthodontic appliances or other procedures may be recommended.
When grinding is severe enough to damage teeth or dental work, we may also recommend a custom-made night guard (occlusal guard), which you put in your mouth at bedtime. Comfortable and secure, this appliance prevents your teeth from being damaged by contacting each other, and protects your jaw joints from stresses due to excessive grinding forces.
Whether or not you have to smile for a living, teeth grinding can be a big problem. If you would like more information about this condition, call our office to schedule a consultation for a consultation.
The term “makeover” is a powerful word in today’s society. It’s used for a variety of things — hair, body, lawn — that need more than a different style, a little toning or some new shrubs. A makeover is a transformation, replacing the dissatisfying status quo with something new and dynamic.
Your smile and its various components — teeth, gums, jaw structure and facial features — might also be a candidate for a makeover. This involves more than just a few modifications. It’s the answer to a smile we avoid showing in photos, cover with our hand when we’re speaking or laughing, or makes us feel older than we really are. In other words, it’s a comprehensive change to a smile that inhibits us from fully expressing ourselves in our friend, family or career relationships.
Of course, for any makeover to succeed, it must follow a plan. A smile transformation is no different. The process begins with what we call a “smile analysis”: a comprehensive examination that determines the exact condition of your entire mouth. This enables us to identify problems and defects, understand how they interact with your other facial features, and then recommend a treatment plan that effectively addresses these issues.
The plan isn’t complete, though, without your input. You may want a complete renovation — to restore missing teeth or change their shape, color and brilliance. On the other hand, you may be more comfortable with a few subtle changes, perhaps even keeping slight imperfections that you see as part of the real “you.” Whichever path you take, the end result is a smile that makes you happy, and proud to show to others.
The various techniques and materials available through cosmetic or restorative dentistry can turn any disappointing smile into a beautiful one. Your journey to that newer, brighter smile begins with your next dental visit.
If you would like more information on smile makeovers through restorative or cosmetic dentistry, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “The Impact of a Smile Makeover.”
Find out when your Appleton, WI dentist might recommend that you get this endodontic treatment.
Noticing some problematic changes in your smile? Are symptoms worrying you about the health of your teeth? Find out if these symptoms could mean that it’s time to see your Appleton dentist Jolanta Pajek, D.D.S. for a root canal.
What is a root canal?
A root canal is a dental procedure that requires your Appleton, WI dentist to remove an infected or damaged pulp inside a tooth. A pulp can become damaged due to decay, infection or direct trauma to the tooth.
When should I get a root canal?
Are you suffering from any of these symptoms?
- Tooth sensitivity (too hot or cold)
- Pain when chewing
- Persistent tooth pain
- Pain that wakes you up at night
If so, then your symptoms could indicate that you need to have a root canal. It’s time to schedule an appointment with your Appleton dentist Dr. Pajek who will be able to properly diagnose your condition through an exam or X-ray.
How will my Appleton, WI dentist perform my root canal?
We will first administer a local anesthetic. Once the anesthesia has set in, we will open the crown of the tooth with a special instrument. Once inside the tooth, we will remove the damaged pulp and clean out the canals. Once the canals have been thoroughly cleaned of debris, infection or pus, we will begin to rebuild the inside of the tooth using a synthetic filler. Then a temporary filling will be placed on the top of the tooth. This filling will be removed once your permanent dental crown has been created and is ready to be placed over your tooth.
Will a root canal be painful?
Many people hear horror stories about root canals; however, the procedure is truly no more invasive than having a tooth filled. Before you start pulling out hair and biting your nails, keep in mind that this procedure is performed under local anesthesia to ward off any discomfort you might feel. Communicate with your Appleton dentist if you start to notice any pain or problems during your procedure and we will do whatever we can to make you feel more at ease.
Many people who come in needing a root canal are usually experiencing some pretty severe dental pain. A root canal is designed to eliminate that pain not cause more pain. Some patients even report feeling immediate relief after their root canal.
If you are dealing with persistent tooth pain, then it’s time to see your Appleton, WI dentist right away. The longer you ignore dental pain the worse it will get. Preserve your smile but scheduling an appointment with Dr. Pajek at Modern Touch Dentistry.