Are you a grinder? You may be, and not even know it!

Andra Mahoney, BS RDH

Are you a grinder? You may be, and not even know it!

Do you ever wake up in the morning with sore teeth and jaws?  You could be grinding your teeth.  Teeth grinding is usually done unconsciously in your sleep, but it can also occur when you are awake.  It is common to find people that clench or grind their teeth occasionally throughout their lives.  However, chronic clenching and grinding can cause long term damage and problems with your teeth and mouth in general.

Why do people grind their teeth?

Although teeth grinding can be caused by stress and anxiety, it is more likely caused by an abnormal bite or missing or crooked teeth (malocclusion/malalignment). It can also be caused by a sleep disorder, like sleep apnea.

How can you tell if you grind?

Because grinding often occurs during sleep, most people are unaware that they grind their teeth.  Here are some common signs that you may be a grinder:

  • Wake up with Headache/Sore Jaw or teeth
  • Significant Other hears you grind in your sleep
  • You notice flattening of your teeth
  • Broken teeth/fillings
  • Increase in teeth sensitiviy

A dental professional, like your Dentist or Dental Hygienist, will be able to tell the last three, as well.  If they haven’t mentioned it to you already, feel free to ask if this is something that may effect you.

Why is it harmful to grind?

Most people clench or grind at night.  When you are asleep, so is the function that regulates the jaw’s power.  In the day time, your brain puts limitations on how hard you can bite or clench.  When you are asleep, so is this part of your brain.  That means you are biting way harder than you are able to while you are awake.  Those that clench or grind while they are awake, are usually doing it subconsciously.  Usually when they are extremely focused or concentrating on something else.

The biggest concern with clenching or grinding is the wear on your teeth.  Once you have worn through the enamel, the hard outer structure of your tooth, the wear will increase!  The dentin, the inner structure of your tooth, is not as strong as enamel and will wear a lot faster.  This will result in wearing your teeth down to stumps.  If the wear gets to this point, and no preventative treatment has happened, it can be a very long and expensive problem to fix.  Your Dentist can talk to you about crowns and other treatment to restore the height and function of your teeth.

Another concern would be breaking teeth or fracturing your natural teeth or restorations, such as fillings, and crowns.  We want to prevent fracturing so that the tooth does not break in a non-restorable way.

As we get older, we will wear on our jaw joint (temporomandibular joint, TMJ), that is a natural process.  However, when we are constantly and continually clenching or grinding, that will accelerate the wear.  The faster the wear, the increase of problems that can occur: jaw pain, clicking, popping, jaw deviation, or locking open/closed.

What can you do about it?

If you are having these symptoms and concerns, schedule an appointment to visit your Dentist.  They can confirm if this is the case.  If so there are options.

If you are clenching or grinding your teeth due to malalignment, the Doctor may recommend Invisalign or traditional orthodontics.  Putting the teeth in their proper spot will help the jaw align properly as well.  It will also prevent fractures or breaks since the teeth will be biting on even surface instead of placing  constant and uneven force on the teeth.

A mouthguard, also know as night guard, is a great help.  A nightguard is a thick, hard material that does not allow your jaw to clench all the way together.  This will prevent advanced wear of your TMJ.  Also, clenching or grinding will occur on the guard, instead of your teeth, thus saving your natural and restored tooth structure.

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3D Imaging in Dentistry

KatieM

Katie Moynihan, BS RDH

3D Imaging in Dentistry

Dental x-rays are a routine part of your dental visit. Unfortunately, x-rays can only show the healthcare provider a 2D image of your tooth structure and supporting bone. Our North Stapley office is excited to now offer our patients a 3D imaging device called Cone Beam Computed Tomography, or CBCT. All patients at any of our locations can utilize this great technology.  This device is able to capture a 3D scan of a patient’s maxillofacial skeleton for diagnostic purposes.

Uses for a CBCT Scan:

CBCT scans are used in many different fields of dentistry to improve diagnosis and treatment planning in the following cases:

Endodontics
-Tooth morphology, number of canals and root curvature
-Identification of periapical pathology
-Location of trauma, root fractures

Dental implants
– Location of anatomic structures
– Size and shape of ridge, quantity and quality of bone
-Number, orientation of implants
-Need for bone graft, sinus lift
– Use of implant positioning software

Oral and maxillofacial surgery
– Relationship of third molar roots to mandibular canal
– Localization of impacted teeth, foreign objects
-Evaluation of facial fractures
-Location and characterization of lesions

Orthodontics
– Treatment planning for complex cases
– Impacted teeth
-Root angulation, root resorption

Sleep Apnea
-Identification of obstructive airway

Temporomandibular joint or TMJ
– Osseous structures of TMJ
-Relationship of condyle and fossa

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How Does It Work:

The patient is precisely placed in a comfortable position at the machine. The scan takes about 20 seconds to rotate around the head, obtaining nearly 600 distinct images. The focused x-ray beam reduces scatter radiation, resulting in better image quality. Once complete, the 3D image is immediately available for viewing and diagnosing. The scan produces a wide variety of views and angles that can be manipulated to provide a more comprehensive evaluation. One CBCT scan uses about 1/20th the radiation of a traditional head and neck scan at the hospital.

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There are many benefits to using a 3D imaging CBCT system in dentistry. We are excited to be able to provide top of the line technology to our patients. This new machine will be beneficial in increasing predictability by decreasing failure to provide you with the best quality of care!

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Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Sources:

 

http://www.fda.gov/Radiation-EmittingProducts/RadiationEmittingProductsandProcedures/MedicalImaging/MedicalX-Rays/ucm315011.htm

http://www.conebeam.com/whatis

http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=dentalconect#benefits-risks

 

Which Occlusal Guard is Right for You?

KatieM

Katie Moynihan BS RDH

Which Occlusal Guard is Right for You ?

Do you grind your teeth when you sleep? Ever noticed pain in your jaw? Bruxism is the term used when a person is grinding or clenching their teeth. Often times, bruxism occurs unconsciously during the day or most often at night. Whether you know you do it or not, there are certain dental signs we look for as oral health professionals in order to properly diagnose the right mouthguard for you.

Occlusal wear on the teeth can lead to gum recession, fracturing, loosening, or loss of teeth. An occlusal guard is custom made to be worn over the biting surfaces of either the upper or lower arch of teeth, and is easily inserted and removed by the patient. It is made out of an acrylic strong enough to minimize the abrasive action of excessive tooth forces. They should be worn on a long-term basis to help to stabilize the occlusion as well as prevent damage to teeth and to the temporomandibular joint.

OG 1

Another bruxism appliance is called an NTI-tts device. Unlike the occlusal guard, the NTI device only covers part of your mouth, clipping over either the top or bottom front teeth. This small, custom fitted plastic device forms a barrier between your top and bottom teeth, preventing you from biting down completely. You might consider an NTI device if a conventional occlusal guard has not worked for you, you suffer from migraines and headaches, or experience pain associated with your TMJ. The goal of the NTI is to prevent the grinding and touching of the rear molars by limiting the contraction of the temporalis muscle.

OG 2

Although there is no single cure for bruxism, these devices are available to help reduce symptoms associated with teeth grinding and clenching. If you suspect you may be grinding your teeth, we would be happy to talk to you about it and help you determine which bruxism device is right for you.

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Sources:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bruxism/basics/causes/con-20029395

http://www.medicinenet.com/teeth_grinding_bruxism/article.htm

http://www.o-guard.com/nti-night-guard/