Posts for: April, 2018
Lots of people don’t know that April is National Stress Awareness Month; don’t fret if you’re one of them. For many, stress is already a common feature of everyday life. According to the American Psychological Association, 62% of Americans are stressed at their jobs, and stress has been estimated to cause the loss of some 275 million working days every year.
In addition to its other negative physical and mental consequences, stress can also spell trouble for your oral health. It may lead to the problems of teeth clenching and grinding, which dentists call bruxism. A habitual behavior that can occur in the daytime or at night, bruxism is thought to affect perhaps one in ten adults. While the evidence that stress causes bruxism is not conclusive, there’s a strong case for the linkage.
Bruxism sometimes causes symptoms like headaches, soreness or pain in the jaw muscles or joints, and problems with fully opening the mouth. It can be detected in the dental office by excessive tooth wear, and/or damage to tooth surfaces or dental work. Grinding or tapping noises heard at night may indicate that someone is grinding their teeth while sleeping. In children, nighttime bruxism is common and not necessarily a reason for concern; in adults, it may be more troubling.
So what can you do if you’re experiencing this problem? If you find yourself clenching and grinding during the daytime, simply becoming more aware of the behavior and trying to limit it can help. A bit of clenching during times of stress isn’t abnormal, but excessive grinding may be reason for concern. Many of the same techniques used to relieve stress in other situations—such as taking a step back, talking out your issues, and creating a calmer and more soothing environment—may prove helpful here as well.
Occasionally, prescription drugs may cause bruxism as an unwanted side effect; in this case, a medical professional may recommend changing your medication. The use of stimulants like coffee and mood altering substances like alcohol and illicit drugs have also been associated with teeth grinding—so if you’re having this issue, consider foregoing these substances and making healthier lifestyle choices.
There are also a number of dental treatments that can help protect your teeth from excessive grinding. The most common is an occlusal guard or “night guard.” This is a custom-fabricated appliance made of plastic that fits comfortably over your teeth. Usually worn at night, it keeps your teeth from actually coming into contact with each other and being damaged. Occasionally, additional treatments such as bite adjustment or orthodontics may be recommended to help solve the problem.
If you would like more information about teeth clenching and grinding, please call our office to schedule a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Teeth Grinding” and “When Children Grind Their Teeth.”
If you're ready to put the "pizzazz" back into your smile, your dentist may be able to help. It's possible your dull, dingy smile could be transformed with teeth whitening.
Teeth whitening or bleaching is a technique that applies a solution with a bleaching agent (usually up to 35% hydrogen peroxide in an office setting) to the teeth to whiten them. Although there are Do-It-Yourself home whitening kits you can use, there are a few good reasons why you should first consider a whitening procedure in a dental office setting.
To begin with, you should first have your teeth examined by a dentist to determine why they're discolored. Certain foods and beverages we consume or tobacco habits are the usual culprits causing stains on the enamel, the outermost tooth layer. These are the kinds of stains targeted by most whitening solutions.
But the interior of a tooth can also become discolored for reasons like trauma, past dental work or tetracycline use at an early age. If your staining is internal (intrinsic) rather than external (extrinsic) reducing that discoloration will require an invasive procedure only a dentist can perform—a home kit won't be able to do the job.
Another reason for having your teeth whitened by your dentist (even extrinsic staining) involves your time and the degree of brightness you'd like. Because dentists use stronger bleaching solutions (home kits usually use a weaker solution of 10% carbamide peroxide) it takes fewer sessions than home kits to achieve results—and they may last longer. In addition, dentists have more control over the level of brightness to match your expectations of a more subdued, natural look or a dazzling "Hollywood" smile.
A dentist can also help you navigate special circumstances like matching and managing natural teeth whiteness with dental restorations (which don't bleach) or special whitening situations like a single discolored tooth.
Even if you eventually decide to go the home kit route, consulting with a dentist first can still prove helpful. You'll get expert advice on products, tips on how to apply them and how to prolong the whitening effect. Whichever way you go, home kit or dentist, you can gain a brighter, more confident smile with teeth whitening.
If you would like more information on teeth whitening, 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 “Important Teeth Whitening Questions…Answered!”
Dentures replace missing teeth and complete your smile. They also restore normal biting and chewing functions, improve speech, and provide support for sagging facial muscles due to tooth loss. Several types of dentures are available. Your dentist can recommend the right type of dentures for you. In Layton, UT, dentures are available at 4 Dental Health where Dr. Steven Christensen can fit you for the right type to complete your smile.
Types of Dentures
There are two main types of dentures in Layton: partial and full dentures. There are also different types of full and partial dentures. Partial dentures are used when you still have some natural teeth remaining and do not need to replace all of your teeth. The natural teeth are left in place, while the partial dentures fill in the gaps where teeth are missing. Full dentures are used when there are no natural teeth remaining and all your teeth need to be replaced.
Removable Partial Dentures- For this type of denture the replacement teeth are attached to a plastic base resembling natural gums. The removable partial denture attaches to your remaining natural teeth with metal clasps or precision attachments. A primary difference between metal clasps and precision attachments is that metal clasps are readily noticeable, while precision attachments are barely visible and more discreet.
Overdentures- These are another type of removable denture. They can be used whether you still have some natural teeth or none remaining. This type of denture is held in place by either dental implants or your remaining natural teeth. The teeth or dental implants provide support and stability for the dentures. If the overdentures will be held in place by your teeth, the dentist first prepares the teeth to ensure they can provide sufficient support and stability.
Full dentures/Complete dentures- They are used to replace teeth when no natural teeth remain. Two specific types of full dentures are immediate and conventional. Immediate dentures are placed over the teeth right away or immediately following extraction of any remaining damaged teeth. Immediate dentures are usually intended to be worn temporarily while the gums heal. Conventional dentures are worn long-term but cannot be fit in place until the gums have healed from extraction, which is usually after six to eight weeks.
Different types of dentures are available to best suit your needs. Your dentist can recommend the right dentures for you. To find out what type of dentures are right for you, schedule an appointment with Dr. Christensen, your Layton, UT, dentist for dentures, by calling 4 Dental Health at (801) 889-1044.