Posts for: September, 2014

By Wilmington Dental Associates
September 24, 2014
Category: Oral Health
Tags: tooth wear  

You may not realize it, but the simple act of eating can generate a tremendous amount of force on teeth and jaws. Fortunately, your teeth can absorb much of this biting force — but within limits. If the force exceeds normal limits on a continual basis, you may begin to notice aching teeth or sore jaws, and we may begin to notice unusual tooth wear during your dental checkups.

The most common cause for this is a chronic habit of grinding or clenching the teeth, also known as bruxism. It can manifest itself by teeth grinding against each other, teeth pressing against soft tissue (as with thumb-sucking) or biting or chewing on hard objects such as pencils or nails. We commonly see bruxism with patients who are experiencing excessive stress, sleep-related problems or as a result of lifestyle habits such as smoking or excessive alcohol consumption. You may not even be consciously aware of it as in the case of bruxism that occurs while you sleep, but your sore jaws in the morning (as well as your sleeping partner’s complaints of noise) may be evidence of it.

Treatment involves a two-part approach. First, we want to relieve the pain symptoms and stop the damage. To relieve pain we’ll often prescribe mild, anti-inflammatory or muscle-relaxant drugs, or perhaps medication to help you sleep better. We may also design a bite guard for wear on your upper teeth at night: the lower teeth will tend to glide or skate on the wear-resistant plastic and prevents them from placing excessive forces on your teeth.

The other part is to address the underlying cause for long-term results. If the habit arises from severe stress or other lifestyle issues, we may recommend biofeedback therapy or psychotherapy to improve your coping mechanisms. If an abnormality like a bad bite (malocclusion) is an underlying factor, we may recommend a minor bite adjustment by reshaping the teeth to lessen the bite impact.

The right course of action depends on a thorough dental examination to determine the exact nature of your clenching or grinding habit. From there we can discuss your options on how to relieve the soreness and pain, as well as prevent problems in the future.

If you would like more information on bruxism and its effects, 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.”

By Wilmington Dental Associates
September 15, 2014
Category: Oral Health
Tags: Dry Mouth  
Why Don't You Chew on This?
It’s not something you might think about much, but saliva has an array of benefits. From facilitating chewing and swallowing to fighting germs inDry Mouth your mouth, saliva keeps your mouth in tip-top shape. In fact, saliva contains proteins and minerals that protect teeth against cavities and gum disease. So what kind of foods can help with stimulating your salivary glands? Your family dentist in Wilmington is here to tell you what foods to add to your diet to help fight tooth decay and keep your teeth looking their very best.
Celery: Celery can be a tough little snack to chew, but your salivary glands love it. This water-packed treat will certainly increase saliva. Next time, skip the sugary snacks and head for a nice piece of celery instead.
Gum: If you’re in need of a little fix, then pop a piece of sugar-free gum in your mouth to promote salivation.
Apples and Carrots: Go for the crunchy snacks and you’ll find your dry mouth gone in no time. You also can’t go wrong when you go for a veggie or fruit that’s rich in fiber. This can also help stave off bad breath.
Parsley: Sure it might just look like garnish, but this herb can combat bad breath and packs a nice punch of vitamins A and C, calcium and iron.
Liquids: If you’ve noticed that your throat is dry, eating can certainly be a challenge. Instead, fight back by incorporating liquids into your foods. Include stews, broths, yogurt, and sauces in with your meals to help make swallowing and digesting a bit easier.
Which Food and Beverages Cause Dry Mouth? 
If you are dealing with dry mouth, there are certain things that can make it even worse, including these vicious culprits:
Mouthwashes that contain alcohol or peroxide
Wine and alcoholic beverages
Tea and soda
Salty foods like nuts
Dry foods like crackers
Sugary snacks and desserts
Of course a healthy and balanced diet is key to making sure your teeth and gums stay healthy; however, it’s also important to visit your Wilmington dentist twice a year for a professional cleaning and checkup. We can pinpoint potential problems and provide recommendations to help you maintain a healthy mouth.
If you think you’re dealing with dry mouth, or you need to schedule your next checkup, contact your Wilmington family dental practice at (302) 654-6915.
What foods have you found to be your dry mouth relievers? We would love to hear from you, and I’m sure other dry mouth sufferers would, as well!

By Wilmington Dental Associates
September 09, 2014
Category: Oral Health

As a Pro Football Hall of Famer and first runner up on the hit television show Dancing with the Stars, Jerry Rice has a face and smile that truly has star quality. However, that was not always the case. During an interview with Dear Doctor magazine, the retired NFL pro discussed his good fortune to have had just a few minor dental injuries throughout his football career. He went on to say that his cosmetic dentist repaired several of his chipped teeth with full crowns. Rice now maintains his beautiful smile with routine cleanings and occasional tooth bleaching.

If you have chipped, broken or missing teeth, or are considering a smile makeover, we want to know exactly what you want to change about your smile, as the old adage is true: Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. This is one reason why we feel that listening is one of the most important skills we can use during your private, smile-makeover consultation. We want to use this time to ensure we see what you see as attractive and vice versa so that together we can design a realistic, achievable blueprint for your dream smile.

For this reason, we have put together some questions you should ask yourself prior to your appointment:

  • What do you like and dislike about the color, size, shape and spacing of your teeth?
  • Do you like how much of your teeth show when you smile and when your lips are relaxed?
  • Are you happy with the amount of gum tissue that shows when you smile?
  • Do you prefer a “Hollywood smile” with perfectly aligned, bright white teeth, or do you prefer a more natural looking smile with slight color, shape and shade variations?

To learn more about obtaining the smile you want, continue reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Great Expectations — Perceptions In Smile Design.” Or you can contact us today to schedule an appointment so that we can conduct a thorough examination and discuss your cosmetic and restorative dentistry treatment goals. And if you want to read the entire feature article on Jerry Rice, continue reading “Jerry Rice — An Unbelievable Rise To NFL Stardom.”

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