Posts for: April, 2018

By Wilmington Dental Associates
April 25, 2018
Category: Oral Health
NoGleeinToothGrinding

Sure, it’s big news when celebs tweet selfies from the dental office… if you’re still living in the 20th century. But in Hollywood today, it’s harder to say who hasn’t posted snaps of themselves in the dentist’s chair than who has. Yet the pictures recently uploaded to Twitter by Mark Salling, the actor and singer who regularly appears as Noah “Puck” Puckerman on the popular TV series Glee, made us sit up and take notice.

“Getting my chipped tooth fixed. Also, apparently, I’m a big grinder,” read the caption. The photo showed a set of upper front teeth with visible chips on the biting surface. What’s so special about this seemingly mundane tweet? It’s a great way of bringing attention to a relatively common, but often overlooked problem: teeth clenching and grinding, also called bruxism.

Although bruxism is a habit that affects scores of people, many don’t even realize they have it. That’s because the condition may only become active at night. When the teeth are unconsciously ground together, the forces they produce can wear down the enamel, cause chipping or damage to teeth or dental work (such as veneers or fillings), or even loosen a tooth! While it’s common in children under 11 years old, in adults it can be a cause for concern.

Sometimes, mouth pain, soreness and visible damage alert individuals to their grinding habits; other times, a dental professional will notice the evidence of bruxism during an exam or cleaning: tooth sensitivity and telltale wear and tear on the chewing surfaces. Either way, it’s time to act.

Bruxism is most often caused by stress, which can negatively impact the body in many ways. It may also result from bite problems, the overuse of stimulating substances (caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs), and as a side effect of certain medications. Sometimes, simply becoming aware of the habit can help a person get it under control. Common methods of stress reduction include exercise, meditation, a warm bath or a quiet period before bedtime; these can be tried while we monitor the situation to see if the problem is going away.

If stress reduction alone doesn’t do the trick, several other methods can be effective. When bruxism is caused by a minor bite problem, we can sometimes do a minor “bite adjustment” in the office. This involves removing a tiny bit of enamel from an individual tooth that is out of position, bringing it in line with the others. If it’s a more serious malocclusion, orthodontic appliances or other procedures may be recommended.

When grinding is severe enough to damage teeth or dental work, we may also recommend a custom-made night guard (occlusal guard), which you put in your mouth at bedtime. Comfortable and secure, this appliance prevents your teeth from being damaged by contacting each other, and protects your jaw joints from stresses due to excessive grinding forces.

Whether or not you have to smile for a living, teeth grinding can be a big problem. If you would like more information about this condition, call our office to schedule a consultation for a consultation.


By Wilmington Dental Associates
April 15, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: teeth whitening  
WhyYouShouldConsideraProfessionalProcedureforYourTeethWhitening

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!


By Wilmington Dental Associates
April 03, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: cosmetic dentistry   Veneers  

Are you ready to make a few changes to your smile? Dr. Michael Lenz, Dr. Anthony Vattilana, and Dr. John Lenz of Wilmington Dental veneersAssociates in Wilmington, DE, explain how veneers can enhance and restore your smile.

Veneers keep imperfections out of sight

Veneers are designed to conceal noticeable flaws in your tooth enamel. Because they only cover the fronts of your teeth, veneers don't have to be thick to be effective. In fact, they're no thicker than a fingernail. The restorations are made of porcelain and look just your tooth enamel. To ensure the best fit, a very fine layer of tooth enamel is removed during your first veneer appointment in our Wilmington office. About two weeks later, you'll return and receive your custom-made porcelain veneers.

Veneers can completely change the appearance of your smile

Veneers are an excellent choice whether you have one smile issue or have several different types of problems. They're frequently recommended as a cosmetic solution if you have a chip or crack in your tooth. Veneers also hide flaws in your teeth, such as bumps or pits, and can completely change the shape or length of a tooth. Do you have a tooth that is slightly crooked or just a little too short? Adding a thin veneer instantly improves your smile.

Are your teeth still not as white as you would like, even though you've used whitening products several times? The restorations are available in a multitude of shades. Your final shade can even be lightened or darkened a little based on the color of the dental cement used to attach your restoration.

Veneers are a good option if one or two teeth have changed color. Color changes may happen if you have a large filling, had a root canal, injured your tooth, or took tetracycline in the past. Your new veneer will match your tooth color perfectly and help you feel more confident about your smile. Veneers can even close slight gaps in your smile.

Take advantage of the smile-changing benefits of veneers! Call Dr. Lenz, Dr. Vattilana, and Dr. Lenz of Wilmington Dental Associates in Wilmington, DE, at (302) 654-6915 to schedule an appointment.




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