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All About Teeth Clenching and Grinding

All About Teeth Clenching and Grinding

During these unprecedented times of COVID 19, people, on average, are experiencing a higher prevalence of stress and anxiety. Stress and anxiety may be caused by social isolation, inability to see friends and family, loss of a loved one or job, or financial hardship. Stress and anxiety may present in many different ways, including headaches, problems sleeping, upset stomach, chest pain, elevated blood pressure and even teeth clenching and grinding. 

Teeth clenching and grinding are both considered involuntary movement disorders. They can either happen while awake or asleep and are an unconscious habit. Clenching is when the upper and lower jaw bites together with force, and grinding is when there is also a movement of the upper and lower teeth against each other with force. Teeth grinding is very common in children and is usually grown out of with age. The medical term for teeth clenching is “bruxism.”

What are the Signs & Symptoms?

Typically, the signs and symptoms of teeth clenching and grinding include, but are not limited to, a sore jaw that can sometimes feel like an earache, sore muscles in the cheeks and neck, headaches, sleep disruption, tooth pain or sensitivity, clicking or popping in the jaw joint, lockjaw and flattered or worn surfaces of the teeth. Occasionally, there will be no signs or symptoms associated with teeth clenching or grinding, primarily if it only occurs infrequently. 

What is the Treatment?

Although it is difficult, if not impossible, to prevent teeth clenching and grinding, there are treatment options to prevent the signs and symptoms associated with it. There is no treatment recommended in children who grind their teeth, as they will usually grow out of the habit. For adults, there are several options for treatment, which most often involve the use of a nightguard. A night guard is a sturdy plastic tooth covering used to alleviate stress on the teeth and jaw. Nightguards can be fabricated in several different forms, such as with clasps or no clasps, with a bite pad or no bite pad. Other options to correct teeth clenching and grinding are correcting tooth alignment, such as the use of braces, Botox injections in the muscles around the jaw, stress and anxiety management and muscle relaxant medications.  

If you think you may be clenching or grinding your teeth, know that this is a prevalent habit, and you are not alone. Especially during these unprecedented times, many people are dealing with more stress and anxiety. It is essential to seek treatment to prevent tooth wear. If you have any questions about teeth clenching and grinding, we are happy to see you and encourage you to call us today to schedule an appointment. 

 

What is Dry Socket and How to Prevent it?

What is Dry Socket and How to Prevent it?

A dry socket can occur after the extraction of a tooth when the blood clot that forms to protect the nerves and bone from direct exposure is displaced. A dry socket can be very painful but can often heal quickly when treated. A dry socket can occur up to a few days after the extraction of a tooth. 

Symptoms of Dry Socket 

  • Throbbing pain  
  • Bad taste in the mouth 
  • Bad breath 
  • Fever 

Home Remedies for Dry Socket 

It is essential to make sure you return to see your dentist if you experience any of the symptoms listed above. There are several options for at-home remedies to help the healing process. 

Clove Oil  Clove oil is great for protecting against a dry socket because it is antibacterial, antiseptic, and has pain-relieving properties. Use it by placing a piece of gauze with a couple of drops of clove oil on the extraction site. 

Salt Water  It is generally recommended to rinse with a warm salt water rinse after extraction as it helps with the healing. Saltwater also helps to reduce pain and prevent infection. Make sure to rinse gently 2-3 times a day. 

Hot and Cold Compresses – The extraction site recommends a cold compress to help reduce pain and inflammation, and a hot compress is recommended for the cheek near the extraction site.  

Honey – Honey has shown to reduce inflammation and prevent necrosis. Use a piece of gauze with some honey on it and dab it onto the extraction site. 

NSAIDs – Anti-inflammatory drugs are recommended to help reduce inflammation and pain. Make sure to follow the instructions on the label.

Turmeric – Turmeric may also have an anti-inflammatory property. Again, you can use a small amount on a piece of gauze and apply it to the extraction site. 

Green/ Black Teas – These kinds of teas can help reduce inflammation near the extraction site. You can either drink the tea or rest a soaked tea bag on the extraction site. 

Aloe Vera – This helps prevent a dry socket and promotes collagen formation and blood flow to help to heal. 

What to Avoid 

  • Avoid smoking and any other tobacco use 
  • Avoid drinking any fluids through a straw 
  • Avoid spitting too hard 
  • Avoid brushing specifically in the area of the dry socket (make sure to continue brushing & flossing the rest of your teeth as normal) 

If you believe you may have a dry socket from an extraction site, make sure to return to your dentist for an examination. Your dentist will clean out the area & apply a medicated gel or dressing and give you follow-up instructions. If you have any questions about a dry socket, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment

Learn How To Keep Your Teeth Clean While Wearing Braces

Learn How To Keep Your Teeth Clean While Wearing Braces

It is essential to make sure you keep your teeth, gums and mouth healthy with dental braces because you can be more susceptible to cavities, bacteria build up and gum inflammation during this time. Dental braces can be tricky to clean because there are more nooks and crannies where plaque can get trapped. Surfaces that require adequate and consistent cleaning are the biting surfaces of teeth, along the gum lines, in-between the teeth and around the brackets. Listed below is a range of tools that you should be using to help keep your mouth healthy during braces. 

Electric Toothbrush 

It is vital to use an electric toothbrush during orthodontic treatment to keep your teeth and braces clean and plaque-free. Electric toothbrushes can do a better job of cleaning than manual toothbrushes due to their electronic brush strokes. Electric toothbrushes come in an either circular or oval shape and use either an oscillating or a sweeping motion. Electric toothbrushes can help access areas that are difficult to get to with a manual toothbrush. Make sure to use your electric toothbrush at least twice a day. 

Water Flosser 

A water flosser is a tool that utilizes a jet of water to help flush out plaque from around the teeth, gums and brackets. A water flosser is the best way to access difficult areas that a toothbrush can’t fit, such as between the teeth. Make sure to use your water flosser at least once a day. 

Floss & Floss Threaders/ Superfloss 

Flossing can be tricky with dental braces, but floss threaders and super floss help speed up the process. Both of these tools have a rigid end that helps to poke the floss underneath the wire. Floss threaders use regular floss to loop through, and super floss is a pre-cut piece of floss. Make sure to use your floss at least once a day.

clean dental braces brush dentist

Proxabrush 

This is a small pipe cleaner-looking brush that helps clean between brackets and underneath the archwire, which can be challenging to access. The small bristle protrusions trap and pull out plaque. Try to use your proxabrush at least once a day. 

Dental cleanings are recommended more frequently during orthodontic treatment to help keep your teeth and gums clean, around every 3-4 months. If you have any questions about tools to use during orthodontic treatment, we encourage you to contact us to schedule an appointment today. 

Tips for Managing Dental Anxiety

Tips for Managing Dental Anxiety

It is quite common to feel a little stressed or anxious when thinking about the doctor or the dentist. Most of this fear comes from the idea of the “unknown,” or feeling a lack of control. Rest assured that many other people out there feel this same anxiety about dental and doctors’ offices. The last thing you should do is avoid going to the dentist because infrequent dental visits can lead to gum disease and cavities, which worsen with time. Avoiding the dentist can lead to issues with eating, speaking, pain, and low self-esteem.

Forms of Dental Anxiety 

Anxiety can present itself in the form of an upset stomach, hot flashes, sweating, palpitations, low blood pressure, fainting, hyperventilating, difficulty breathing, and even panic attacks. One or several of these symptoms may be experienced. 

How Can We Help Your Anxiety? 

  • Talk with your dentist about your concerns. If your dentist is aware of your anxiety, they will be able to alter treatment to fit your needs, such as detailed explanations about treatment and slowing things down.
  • Ask what tools are available to help with your anxiety in the office. These office tools may include TV/ movies, noise-canceling headphones, blankets, aromatherapy, or relaxing music. 
  • Dental sedation such as nitrous oxide, conscious sedation, or general anesthetic

How Can You Help Your Anxiety?  

  • Meditation to address your dental anxiety, make sure to take deep breathes and practice mindfulness 
  • Distract yourself from your surroundings. Use your phone, watch the TV or movie, listen to some music. 
  • Use a stress ball or something similar to hold in your hand. 
  • Use visualization techniques to daydream. 
  • Consider using anxiety medication. This must be discussed with your medical doctor before your appointment. Certain medications can help for the short term to take the edge off. 

If you experience dental anxiety, and if you haven’t been to the dentist in a long time because of your dental anxiety, we encourage you to contact us today to discuss options. 

What Is a Sports Guard and Why Might You Need One?

What Is a Sports Guard and Why Might You Need One?

Sports guards are required and beneficial for any sport where there is a risk of contact with objects (such as a ball, puck or stick) or another person. Examples of contact sports include hockey, basketball, football and lacrosse. A sports guard consists of a plastic tray that covers your upper teeth and palate to prevent any tooth or jaw injury. Sports guards work by reducing/eliminating the amount of trauma sustained during an injury by taking the force and dispersing it throughout the guard. The guard acts as a cushion between the upper and lower jaw. 

There are two main types of sports guards, professionally made sports guards and store-bought sports guards. These two options offer very different protection and come in at a very different price point. 

Store-Bought Sports Guard

Store-bought sports guards come in a universal shape and are made out of plastic, which is boiled and bit into to leave the jaw’s shape for a comfortable fit. A boil and bite sports guard offers protection for the teeth and jaw, but because it doesn’t fit precisely to each individual mouth, it lacks the quality of a professionally made sports guard. Boil and bite sports guards are recommended for kids whose mouths are changing and growing. Around 14 years of age, it is recommended to switch over to a professionally made sports guard. 

Professionally Made 

A professionally made sports guard is fabricated in a lab, specifically for each mouth. The first step in the process is to have impressions of your mouth to give an exact mould of your teeth and jaw. After about a week, you will return to your dental office to try the guard in and make sure it fits snug. Because professionally made sports guards are made for each mouth, they offer a far superior fit and better protection against tooth and jaw trauma. 

How to Care For Your Sports Guard 

  • Clean your sports guard after each use with a separate toothbrush and warm water 
  • Avoid hot water on your sports guard as this can warp the plastic material and alter the fit 
  • Store your sports guard in a clean sports guard case 
  • If you notice any cracks or chips in your sports guard, bring it in to the dentist for a check 
  • Wear your sports guard any time there is a risk of a contact injury, even during practice 
  • If you can pop your sports guard out with your tongue, the fit is too loose, and it requires adjustment 

If you believe you would benefit from a sports guard or have any questions about how they work, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment. 

 

We Are Still Open!

We Are Still Open!

WE ARE STILL OPEN!

Following the province’s recent COVID-19 lockdown announcement in Ontario, we want to let you know that we are still open! Our dental office will remain open as an essential service to serve you and your family.

Rest assured that we have taken all measures to meet or exceed the recommended sterilization and safety protocols. We have installed medical-grade HEPA air filtration units to continuously recycle the air in each room and in the entire office. As well, all patients are screened before treatment, and all high-touch surfaces are wiped down frequently throughout the day.

It is best to treat dental issues early on before they become painful and result in more costly treatment. Avoiding dental treatment increases your risk of the following:

  • Development of gum disease
  • Progression of gum disease into periodontal disease
  • Increased rate of dental decay if existing dental decay is not detected by dental exam or dental x-rays
  • Lack of oral health monitoring 
  • Reduced cancer screenings during oral checkups

We encourage you to contact our office today to schedule an appointment.