Posts for: October, 2017
Chronic stress can cause any number of physical problems like back pain, insomnia or stomach ulcers. In the mouth, it can also be the cause of teeth grinding or clenching habits that may lead to pain and tooth damage.
Besides toothaches and jaw pain, stress-related teeth grinding may also be causing your teeth to wear at a faster than normal rate. While the teeth can withstand normal forces generated from biting and chewing, a grinding habit could be subjecting the teeth to forces beyond their normal range. Over time, this could produce excessive tooth wear and contribute to future tooth loss.
Here, then, are some of the treatment options we may use to stop the effects of stress-related dental habits and provide you with relief from pain and dysfunction.
Drug Therapy. Chronic teeth grinding can cause pain and muscle spasms. We can reduce pain with a mild anti-inflammatory pain reliever (like ibuprofen), and spasms with a prescribed muscle relaxant drug. If you have sleep issues, you might also benefit from occasional sleep aid medication.
A Night or Occlusal Guard. Also known as a bite guard, this appliance made of wear-resistant acrylic plastic is custom-fitted to the contours of your bite. The guard is worn over your upper teeth while you sleep or when the habit manifests; the lower teeth then glide over the hard, smooth surface of the guard without biting down. This helps rest the jaw muscles and reduce pain.
Orthodontic Treatment. Your clenching habit may be triggered or intensified because of a problem with your bite, known as a malocclusion. We can correct or limit this problem by either moving the teeth into a more proper position or, if the malocclusion is mild, even out the bite by reshaping the teeth in a procedure known as occlusal (bite) equilibration.
Psychological Treatment. While the preceding treatments can help alleviate or correct dental or oral structural problems, they may not address the underlying cause for a grinding habit — your psychological response to stress. If you’re not coping with stress in a healthy way, you may benefit from treatments in behavioral medicine, which include biofeedback or psychological counseling.
If you would like more information on dental issues related to stress, 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 “Stress & Tooth Habits.”
A lost tooth can cause more than just a gap in your smile. This unfortunate situation can cause bone atrophy and other dental issues. Luckily, your dentist can help you avoid these problems, fill in your gap, and get your smile back with dental implants. Find out more about dental implants with Dr. Steven Ash and Dr. Brian Roberts at Ash & Roberts, DDS in Centralia, WA.
Can a dental implant benefit my smile?
A dental implant may benefit your smile if you have one or more missing teeth. However, not everyone is a good candidate for the dental implant procedure. Since the implant’s fixture lies inside of the jawbone beneath your missing teeth, a good candidate needs to have an adequate amount of bone tissue in which to implant the fixture. Missing teeth cause bone atrophy, meaning that patients with significant atrophy may require a bone graft treatment to rebuild the area of the implant. In addition to bone volume, good candidates for implants require an excellent oral care routine, both at home and with their dentist.
What is the procedure for a dental implant like?
Implants take several separate procedures and several months of healing time. However, properly placed and cared for implants will last a lifetime. Your dentist will use a consultation to answer any questions or concerns you may have about your procedure. An appointment to place the actual implant itself comes next, then several months of healing time. During this period, the bone grows around the implant, locking it into place. The next appointment will place the prosthetic tooth on top of the implant, completing the procedure.
Dental Implants in Centralia, WA
If you think you can benefit from dental implants, a consultation with your dentist can confirm that this treatment is the best and most effective option and if you will require any additional procedures prior to placing your implants. For more information on dental implants, please contact Dr. Steven Ash and Dr. Brian Roberts at Ash & Roberts, DDS in Centralia, WA. Call (360) 736-8380 to schedule your consultation for dental implants with your dentist today!
While crooked teeth are usually responsible for a malocclusion (poor bite), the root cause could go deeper: a malformed maxilla, a composite structure composed of the upper jaw and palate. If that’s the case, it will take more than braces to correct the bite.
The maxilla actually begins as two bones that fit together along a center line in the roof of the mouth called the midline suture, running back to front in the mouth. The suture remains open in young children to allow for jaw growth, but eventually fuses during adolescence.
Problems arise, though, when these bones don’t fully develop. This can cause the jaw to become too narrow and lead to crowding among the erupting teeth and a compromised airway that can lead to obstructive sleep apnea. This can create a cross-bite where the upper back teeth bite inside their lower counterparts, the opposite of normal.
We can remedy this by stimulating more bone growth along the midline suture before it fuses, resulting in a wider maxilla. We do this by installing a palatal expander, an appliance that incrementally widens the suture to encourage bone formation in the gap, which over time will widen the jaw.
An expander is a metal device with “legs” extending out on both sides and whose ends fit along the inside of the teeth. A gear mechanism in the center extends the legs to push against the teeth on both sides of the jaw. Each day the patient or caregiver uses a key to give the gear a quarter turn to extend the legs a little more and widen the suture gap. We remove the expander once the jaw widens to the appropriate distance.
A palatal expander is an effective, cost-efficient way to improve a bite caused by a narrow jaw, but only if attempted before the bones fuse. Widening the jaw after fusion requires surgery to separate the bones — a much more involved and expensive process.
To make sure your child is on the right track with their bite be sure to see an orthodontist for an evaluation around age 6. Doing so will make it easier to intervene at the proper time with treatments like a palatal expander, and perhaps correct bite problems before they become more expensive to treat.
If you would like more information on treating malocclusions, 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 “Palatal Expanders: Orthodontics is more than just Moving Teeth.”