Do you often awaken in the morning to find that your jaw is sore or that your neck and shoulders feel tense? Perhaps you suffer from frequent headaches that tend to begin in the area surrounding your temples. These symptoms are common in individuals with nighttime teeth grinding and daily jaw clenching, or bruxism and temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). Fortunately, treatment for these orofacial issues is typically non-invasive, affordable, and easily accessible at your dentist’s office.
What Causes Jaw Clenching and Teeth Grinding?
There are a variety of reasons that people with TMD and bruxism engage in the unconscious behavior of teeth grinding and clenching. Malocclusion, or an improper bite, is a major factor, as is daily stress. While you are sleeping, you are not able to stop the overworked muscles in the jaw and face from overtaking themselves further, leading to numerous symptoms that can affect you all day.
For many, the primary complaint related to TMJ disorder is headache pain that interferes with daily functioning. The delicate joints that connect your lower jaw to your cranium can become irritated and inflamed, causing nerve pain that can even spread to your upper back. This can lead to posture problems that further exacerbate the issue. In cases of teeth grinding, the patient is typically unaware that their jaws are placing inordinate amounts of pressure on their teeth all night. Bruxism can cause tooth fractures and enamel erosion, both of which can prove to be serious problems if not treated in a timely manner.
Bruxism & TMJ Treatment
In the majority of cases, a nighttime mouthguard is used to prevent damage to the teeth caused by clenching and grinding. This custom oral appliance fits comfortably in your mouth as you sleep, helping position the jaws properly so that the muscles aren’t unnecessarily strained. Patients who have been clenching their jaws for years are surprised to find that they experience relief from their discomfort in as few as one or two nights with their new appliance. In addition to Night guards, supplemental relief can come from Botox injections, which can temporarily freeze the muscle from firing and cause muscle relaxation. This in turn, will relieve the pressure on the TMJ. Please feel free to contact us at Waverley Dental Care for an evaluation.
If you believe that you or someone in your family is suffering with the ill effects of TMJ disorder or bruxism, ask us about a custom oral appliance or Botox injections. Relief could be a phone call away!
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Halloween is undeniably a favorite holiday for millions of children from across America, offering the perfect opportunity to dress up in creative costumes and bring home tons of sweet treats. While we’d never discourage any of the festivities and fun of trick-or-treating, we do want to emphasize the importance of keeping those precious pearly whites healthy this holiday season. With preventive dentistry solutions like dental sealants and fluoride supplements, we can help ensure your child’s continued oral health all year round.
Preventing Cavities this Holiday Season
The two most common childhood dental concerns are tooth decay and periodontal disease. Because prevention is always the best medicine when it comes to your child’s oral health, routine dental exams and cleanings are integral to a future of healthy smiles. Particularly around the holidays, it is important to consider the effects of sugary treats – including Halloween candies like lollipops, chocolate, and candy corn – on a child’s vulnerable teeth. Your child’s tooth enamel isn’t as resistant to plaque buildup, so twice yearly cleanings are vital.
During your child’s dental visit, ask about dental sealants and fluoride supplements. Dental sealants effectively protect teeth from cavities, especially in hard-to-reach places like the first and second molars. Fluoride supplements can actually fortify tooth enamel, remineralizing the surfaces of the teeth to further ward off attacks from cavity-causing bacteria. After your child is done divvying up all of his or her favorite treats from Halloween, consider donating the excess to a Halloween buyback program. This will help keep those cavity-causing temptations out of reach, further protecting your child’s smile.
Keep Your Child’s Smile Shining Brightly!
Your child’s dentist is your ongoing partner in building a strong foundation for oral health in the future. If you have questions about preventive dentistry services, including fluoride and dental sealants, give us a call at Waverley Dental Care for more information.
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As a parent, helping your child create positive associations with the dentist is an important step in helping them build healthy habits. By creating positive associations at a young age, your child will be more likely to make daily care and regular checkups a priority. In today’s post, we want to offer four steps that will help your child have a better dental visit, in addition to helping him or her create healthy habits.
Encourage Regular Brushing and Flossing
Your first step should be to help your child learn the importance of daily care. One way you can do this is by demonstrating healthy habits yourself. Why not make brushing and flossing a family activity? There are even specially made toothbrushes that play music to make the experience more fun. Brushing and flossing every day will help your little one have healthy teeth, which will help him or her enjoy better checkups.
Talk to Your Child about What to Expect
If your child is visiting a dentist for the first time, talk to him or her about what to expect. Children are sometimes frightened by new places, sounds, or people. Bringing your child with on you on one of your own appointments can help dispel anxiety and get them accustomed them to the atmosphere of a dental office.
Avoid Scary Words or a Scary Tone
Whether or not your child needs extra care, avoid using words like “pain” or “shot,” and be careful about using your own dental history to relate to your child. Instead, think of ways you can encourage your little one before an appointment. Talk about the positives of having a healthy smile and the ways that dentists can help them improve oral health.
It might be tempting to promise your child a special treat if they make it through their appointment, but this tactic can send the wrong message. Put the focus on good oral hygiene and the importance of a healthy smile instead. Teach them that healthy teeth are a reward in and of themselves.
Do you want to schedule an appointment for your child? Give us a call at Waverley Dental Care. We love kids!!!
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Research has shown a link between gum disease and a number of health problems, including diabetes and heart disease. Researchers have also long known about a link between gum disease and rheumatoid arthritis, but they haven’t known why the two were linked. New research is showing why these two inflammatory problems might be connected.
The research, carried out by University of Louisville School of Dentistry Oral Health and Systemic Diseases researcher Jan Potempa, PhD, DSc, shows that the bacteria that causes gum disease can worsen rheumatoid arthritis, leading to early onset and speeding up progression. This means increased damage to bone and cartilage. Gum disease can lead to chronic inflammation and destruction of the cartilage in the joints.
Studies have also shown that people with gum disease experience higher rates of rheumatoid arthritis.
This is just one more reason that you need to take extra care to prevent and fight against gum disease. The best way to protect yourself from the ill effects of gum disease is through a combination of regular visits twice a year to the dentist and daily brushing and flossing. Many people neglect to floss regularly. It is recommended that you floss once a day, which allows you to sweep away the bacteria that causes gum disease from below the gum line. Brushing alone cannot adequately protect you from gum disease. And gum disease isn’t just linked to rheumatoid arthritis. It’s the leading cause of tooth loss as well, and contributes to a variety of other systemic diseases.
So if it’s been a while since your last visit to the dentist, make sure to make an appointment soon to find out about your gum disease status and any other oral health problems that might be threatening your overall health and wellbeing!
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You may be ready to send your kids back to school, but don’t forget to schedule their dental appointments! It’s easier to bring your children to the dentist when they don’t have to miss class, and it will be less of a hassle for you. Although kids undoubtedly would like to get out of school for their dental visit, protect their wellbeing and education with an earlier trip to the dentist!
Regular children’s dentistry appointments are a vital part of their dental health. It’s recommended by the American Dental Association that kids should see a dentist at least twice a year for routine checkups. If your child has never seen the dentist, then don’t wait! Examinations are an opportunity for your dentist to check for any decay or growth problems, and to stop them before complications arise.
A children’s dentistry exam is also great for reminding your child of the importance of proper dental hygiene. The gentle team at your dental office will explain different, easy-to-remember techniques for daily care. They can also offer handy tips about flossing, a practice that most children won’t perfect until well into adulthood. It’s never too late early to begin instructing excellent dental care! Dentists want to help your child improve their oral health any way that they can.
Remember, the more regularly your child sees the dentist, the less likely they will be to develop serious dental problems later in life. Great dental hygiene will save your child time in the dental chair receiving restorative treatment, which they will be happy about. Just give Waverley Dental Care a call today to schedule a children’s dentistry appointment.
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How Do You Maintain a Great Summertime Smile?
When you think of summer, you probably think of swimming pools, cookouts, and sunshine — but do you also think of your oral health? During the summer, there are actually things that you should keep in mind when it comes to your smile. Armed with some information, though, you can have a fun summer while maintaining beautiful and healthy teeth.
Did you know that swimming pools can have an effect on your teeth?
The chemicals in swimming pools can lead to discoloration of your smile if you’re exposed for long enough. Research has shown that people who spent more than 6 hours a week in swimming pools ended up with discolored front teeth. The reason is the higher pH level of the water, which beaks down proteins in saliva and leave a brownish stain on your teeth. If the pool’s pH balance isn’t properly cared for, the water can also soften enamel, leading to an increased risk of decay and damage. Luckily, trips to the dentist for regular cleanings and fluoride treatments can combat both of these problems!
Summertime Foods and Beverages…and Your Smile
During the summer, you’re probably going to attend a lot of parties, and with parties come a variety of beverages and snacks. Summertime drinks include soda, sports drinks, white wine, beer, and lemonade, and these drinks are loaded with sugar. A simple tip for counteracting the effects of these beverages, however, is to rinse your mouth with water regularly throughout the party. But don’t brush your teeth too soon after consuming acidic beverages. These drinks can soften enamel, and brushing while the enamel is soft can do more damage. Wait at least an hour before you brush!
Party foods can be dark in color and full of sugar as well. Dark foods contribute to stained teeth, and we all know what happens when you eat too much sugar! Cavities! But by rinsing your mouth after eating these dark and sugary foods, you can avoid staining and cavities — and a trip to Waverley Dental Care during your summer for teeth whitening and a checkup can give your smile a boost!
It’s pretty simple to keep your smile in shape during these summer months. Brushing, flossing, rinsing after food or drink, and regular trips to Waverley Dental Care can help keep you looking and feeling your best. Now you just have to figure out how to stay cool!
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It’s common knowledge that the use of tobacco products can increase your overall risk of oral cancer, but there are other factors at play as well. Regular exercise, proper diets, and good habits are the building blocks for any healthy lifestyle, but they can significantly lower the possibility of many diseases. As always, regular brushing, flossing, and other beneficial dental care are your best tools for preventing the development of many diseases, and can aid in the fight against cancer. If you are already affected by oral cancer, this information may also help during your treatment and after.
Risk Factors for Oral Cancer
Tobacco usage, especially smokeless tobacco, such as chewing tobacco, is the only known cause of oral cancer. The best way to prevent oral cancer from developing is to completely stop the use of tobacco products. We know that it can be hard to quit this addictive habit, but it’s one of the best things that you can do for your health, and the health of your loved ones (secondhand smoke is a proven cause of other types of cancer). Your dentist and doctor can give you great advice and other tips to help you quit using tobacco products. Please turn to them for advice and let them know that you want to quit. They will be 100% supportive, which can really make a difference in your quest to stop!
If you drink three or more alcoholic beverages a day, you have a greater chance of getting oral cancer, as well as additional health problems. Drinking and smoking often coincide, which may attribute to the high cancer rates in those who use drink. However, studies have shown that frequent binge drinking also corresponds with an unhealthy diet, which can increase one’s risk for cancer. The best way to control these factors is to limit alcoholic beverage intake, and choose healthier foods. Leafy, green vegetables, foods which are high in vitamin B, green tea, and other antioxidant-rich foods have been continually linked to fighting or preventing cancer. You should avoid frying the vegetables as well, as this form of cooking effectively zaps the foods of any nutritive content.
Vitamin D is great for overall health, and has been known to lessen chances of acquiring cancer. High levels of vitamin D enable bones and teeth to absorb the calcium they need to stay strong and healthy. The natural way of getting vitamin D is from safe levels of sun exposure. Unfortunately, sun exposure is a risk factor for oral cancer on the lips, and for other types of cancer on other places in the body. Regular sunblock and limited time in the sun can help deter these unwanted effects. If you want to play it safe or if you’re exposure to the sun is already limited, you may want to talk to your dentist or doctor about vitamin D supplements. Adding these to your healthy diet could help you avoid oral cancer.
Need help? Don’t hesitate to ask!
If you’re unsure about your chances of developing oral cancer or other cancers, please turn to your healthcare professional. Your dentists and doctors want what’s best for your well-being, and should be able to provide helpful tips, or refer you to a trusted colleague who can. It’s never too late to improve your health! At Waverely Dental Care we offer the latest in oral cancer screening methods with the Identafi screening unit. Please check out more information at http://www.identafi.net/tools/for-patients
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The health benefits of weight loss are many. Being overweight can contribute to heart disease, heart attack, joint pain, and diabetes. And now, research shows that being overweight can put you at risk for another type of health problem: gum disease. You may not connect your weight with your oral health, but the truth is that your smile can benefit from you maintaining a healthy weight.
How does your weight affect your risk of gum disease? Gum disease is an inflammation of the gums, and cytokines are proteins produced by the body that have inflammatory properties. Overweight individuals produce more cytokines, which can then cause gum disease. With a third of Americans suffering with weight problems and over half experiencing gum disease, getting a handle on these two health risks is a big goal for dentists and other health professionals.
How can you lower your risk of gum disease? Here are a few simple steps you can take that will make a big difference.
Brushing and Flossing
The single best thing you can do to lower your risk of gum disease is to brush twice a day and floss once a day. Many people skip the flossing, but this is an essential part of your gum disease prevention routine. Brushing alone cannot get below the gum line or between teeth, and it’s below the gum line that gum disease flourishes. When you floss, you can remove the plaque and bacteria that hides in the gum pockets and inflames the soft tissues of your mouth. Don’t skimp on the flossing; make sure to floss once every 24 hours.
Visiting the Dentist
The dentist can also help prevent gum disease with professional cleanings twice a year. Our team can remove hardened plaque and damaging tartar that you may have trouble clearing away, preventing these substances from causing both decay and gum disease. Your dentist can also spot the earliest warning signs of a problem and provide direction on how you can stop the problem from becoming worse.
Diet and Exercise
Lastly, maintain healthy diet and exercise habits to keep your weight at an optimal level. The more we learn about the body, the more we know that various factors affect every area of your health, and with the new research showing that being overweight puts you at increased risk of gum disease, we want to make sure that you’re doing all you can for every part of your body, including your smile!
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Vitamins and minerals have been shown to have a countless number of various benefits for the human body, and some may have benefits specifically for your smile. New research has shown that vitamin D may help lower your risk of tooth decay. And because the modern lifestyle often keeps us out of the sun (the main source of vitamin D) and few of us drink vitamin D-enriched whole milk these days, vitamin D supplements may be a vital part of your oral health regimen.
According to a review of research published in Nutrition Reviews, vitamin D was linked to a possible 50% reduction in tooth decay. Vitamin D has long been known to help strengthen bone, but dentists were long uncertain about the role this nutrient played in tooth health. However, after reviewing 24 different clinical trials from the 1920s to 1980s, it is now believed that Vitamin D helps keep cavities at bay, which is great news for your smile.
How can you up your vitamin D? When you’re exposed to sunshine, your body will naturally produce vitamin D. Just 10 minutes in the sun every day is about what’s needed to maintain healthy levels, but some of us don’t even get that much. You can also drink vitamin D enriched milk, and fish and eggs are a good natural source of vitamin D. Because vitamin D isn’t found naturally in very many foods, various foods are fortified with added vitamin D, like soymilk and orange juice. Check labels to find foods fortified with vitamin D.
Besides protecting your teeth from decay, vitamin D has been linked to the prevention of cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension. It can help you maintain beautiful and healthy hair, and it can reduce the inflammatory response. If you’ve been experiencing chronic fatigue, you may find that supplementing your diet with added vitamin D can help. Lots of people overlook the importance of vitamin D, but now that we know that it can help you keep your smile in shape, we may be recommending more of it at your next dental checkup.
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You’ve navigated your way around tempting treats and have read articles about flu prevention, but have you stopped to think about the dangers of exchanging saliva?
The Herpes simplex virus, or HSV-1, is the particular virus strand that causes cold sores (also known as fever blisters). It’s estimated that over 50% of the nation has been infected with the virus. Some carriers of HSV-1 have never had a cold sore and are unaware that they’re carriers, but are still contagious. This means that although they may never be plagued by a cold sore, they still retain the ability to transmit the virus to others, where it can cause unsightly and painful sores on lips and in the mouth. These sores can last up to two weeks, be pus-filled, and eventually crust over before they disappear. The virus will always remain latent in the body, waiting to be triggered by uncontrollable outside forces such as stress, cold weather, or exhaustion.
But how can I get it?
Cold sores are usually spread through saliva and enter through a minuscule break in the skin. This can be achieved not only by hanging out under the mistletoe at a party, but by sharing food as well. Parents can spread the Herpes simplex virus to their kids by drinking from the same cup of hot chocolate or sharing eating utensils.
A cold sore just appeared. What do I do now?
Fortunately, there are many over-the-counter and prescription treatments available to minimize the appearance of cold sores and their associated discomfort. Talk to your dentist or doctor when you have an initial cold sore outbreak or even if the current medication you’re taking isn’t working as well as desired.
Is there a bright side?
At Waverley Dental Care, we offer the ability to control the outbreaks of cold sores with our state-of-the art CO2 laser. At the first tingle of an impending sore, give our office a call. The CO2 laser treatment will prevent the cold sore to erupt into a blister, thus controlling contamination to others. If the sore has already formed and bleeding, the CO2 laser will instantly stop the pain, bleeding, and sterilize the area to prevent cross-infection and aid in a more rapid healing process. The good thing is that after treatment you no longer have to feel guilty about keeping your favorite holiday treat to yourself. Feel free to eat, drink, and be merry! Just remember to be safe now that you’re informed about the dangers of mistletoe.
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