Posts for: August, 2016
Do you pass on ice cream or hot coffee because these treats sometimes cause your teeth to ache? This tooth sensitivity is often the result of worn enamel or gum recession that leaves the interior layer of the tooth exposed. Enamel is the hard outer coating of the tooth that protects and insulates it. If the enamel is lost due to wear, chipping, or improper brushing, the porous underlying layer called dentin will transmit these temperature sensations to the very center of the tooth, where the nerve resides. It can also result if your gums have receded, leaving the root surface that would normally be covered by healthy gum tissue exposed. If the dentist has ruled out decay or a cracked tooth as the cause for this exposure, there are a few ways we can treat the condition to reduce this hypersensitivity. The first thing we want to do is make sure you are brushing with a proper technique using a soft bristled tooth brush. Enamel wear is often caused by over- brushing or using a toothbrush with overly firm bristles. We also need to evaluate whether your diet includes highly acidic foods or beverages. Sodas and fruit juices contain a great deal of acid which causes tooth enamel erosion. To treat the areas where enamel has already been lost, we can employ agents designed to block the open ends of the exposed dentin tubules (pores) and prevent the stimuli from ever reaching the inside of the tooth. We usually recommend that you start with desensitizing toothpaste, which contains compounds that will accumulate in the tubule openings with regular use over a few weeks. If that is not adequate, we may prescribe in office fluoride treatments which will strengthen the remaining enamel or treatment with other dentin blocking agents like oxalates or adhesive sealants. If this sounds like an issue you’ve been experiencing, call us today to discuss how we can help.
Everyone seems to be experiencing just a little extra stress these days. And we all deal with it in our own unique ways. While grinding our teeth is certainly a less destructive outlet than others I can think of, it’s not without effects that can cause permanent damage to our teeth and jaws. Most often, if we grind or clench our teeth, it is something we do absolutely unconsciously while sleeping. You may become aware of it if your partner tells you they can hear it or if you tend to have soreness in your jaws in the morning. However, sometimes you are not even aware of this habit, called bruxism, until your dentist notices the damage it has caused to your teeth. Those of us who grind will develop flattened facets on the bite surfaces of our teeth, representing wear that has actually shortened the tooth and begun the process of collapsing the bite. Because grinding and clenching put lots of additional force on our teeth, it actually causes them to flex at the junction of the crown and root portions of the tooth. This repeated flexing will cause rods of enamel at that junction to fracture away (a process called abfraction) and the delicate ligaments of gum tissue to detach from the root surface. This process results in receded gums, notched teeth that may become sensitive due to missing protective enamel, and increased susceptibility to decay. Once the habit is identified, you can prevent further damage to your teeth and bite by having your dentist fabricate a mouthguard. An occlusal mouthguard is made of durable plastic that is custom fitted to your teeth. It snaps securely over either arch and provides a protective boundary between the upper and lower teeth while you are sleeping. The mouthguards that we make at our office have a hard layer of outer plastic for durability and a softer inner layer to provide comfort and shock absorption to prevent those extra forces from transmitting to the opposing teeth. While it may not be a cure for all that stress, a mouthguard can prevent bruxism from contributing more stress to your life.
Did you know…that flossing is one of the simplest and most effective ways to prevent decay and maintain a beautiful smile? As if keeping those pearly whites gorgeous isn’t enough, here are five major reasons to take a few minutes out of your day to floss:
- Flossing helps to prevent gingivitis and periodontal disease.
- Flossing prevents bad breath by getting food and bacteria out from between your teeth.
- Flossing helps to prevent decay. By getting bacteria out from between and around teeth, the acidic by product that they produce doesn’t have an opportunity to cause decay.
- Flossing helps to prevent plaque and tartar build up.
- Flossing helps to prevent systemic complications from heart disease and diabetes.
During pregnancy, women are more susceptible to oral infections, periodontitis, and pregnancy gingivitis. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAP) oral health guidelines (2009) suggest that expectant mothers with gum disease have a higher chance of preterm labor and potential for pregnancy complications, typically due to a low birth weight. The best advice to women considering pregnancy is to visit their dentist for a checkup and to treat any oral problems before becoming pregnant.
Preventive measures the already expectant mom should take:
- Have a complete oral exam early in your pregnancy. If x-rays are determined to be essential, your dentist will use extreme caution to protect you and your unborn child. Advances in digital technology have made x-rays much safer today than in the past.
- The best time for any dental treatment is between the 14th and 20th weeks. Keep in mind, dental work is safe during pregnancy but one may not be comfortable sitting in the dental chair in the later months.
- It’s important to complete treatment for gum disease or any other oral infections, in order to prevent risk of preterm labor and possible low birth weights.
- It is imperative to have good oral hygiene habits in order to avoid pregnancy gingivitis, which causes red and swollen gums that bleed easily. This condition results from hormonal fluctuations associated with pregnancy. Great hygiene can minimize the long-term effects of gingivitis that develops during pregnancy.
Kuhn Family Dentistry takes pride in advocating for the prevention of oral health related complications during pregnancy. We give expectant mothers the tools they need to establish good oral hygiene practices to protect their babies and their own overall health. For more information on this topic, come out to the Sparks Marina on April 27 to support our local chapter of March of Dimes, for the annual March for Babies. Go to www.marchforbabies.org for details. We look forward to seeing you there.
At Kuhn Family Dentistry, not only do we care about our patients and families, we also care about our community. October is breast cancer awareness month and every year we participate in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. While it is a fun celebration, the event holds a special place in all of our hearts. Each of us knows someone whose life has been drastically affected by breast cancer. If you would like to join in the fight against breast cancer or for more information about breast cancer, please visit www.komennorthnv.org.