Posts for: August, 2016
When you’re among the top players in your field, you need every advantage to help you stay competitive: Not just the best equipment, but anything else that relieves pain and stress, and allows you to play better. For top-seeded Canadian tennis player Milos Raonic, that extra help came in a somewhat unexpected form: a custom made mouthguard that he wears on the court and off. “[It helps] to not grind my teeth while I play,” said the 25-year-old up-and-coming ace. “It just causes stress and headaches sometimes.”
Mouthguards are often worn by athletes engaged in sports that carry the risk of dental injury — such as basketball, football, hockey, and some two dozen others; wearing one is a great way to keep your teeth from being seriously injured. But Raonic’s mouthguard isn’t primarily for safety; it’s actually designed to help him solve the problem of teeth grinding, or bruxism. This habitual behavior causes him to unconsciously tense up his jaw, potentially leading to problems with muscles and teeth.
Bruxism is a common issue that’s often caused or aggravated by stress. You don’t have to be a world-class athlete to suffer from this condition: Everyday anxieties can have the same effect. The behavior is often worsened when you consume stimulating substances, such as alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, and other drugs.
While bruxism affects thousands of people, some don’t even suspect they have it. That’s because it may occur at any time — even while you’re asleep! The powerful jaw muscles that clench and grind teeth together can wear down tooth enamel, and damage both natural teeth and dental work. They can even cause loose teeth! What’s more, a clenching and grinding habit can result in pain, headaches and muscle soreness… which can really put you off your game.
There are several ways to relieve the problem of bruxism. Stress reduction is one approach that works in some cases. When it’s not enough, a custom made occlusal guard (also called a night guard or mouthguard) provided by our office can make a big difference. “When I don’t sleep with it for a night,” Raonic said “I can feel my jaw muscles just tense up the next day. I don’t sense myself grinding but I can sort of feel that difference the next day.”
Â An occlusal guard is made from an exact model of your own mouth. It helps to keep your teeth in better alignment and prevent them from coming into contact, so they can’t damage each other. It also protects your jaw joints from being stressed by excessive force. Plus, it’s secure and comfortable to wear. “I wear it all the time other than when I’m eating, so I got used to it pretty quickly,” said Raonic.
Teeth grinding can be a big problem — whether you put on your game face on the court… or at home. If you would like more information about bruxism, contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Stress & Tooth Habits” and “When Children Grind Their Teeth.”
Millions of Americans avoid regular dental examinations and cleanings due to fear and anxiety. This unfortunate situation can take a huge toll on your dental health. Fortunately, sedation dentistry can help you overcome your fears, relax in the dentist’s chair, and make it possible to keep your teeth healthy and clean. Learn more about sedation dentistry with Dr. Neil Blavin, DDS at Briar Pointe Dentistry in Novi, MI.
Types of Sedation Dentistry
Depending on your level of anxiety or sensitivity, your dentist will recommend one of four types of sedation dentistry:
- General Anesthesia: General anesthesia puts you completely to sleep during your procedure. You will not remember the procedure and will require several hours of in-office recovery time afterward while the anesthesia wears off.
- Deep Sedation: Deep sedation does not put you to sleep, but into a state just between unconsciousness and wakefulness. You may not remember much of your procedure. Your dentist usually administers this type of sedation through an IV and asks that you have someone to drive you home afterward.
- Moderate Sedation: Normally administered orally, moderate sedation relaxes you and may cause you to forget bits and pieces of your procedure. You may experience slurred words and will need someone to drive you home after your appointment.
- Minimal Sedation: Also known as “laughing gas”, minimal sedation calms your nerves and allows you to undergo your dental procedure in a relaxed state. You will remain alert and awake, but feel very relaxed.
Sedation Dentistry in Novi, MI
Sedation dentistry can help you get through your fear of the dentist, allowing you the peace of mind and relaxation you require to undergo dental procedures. Often called “sleep” dentistry, sedation dentistry methods have proven to be safe and reliable. If your upcoming dental appointment makes you anxious, speak with your dentist about sedation dentistry to determine if this method is right for you.
If you have a fear of the dentist, you may benefit from sedation dentistry. For more information, please contact Dr. Neil Blavin, DDS at Briar Pointe Dentistry in Novi, MI. Call (248) 347-0030 to schedule your appointment with Dr. Blavin today!
Around ages 6 to 8, a child's primary teeth will begin to loosen to make way for their permanent teeth. If all goes well, the new set will come in straight with the upper teeth slightly overlapping the bottom.
But sometimes it doesn't go that well: a child may instead develop a poor bite (malocclusion) that interferes with normal function. If we can detect the early signs of a developing malocclusion, however, we may be able to intervene and lessen its impact. You as a parent can play a vital role in this early detection.
The first thing you should be watching for is teeth spacing.Â Normal teeth come in straight with a slight gap between them. But there are two abnormal extremes to look for: teeth having no space between them or crowded together in a crooked, haphazard manner; or they seem to have too much space between them, which indicates a possible discrepancy between the teeth and jaw sizes.
You should also notice how the teeth come together or “bite.” If you notice the lower front teeth biting in front of the upper (the opposite of normal) it may be a developing underbite. If you see a space between the upper and lower teeth when they bite down, this is a sign of an open bite. Or, if the upper front teeth seem to come down too far over the lower, this could mean a deep bite: in extreme cases the lower teeth actually bite into the roof of the mouth behind the upper teeth.
You should also look for crossbites, in which the teeth in one part of the mouth bite abnormally in front or behind their counterparts, while teeth in other parts bite normally. For example, you might notice if the back upper teeth bite inside the lower teeth (abnormal), while the front upper teeth bite outside the lower front teeth (normal).
The important thing is to note anything that doesn't look right or seems inconsistent with how your child's teeth look or how they function. Even if you aren't sure it's an issue, contact us anyway for an examination. If it really is a developing bite problem, starting treatment now may lessen the extent and cost of treatment later.