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All Posts in Category: Conditions

teeth grinding | dentist port washington ny

What Causes Bruxism and Teeth Grinding?

Bruxism, defined as habitual teeth grinding and clenching, is estimated to affect 30-40 million Americans. It impacts some individuals exclusively at night, known as nocturnal bruxism, while others struggle at various times of the day. It is listed in the International Classification of Sleep Disorders (ICSD) and represents the third most common sleep dysfunction.

How Is Bruxism Identified?

The symptoms of bruxism vary based upon the individual, causes and severity of the involvement. Many individuals who infrequently grind or clench their teeth have no symptoms. Others will only discover their bruxism from their dentist during routine dental care. Sometimes it is a sleep partner that hears you grind at night.

In more severe cases, headaches, a sore jaw and tooth pain upon waking may indicate nighttime grinding. Having these symptoms should prompt a consult with your dental professional. Chronic or extreme grinding may cause teeth to fracture, fillings to loosen and even a loss of teeth. Ensuring proper evaluation by your dentist will ensure proper management to prevent this damage. Unchecked, bruxism may cause Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction, tooth loss and change your facial appearance.

Causes of Bruxism:

The etiology of grinding can be simple or complex, depending on the individual. In many, it is a cluster of reasons that trigger a person to grind or clench teeth. Some of the more common causes include:

  • Stress or Anxiety
  • Subconscious habit
  • Malocclusion or improper bite alignment
  • Side Effects of Medications such as Prozac, Zoloft and Paxil
  • Alcohol Use
  • Amphetamine Use
  • Parkinson’s or other Neurological Disease

Establishing a early diagnosis is advantageous, as unchecked continued grinding and clenching has been shown to impact quality of life and can lead to potential tooth, jaw and facial damage. Identifying the reasons for your teeth grinding is only the first step your dentist will take in evaluating this disorder. Confirming the cause of grinding helps to outline the best treatment option.

What Will the Dentist Find in Cases of Chronic Grinding?

Bruxism is a problem dentists see routinely due to its frequency rate. During a dental examination, abnormal tooth wear or tightness in the masseter jaw muscles are early signs. With prolonged tightness of these muscles, a bump may occur on the inner aspect of the mandible or maxillary bones, known as Torus Maxillaris and/or Torus Mandibularis. Gum recession or limited ability to open the mouth may be present. Late symptoms include direct tooth damage such as breakage or mobility of the teeth.

How is Bruxism Treated?

Treatment tends to coordinate with the cause of the grinding. One of the first steps is typically the use of a mouth appliance to protect the teeth. At times, these appliances are utilized exclusively at night; however, daytime grinding and clenching can trigger the need for use during the day.

  • Stress or Anxiety: Work with your healthcare specialist to identify the cause of stress or anxiety. Professional counseling or biofeedback are techniques utilized to resolve the triggers.
  • Malocclusion: Correction of tooth alignment and bite may require reshaping of the teeth, improvements to alignment and even physical therapy. More severe cases may require orthodontia to correct optimally.
  • Medicines: Medicines have been shown to be a trigger. Eliminating or changing these medications will provide a resolution. Medicines are also treatment tools. Anti-anxiety medications, muscle relaxants and even Botox may be utilized when necessary to treat bruxism.
  • Habits: Habitual clenching or grinding tends to respond best to retraining methods such as biofeedback and physical therapy. Tools are utilized to provide alternate focus, distracting from the damaging behaviors. Modifications to alcohol and caffeine use, recreational drug rehabilitation, and cessation of gum chewing will target the exact etiology.
  • Sleep Disorder: Sleep apnea is a common concurrent problem. Correction, often via the use of a CPAP machine, has been demonstrated to be a viable treatment option.

If you suspect you grind or clench your teeth, contact 3V Dental Associates today to schedule you consultation with our amazing team. Treatment options are optimal when utilized early.

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dry mouth port washington ny

Dry Mouth: Where Does it Come from and How to Treat it

Dry mouth is more than a feeling you get when thirsty. It is a condition that occurs when your salivary glands are not making enough saliva to keep your mouth wet. Other names for the condition include xerostomia, doughmouth, cottonmouth and pasties. This condition not only affects your mouth.

Saliva has enzymes, which helps with digestion. It prevents tooth decay by neutralizing bacteria acids, washed away food particles and limits bacterial growth. A dry mouth can go from being a nuisance to having an impact on your general health. It can affect the health of your gums and teeth, your appetite and your ability to enjoy food.

What Causes Dry Mouth?

This condition occurs for a number of reasons. The causes fall under four main categories, which include medications, age, cancer treatment and nerve damage. You should check the side effects on your medication.

According to the American Dental Association, the most common reason for dry mouth is lack of saliva.

Saliva is the mouth’s primary defense against tooth decay and maintains the health of the soft and hard tissues in the mouth. Saliva washes away food and other debris, neutralizes acids produced by bacteria in the mouth and provides disease-fighting substances throughout the mouth, offering first-line protection against microbial invasion or overgrowth that might lead to disease.

Many prescription and OTC medications cause this condition. These medications include decongestants, antihistamines, muscle relaxants and antidepressants. Dry mouth can also occur from autoimmune disorders.

Sjogren’s syndrome is a severe autoimmune disease. It makes your white blood cells attack your salivary glands and mouth. Other causes may include methamphetamine use, smoking, nervousness and stress. If you want to prevent oral issues, then you should schedule regular appointments with your dentist.

Symptoms of Dry Mouth

It is common for your mouth to feel dry from time to time. However, you should get worried when this feeling does not go away. If you suspect you have dry mouth, then you should look for certain symptoms. These symptoms include:

  • Bad breath
  • Mouth dryness
  • Cheilitis
  • Taste disorders
  • Sore throat

A painful tongue is another symptom of xerostomia. It causes you to feel a burning sensation. This symptom can occur all of a sudden and can be severe. Other symptoms may include tooth decay, thrush, sticky saliva and salivary gland infections.

Dry Mouth Treatment Options

Treatment depends on what is causing your dryness. You should start by checking your medication. If the dryness comes from medication, then you may need to change to another drug.

It helps to get your salivary glands checked by a physician. If your salivary glands can still produce some saliva, then your doctor can prescribe you medication. There are medications available for stimulating your salivary glands. Taking the medication allows you to produce more saliva. Common medications used for stimulation includes Evoxac and Salogen tablets.

Artificial saliva is another treatment option for xerostomia. This treatment works by using artificial saliva to keep your mouth moisture.

Dry Mouth Diagnosis

To diagnose xerostomia, a medical doctor or dentist will need to examine your mouth. Your physician will ask you about your medical history. He or she also will perform imaging scans and blood tests of your salivary glands.

There are common tests used to make a diagnosis about xerostomia. These tests include a biopsy, saliography and sialometry. A biopsy is when a small sample of salivary gland tissue is taken.

The saliography takes a radiographic examination of your ducts and salivary glands. This test can identify masses and salivary gland stones. The sialometry is a procedure that measures the flow rate of your saliva.

Dry Mouth Prevention

You can take a number of steps for prevention from xerostomia. When eating a meal, you should sip on water or a drink that does not contain sugar. Hydration is critical to the production of saliva. Some drinks add to the dryness. You should avoid sodas, tea, caffeine and coffee.

Oral care products can help with producing more moisture in your mouth. You should get a recommendation from your dentist. Sugarless gum and candy is another way to stimulate saliva juices.

It is also a good idea to avoid tobacco and alcohol. These things are very drying on your mouth. The addition of sugar and acidic foods will only add to your condition. It may help to sleep with a humidifier at night as well.

Complications Associated with Dry Mouth

If you experience constant mouth dryness, then it can be uncomfortable. It can also have severe consequences to your oral health. The dryness is irritating for the soft tissues in your mouth. These conditions cause your soft tissues to become irritated and more open to infections. Saliva is very cleansing without it you have to worry about tooth decay. However, it is important to keep your gums and teeth healthy to prevent complications.

For more information about dry mouth symptoms, causes, and prevention, contact our dental team today. We’re happy to help answer any questions you may have.

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What Are Cavities?

A cavity is a decaying portion of a tooth. It commonly occurs when acids damage the outer enamel that protects your teeth from corrosion. Cavities form when there is no more protective enamel to guard the inner-layers of your tooth.

A cavity forms in the dentin layer, and it may leave a visible opening in the tooth. This small opening can enlarge overtime. Particles of food can become lodged inside the cavity. If you have a cavity, you may even experience intense pain depending upon the severity of the damage. Based on the severity of the pain, contacting 3V Dental Associates, your local Port Washington, NY dental team, should be your first step.

Signs and Symptoms

dental cavity

There are three main symptoms that your dentist may associate with a possible cavity diagnosis. These aren’t the only symptoms of tooth decay, but they are good reasons for you to contact our dental team for treatment as soon as possible.

  • Toothaches: Toothaches are typically a throbbing pain within your tooth that is not a result of an injury. It may also be accompanied by a swelling of the gums around the tooth.
  • Increased Sensitivity: Cavities often cause your teeth to become more sensitive to otherwise normal conditions. It could include sensitivities to temperature. You may also experience discomfort when eating sugary foods.
  • Pain When Chewing: If you experience any pain when chewing foods, then you should schedule an examination with your dentist right away. It is one of the major red-flags of an existing cavity.

What Causes Cavities?

The main underlying cause of dental cavities is the bacteria that naturally forms around teeth. It’s also known as plaque. This bacteria creates acids from breaking the foods we eat. These acids are also formed when drinking sugary drinks.

The acid created by plaque can remove vital minerals from enamel. It weakens the enamel overtime causing a cavity to form. When acids breach through your enamels, then they can continue to decay the underlying dentin in your tooth.

A cavity can eventually make it’s way to nerve endings. That is the point when most people first notice that they have a very serious dental problem. Not all cavities are visible to the naked eye. Your dentist will perform a physical examination of your tooth, and a dental x-ray of the dentin will reveal any issues that can’t be diagnosed through examination.

If your tooth isn’t treated, then the decay will continue to cause significant damages. There is a risk of infection associated with tooth decay when it reaches the nerve endings. An abscess may form within your gums.

Infections are much harder to treat, and they may require dental surgery. It is important to treat a cavity as a means of prevention from more serious complications that can occur.

How Can You Prevent Cavities?

According to the American Dental Association, the best prevention method for cavities is good oral hygiene. You should brush your teeth at least twice daily to prevent excessive bacteria build up. Brushing helps remove plaque from the surface of your teeth, and it helps reduce the amount of bacteria below your gum line.

Flossing is very important for cavity prevention as well. Brushing alone may not remove hard to reach plaque in between your teeth. You should also schedule regular checkups with your dentist routinely throughout the year.

Always use fluoride toothpastes when brushing your teeth. Fluoride is an antiseptic agent that kills most bacteria in your mouth on contact. Your child’s pediatrician can also prescribe fluoride supplements to reduce the risks of your children developing a cavity.

Your diet plays a big role in oral hygiene. Foods that are rich in starches may increase your chances of enamel loss. Try to avoid eating sugary snacks between meals to cut back on the amount of exposure to acids.

Having a dry mouth as a result of other complications will significantly increase your risks of tooth decay. Remember to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day.

Treating Cavities

If your dentist is able to place a diagnosis within the early stages, then fluoride treatment may be able to reverse the decaying process. This is only possible under certain circumstances, but your dentist will be able to judge when further action treatment is needed.

The next step in treatment is a dental filling. The damaged section of your tooth will be filled to prevent plaque buildup inside your tooth. You may need a full crown cap in order to save the underlying tooth, but it depends on how far the decay has spread.

Tooth extraction may be recommended in the most severe cases. If infection has spread to the nerve endings inside your gums, then a root canal procedure may be necessary. Root canals are typically more costly than other options. That’s why it is very important to diagnose tooth decay early on. Make oral hygiene your priority to keep a healthy smile for years to come.

Think you may have a cavity or interested in preventative care? Contact the friendly dental staff at 3V Dental Associates today to schedule your next office visit.

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what does it mean if my tongue is color

How to Prevent and Treat Bad Breath

Oral hygiene is extremely important at any age regardless of your diet preference and your genetics. Avoiding bad breath and knowing how to implement the right remedies for your bad breath is essential to prevent making a negative impression on those in your life. With the right treatment options, and continued dentist visits, minimize your bad breath while getting to the root cause of the odor for future reference.

According to Colgate.com:

Most bad breath starts in your mouth, and there are many possible causes that include: certain foods you eat (garlic and onions, in particular), alcohol or cigarettes, poor oral hygiene, gum disease, diabetes, dry mouth, sinus or throat infections, lung infections, kidney/liver failure and gastrointestinal issues.

Brush and Floss Twice a Day to Avoid Bad Breath

brush your teeth to avoid bad breath

 

Brushing and flossing your teeth at least twice a day is essential to maintain proper oral health. Brush each morning and evening to minimize germs and bacteria from leading to cavities and other dental issues such as gum disease. Flossing is imperative to prevent the buildup of bacteria, old food, and germs from forming. After a large meal, it is also advisable to brush and floss to avoid dental issues from arising.

The Right Mouthwash May Help Prevent Bad Breath

mouthwash to prevent bad breath

Use mouthwash on a daily basis to help eliminate germs and bacteria, especially before going to bed each night and upon waking up in the morning. Use mouthwash after brushing and flossing for an added layer of protection while maintaining fresh and appealing breath. Avoid solely using mouthwash during your oral hygiene routine as it does not allow the opportunity to remove excess plaque and buildup from the mouth.

Hydration is Key to Preventing and Minimizing Bad Breath

hydration to avoid and treat bad breath

Drinking enough water is one of the most essential elements of fresh breath. When the mouth becomes dry or there is not enough fluid in the mouth, bacteria begins to form and fester. It is also important to keep any chronic illnesses, diseases, or medications you have in mind when working towards a better oral hygiene regimen. Some medications and illnesses have the ability to trigger dry mouth or dehydration, which is why it is essential to stay hydrated by drinking water throughout all hours of the day for optimal health.

Keep to Your Yearly (at the least!) Scheduled Dental Appointments

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One of the best ways to treat bad breath while preventing additional oral hygiene issues is to visit your local Port Washington dentist regularly. Schedule a regular checkup and cleaning at least once every six months. Speak to your dentist directly if you believe you are suffering from halitosis or another gum-related disease such as periodontal gum disease. Your dentist has the ability to diagnose and properly treat oral issues while eliminating the guesswork involved in treating yourself without professional guidance. A deep cleaning may be necessary to eliminate excess buildup from your gums and teeth, especially if you have not visited the dentist regularly or if you have anxiety related to oral hygiene and dentist offices. Share your concerns openly and honestly with your dentist to determine the best course of action for your teeth and gums based on your mouth’s current health and diagnosis.

Use a Tongue Cleaner to Prevent Bad Breath and Keep Your Tongue Germ Free

tongue cleaner

Invest in a tongue cleaner to minimize your bad breath while keeping your mouth as clean as possible. In many cases, bad breath originates from the tongue as bacteria and plaque build up throughout the course of a day. Have you checked your tongue color lately? It may tell you a lot!

While some toothbrushes are designed to work on the tongue as well as the teeth, investing in a tongue cleaner or scraper that is specifically designed to eliminate tongue buildup is highly advisable, especially if you are suffering from halitosis or another chronic oral condition. Use your tongue cleaner each morning after brushing and flossing and before bed to keep your tongue from triggering unwanted bad breath.

Choose the Ideal Diet to Help Improve Your Breath

diet and bad breath

Diet plays a major role in overall oral hygiene and health. Choose a diet that is low in starchy and sugary foods, especially if you are unable to maintain a structured oral hygiene regimen each morning and night. Eliminate sugary drinks such as soda and juices along with snacks that are processed and packed with sugar and carbohydrates. Introduce a more whole and healthy diet plan into your everyday eating habits. Some foods that are optimal for dental health and to prevent unappealing breath from accumulating include:

Water
Greens (Salad, Kale)
Vegetables (Cauliflower, Broccoli, Asparagus, Green Beans, Carrots, Brussel Sprouts, etc.)
Meats (Without glazes or sweeteners)
Nuts and Seeds (Almonds, Pepitas, Walnuts, Cashews, Peanuts, Macadamia Nuts)

While having unappealing breath is common among most people at some point in their lives, chronic bad breath, halitosis, or other gum-related diseases are never enjoyable to take on and handle. With the right remedies, help cure the bad breath you experience each day while you kill potential germs and odors that have the potential to lead to serious dental problems and diseases. Once you understand how to avoid and treat the bad breath you experience each day it is much easier to choose a mouth wash and dental routine that is best for you and the life you lead.

Want more helpful tips on how to prevent and minimize bad breath? Check out this helpful article from the American Dental Association.

For more information on how you can prevent and minimize bad breath, contact our office today to schedule an appointment with our amazing dental team!

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prevent tooth decay

5 Tips to Prevent Tooth Decay

There are different types of dental fillings available at 3V Dental, including metallic and color-matching composite materials. Today, it is easy for our dentists to fill a small cavity in only a few minutes to prevent additional decay. However, it is better to prevent tooth decay in the first place. Here are five oral care tips that will improve the condition of the enamel on your teeth to help prevent any cavities that will require fillings.

Here Is How To Strengthen Your Teeth To Prevent Decay

Tip 1: Consume More Fruits and Vegetables

Your daily diet affects the condition of your teeth, but you can add an assortment of fruits and vegetables to your menus. Look for fresh dark leaf greens, bright red tomatoes and tasty bell peppers to create a salad for lunch instead of eating a hamburger. When you want a tasty snack, eat an apple rather than consuming potato chips or ice cream.

Tip 2: Perform Oral Care At Least Twice a Day

It is important to brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste. In addition, flossing once a day is also essential to remove additional food debris that leads to a buildup of plaque on your teeth. Buy a new toothbrush every three months, and choose dental floss that is easy for you to use.

Tip 3: Stop Smoking Cigarettes

If you smoke cigarettes, then you are more likely to have tooth decay, gingivitis or halitosis. The nicotine and other chemicals in tobacco will inflame the soft tissues inside your mouth, causing you to have numerous dangerous bacteria on your gums, palate or tongue that will cause tooth decay.

Tip 4: Take Vitamins To Improve Your Teeth

In addition to a healthy diet, you can take dietary supplements to improve the condition of your teeth. Taking vitamins and minerals is especially important when you have allergies that make it impossible to consume certain foods or beverages.

Tip 5: Schedule Routine Dental Visits Twice a Year

You should visit your dentist every six months to have a thorough cleaning and examination of your teeth. If you have a cavity, then your dentist can fill it with a color-matching filling when it is toward the front of your mouth. Alternatively, if you have a cavity in a tooth at the back of your mouth, then your dentist will use a durable metal filling instead.

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