My Dentistry Blog
Teeth Grinding (Bruxism): Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
Do you have one or more of the following symptoms?
● Flattened areas on your teeth
● Tight or Sore Jaw when you wake up in the morning.
● You make a loud Grinding sound with your Teeth while you sleep.
● You feel tired from not getting a good nights sleep.
If so, you may suffer from bruxism – grinding of the teeth.
For many people, bruxism can be a serious problem. It can cause cracked and chipped enamel, hairline fractures, broken cusps and even wearing down the teeth to the gum line. The enamel may become so worn that the inside of the tooth (called the dentin) is exposed. If bruxism isn’t treated, it can lead to gum damage, loss of tooth and fillings, root canals, loose teeth
It can also cause jaw joint problems also called temporomandibular joint disease (TMJ.) TMJ occurs when the muscles, joints and ligaments of the jaw move out of alignment. In addition to jaw pain, other symptoms may include headache, earache and pain in the face, neck and shoulder.
Research shows that about 50% of adults grind their teeth and approximately 20% grind their teeth excessively causing dental trauma. When asked, many patients are unaware of grinding, yet the evidence of damaged teeth is apparent in their mouth.
Bruxism is often caused by emotional factors such as daily stress, anxiety, anger or pain. The use of tobacco, alcohol or
caffeine also tends to aggravate the problem. Another cause of bruxism is the use of some medications, in particular anti-depressants. Three of the most common are Zoloft, Paxil and Prozac. If you take any of these drugs and have noticed an increase in nighttime tooth grinding, speak to your physician.
If you suffer from any of the symptoms or suspect you may be gringing your teeth, please call us for a complimentary evaluation. Both Dr. Sayeg and Dr. Cherof have trained extensively in diagnosing and treating these problems. In most cases, your problem can be helped by fitting you with an appliance to relax your jaw and to prevent further damage. We can also correct your bite by reshaping your teeth to eliminate high spots or unusual tooth alignment, and smooth any chips in your teeth.
Remember, you don’t have to lose your teeth to grinding and clenching! Regular check-ups and wearing a bite-guard may prevent costly treatment in the future. You only have one smile - don’t lose it to bruxism!
Call us today for an appointment to protect your teeth from further damage! 404-255-6782
Although dental implants are best known as single tooth replacements, they can actually play a role in multiple or complete tooth loss (edentulism) restorations. While replacing multiple teeth with individual implants is quite expensive, there’s another way to incorporate them in a restoration at much less cost — as supports for bridges.
In this case, only a few strategically placed implants are needed to support restorations of multiple crowns fused together into a single unit. Implant-based bridges consist of two main types: the first type is a fixed bridge, which is permanently attached to the implants and can’t be removed by the patient. It’s often the preferred treatment for patients who’ve lost most or all of their teeth but have not yet experienced significant bone loss in the jaw.
This choice, however, may not be the best option for patients with significant bone loss. In these cases, there’s a second type of fixed bridge: an implant-supported fixed denture. This type of fixed denture provides support for the lost bone support of the lips and cheeks. If a fixed bridge is not possible due to finances or inadequate bone support to place 4 to 6 implants, a removable denture (also known as an overdenture) that’s supported and held in place by implants is the next best alternative. Unlike a fixed bridge, an overdenture can be removed by the patient for cleaning purposes, and will require less investment than a fixed bridge.
For people with bone loss, the overdenture does more than restore chewing and speech function. Because bone loss can diminish support of the facial structures — actually shorten the distance between the chin and the tip of the nose — an overdenture provides additional bulk to support these structures to improve appearance. Depending on what the patient needs for facial support, overdentures for the upper jaw can be designed as “full palates,” meaning the denture plastic completely covers the upper jaw palate, or open in which the plastic doesn’t completely cover the palate.
Besides the condition of your teeth, gums and bone, your own personal preferences and financial ability will also play a role in which option is best for you. After considering all these factors, we can recommend which of these types of implant-based restorations will fit your needs. With either bridge, fixed or removable, you’ll certainly benefit from the improvement to both your mouth function and your smile.
If you would like more information on implant-supported bridges, 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 “Fixed vs. Removable.”
What is Geographic Tongue?
Geographic Tongue is the name of a condition that gets its name from its map-like appearance on the upper surface and sides of the tongue. You'll be relieved to know that Geographic Tongue is a harmless, non-contagious, benign condition that isn't linked to any infection or cancer. It is also known as benign migratory glossitis and erythema migrans. Geographic Tongue occurs when parts of the tongue are missing layers of small bumps called papillae. They normally cover the entire upper layer of your tongue.
Geographic Tongue often runs in families, and although it can occur at any age, it tends to affect mostly middle-aged adults. It occurs more often in non-smokers and in women during hormonal fluctuations, such as ovulation and/or pregnancy. Individuals with fissured tongues (deep grooves on the tongue’s surface) are also more likely to have the condition. In addition, a relationship has been reported between Geographic Tongue and Psoriasis (a common skin condition characterized by patchy redness and scaling).
The telltale signs of geographic tongue are irregular, smooth, red patches on parts of the tongue. These patches may:
- Have a white or light-colored border
- Vary in size, shape, and color
- Appear one area, and then move to another area
- Come and go or change very quickly
- Last up to a year
What Can You Do to Reduce the Symptoms?
If you’ve noticed, any of the above signs, we recommend a quick appointment with one of our dentists to rule out a more serious problem. Typically, geographic tongue is not painful, but your tongue may be a little sensitive, burn or sting, or feel irritated. Occasionally some individuals with the condition may experience numbness.
In most cases, these symptoms will get better without treatment but there are some things you can do in the meantime:
- Use Advil or Tylenol for any moderate/severe pain
- Avoid tobacco
- Avoid hot, spicy, or acidic foods
- Avoid dried, salty nuts or snacks
- Use a toothpaste for sensitive teeth (avoid any with additives, whitening agents, strong flavoring
- Vitamin B and Zinc may help relieve symptoms anesthetic mouth rinses, antihistamines, steroid ointments or other similar treatments.
If you have in questions or need further information,
please give Dr. Sayeg or Dr. Cherof a call at 404-255-6782.
In her decades-long career, renowned actress Kathy Bates has won Golden Globes, Emmys, and many other honors. Bates began acting in her twenties, but didn't achieve national recognition until she won the best actress Oscar for Misery — when she was 42 years old! “I was told early on that because of my physique and my look, I'd probably blossom more in my middle age,” she recently told Dear Doctor magazine. “[That] has certainly been true.” So if there's one lesson we can take from her success, it might be that persistence pays off.
When it comes to her smile, Kathy also recognizes the value of persistence. Now 67, the veteran actress had orthodontic treatment in her 50's to straighten her teeth. Yet she is still conscientious about wearing her retainer. “I wear a retainer every night,” she said. “I got lazy about it once, and then it was very difficult to put the retainer back in. So I was aware that the teeth really do move.”
Indeed they do. In fact, the ability to move teeth is what makes orthodontic treatment work. By applying consistent and gentle forces, the teeth can be shifted into better positions in the smile. That's called the active stage of orthodontic treatment. Once that stage is over, another begins: the retention stage. The purpose of retention is to keep that straightened smile looking as good as it did when the braces came off. And that's where the retainer comes in.
There are several different kinds of retainers, but all have the same purpose: To hold the teeth in their new positions and keep them from shifting back to where they were. We sometimes say teeth have a “memory” — not literally, but in the sense that if left alone, teeth tend to migrate back to their former locations. And if you've worn orthodontic appliances, like braces or aligners, that means right back where you started before treatment.
By holding the teeth in place, retainers help stabilize them in their new positions. They allow new bone and ligaments to re-form and mature around them, and give the gums time to remodel themselves. This process can take months to years to be complete. But you may not need to wear a retainer all the time: Often, removable retainers are worn 24 hours a day at first; later they are worn only at night. We will let you know what's best in your individual situation.
So take a tip from Kathy Bates, star of the hit TV series American Horror Story, and wear your retainer as instructed. That's the best way to keep your straight new smile from changing back to the way it was — and to keep a bad dream from coming true.
If you would like more information about orthodontic retainers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more about this topic in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Why Orthodontic Retainers?” and “The Importance of Orthodontic Retainers.” The interview with Kathy Bates appears in the latest issue of Dear Doctor.
Tooth decay is one of the world's most prevalent diseases — and one of the most preventable. We've known the primary prevention recipe for decades: brushing and flossing daily, and dental cleanings and checkups at least twice a year.
But consistent oral hygiene isn't enough — you should also pay attention to your overall health, diet and lifestyle habits. Each of these areas in their own way can contribute to abnormally high mouth acid, which can soften enamel and open the door to tooth decay.
Lower saliva production is one such problem that can arise due to issues with your health. Among its many properties, saliva neutralizes acid and helps maintain the mouth's optimum neutral pH level. But some health conditions or medications can reduce saliva flow: less saliva means less neutralization and chronic acidity.
You can also inhibit saliva flow with one particular lifestyle habit — smoking. Tobacco smoke can damage salivary glands. Nicotine, tobacco's active ingredient, constricts blood vessels, leading to fewer antibodies delivered by the blood stream to mouth tissues to fight disease.
A diet heavy on acidic foods and beverages can also increase mouth acidity. It's not only what you're eating or drinking — it's also how often. If you're constantly snacking or sipping on something acidic, saliva doesn't have a chance to complete the neutralizing process.
In addition to your daily oral hygiene practice, you should also make changes in these other areas to further lower your risk of tooth decay. If you're taking medications that cause dry mouth, see if your doctor can prescribe a different one or try using products that stimulate saliva. Quit smoking, of course, as much for your mouth as for the rest of your health.
On the dietary front, reduce your intake of acidic foods and beverages, especially sodas, energy or sports drinks. If you've counted on the latter for hydration, switch to water instead. And limit acidic foods to mealtime rather than throughout the day.
It's all about maintaining a healthy pH level in your mouth. Doing so along with good oral hygiene will help you better avoid destructive tooth decay.
If you would like more information on preventing tooth decay, 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 “Tooth Decay: How to Assess Your Risk.”
This website includes materials that are protected by copyright, or other proprietary rights. Transmission or reproduction of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use, as defined in the copyright laws, requires the written permission of the copyright owners.