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. 


Dental Cleaning

Dental Cleaning

Dental Cleaning In Toronto, ON

During your dental hygiene appointment or at the end of your appointment, you probably remember the dental hygienist telling you to remember to brush and floss at least twice daily. This is great advice because proper oral care at home is the important part of maintaining your oral health. However, even with the best brushing and flossing technique, we still miss some areas of plaque build-up.

What Is A Dental Cleaning?

A dental cleaning is an essential part of good overall oral hygiene. It involves the removal of plaque build-up and tartar build-up from teeth and other hard to access areas, such as under the gums. Dental cleanings performed by a dental hygienist, but sometimes the dentist will perform the cleaning. Cleaning is achieved using an assortment of specialized dental tools. Your dental professional will perform an assessment of your oral health, and create a customized treatment plan tailored to your unique oral health needs.

Why are dental cleanings needed?

Dental cleanings are recommended at least two to three times a year. However, these requirements vary depending on your oral health. Regular dental hygiene visits help maintain oral health, and overall health to a smaller extent. Plaque build-up is sticky and causes dental decay if it is not removed regularly. Plaque that stays on the tooth for extended periods of time,hardens and is difficult to remove with floss and a toothbrush. Only a dental cleaning will remove hardened plaque effectively. Hardened plaque or tartar eventually causes bone loss if it is left untreated.

Dental hygiene visits contribute towards maintaining overall health also. Poor oral health is linked to heart disease, diabetes complications, and premature births. Bacteria found in the plaque may enter the bloodstream and become lodged in the arteries. Another reason why regular dental cleanings are vital to oral and overall health.

In addition to preventing dental decay and gum disease, dental cleanings reduce inflammation and swelling of the gums. Bleeding gums are also treated with dental hygiene cleanings and regular oral care at home.

Stain removal is another area where a dental cleaning helps. Patients with staining of the teeth due to external causes such as smoking, coffee, tea, or wine consumption will have surface stains removed during their dental visits. For patients with heavy staining, more than one dental hygiene visits will be necessary to remove all of the stains. Regular dental cleanings will prevent heavy accumulation of staining in the future.

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What to expect during a dental cleaning?

Your hygienist often starts the cleaning with an ultrasonic instrument to remove the bulk of the plaque and tartar build-up. The ultrasonic tool uses vibrations to break apart the buildup and uses water to wash away bacteria and build-up. Most of the stain is removed with this tool as well. The hygienist also uses manual instruments to access harder to reach areas and to remove stubborn build-up. Every surface of the tooth is cleaning in this way until all the teeth are cleaned. The final steps including polishing the teeth with a fine paste to remove any leftover stain and to give your teeth a smooth and clean feel. For some patients, fluoride treatment may be necessary if there is a history of dental decay or if the patient is at a higher risk of developing cavities.

Importance of Routine Dental Visits for Your Child

Importance of Routine Dental Visits for Your Child

Routine dental visits are essential for all people of any age, starting around three years old. As long as there are teeth present, there is the possibility of cavities, gum disease and any other mouth or tissue abnormality. 

What Happens at Your Child’s Appointment? 

Your child is recommended to have a check-up exam and a dental cleaning at least every six months with their dentist and dental hygienist. During these appointments, your child’s teeth will be completely cleaned with various tools, stains removed with polishing, fluoride treatments provided to prevent cavities, oral hygiene instruction demonstrated and reviewed, and their teeth and mouths thoroughly checked over to assess for health.

A diagnosis will be made regarding their teeth and gums’ health, and any necessary referrals will be made, such as to an orthodontist. These visits are critical times to check in to make sure they are doing an adequate job with their brushing and flossing and to set new goals for them regarding keeping their teeth and gums healthy at home.

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Common Issues During Exfoliation/ Eruption 

Several common issues occur in children’s mouths when they are losing baby teeth and getting adult teeth, and these issues are looked for and assessed each time your child comes in for their check-up. Periodically, x-rays will be taken to assess the adult teeth’ position under the gums and the health of the baby teeth. Listed below are several common issues that occur in children’s mouths that may affect future spacing and alignment:

  • Premature loss of a baby tooth 
  • Delayed loss of a baby tooth 
  • Eruption of an adult tooth behind a baby tooth
  • Ectopic (meaning out of place) adult canines or any other adult tooth under the gums 
  • Hypoplastic enamel of adult teeth (meaning the enamel didn’t form properly)
  • Extra or missing adult teeth 

A check-up exam and x-rays will give a precise diagnosis if any of these conditions arise, and the necessary steps can be taken. A referral may be made to an orthodontist. A baby tooth may need to be extracted to create space, etc. It is vital to catch these problems as early as possible to create a solution. Make sure to bring your child in every six months for their cleaning and check-up exam. 

If your child is due for their cleaning and check-up exam, or you have any questions about the health of your child’s teeth, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.