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If you have heard of bruxism before, then you probably already know that this dental problem can be a real pain, literally, for many adults. Our O’Fallon dentists are here with some more information about the ins and outs of bruxism, and what you can do about it! 

Just What Is Bruxism, Anyway? 

Patients who suffer from bruxism regularly grind their teeth together, and clench their jaws. For some people, this problem arises intermittently—when they are particularly stressed, for example. However, bruxism can also be a chronic condition, especially for those patients who are grinding their teeth at night while they are asleep.

How Can I Tell If I Have It?

Obviously, if you notice that you are grinding our clenching your teeth during the day, you’ll want to reach out to your dental team for an assessment. But what if you are experiencing bruxism while asleep? Look out for these bruxism red flags:

  • Headaches upon waking
  • Jaw pain
  • Tooth pain
  • Jaw stiffness
  • Damaged or thin dental enamel
  • Changes in bite alignment 

What Can I Do To Protect My Oral Health?

Our number one recommendation is that you reach out to your dental team for an assessment as soon as you notice signs of dental grinding. Because there are a number of different causes of bruxism, your dentist will first identify the underlying cause of your condition, before making some personalized treatment suggestions.

Treating bruxism may involve:

  • Wearing custom-fit oral appliances at night to protect your enamel
  • Undergoing orthodontic treatment to correct bite problems
  • Receiving new dental restorations to achieve a better bite
  • Using TMJ oral appliances to guide your lower jaw into a better position
  • Implementing stress-reducing exercises and mouth stretches into your routine

Don’t let chronic bruxism degrade your dental health. Contact our O’Fallon dentists to get more information about ways that you can protect your smile, today. 

Every year as the holidays roll around, it seems like our lives become inundated with delicious sweets and treats. And, while these goodies undoubtedly make the season more festive, they can really take a toll on our smiles over time. That is why our O’Fallon dentists are here to share some advice on how to care for your smile during this celebratory time of year. Let’s get started! 

Pay Attention to Problem Ingredients

For many of us, the holidays are a celebratory time filled with cookies, candies, and festive drinks. And, while all of these treats can help us to feel comfortable and at home, they can also create a comfortable homey environment for oral bacteria in our mouths.

The same harmful bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease use sugars and refined carbohydrates as fuel. So, in times when we are consuming more sugar than usual, we also want to be extra vigilant about cleaning and refreshing our smiles.

Rinse Routinely

Taking the time to quickly rinse your smile after eating and drinking can make a huge difference to the way your smile looks and feels. There are a couple of goals when it comes to rinsing your smile:

  • Remove sugary or acidic food particles
  • Dislodge plaque
  • Make it difficult for bacteria to proliferate
  • Increase the amount of saliva (which neutralizes bacteria and re-mineralizes enamel)

Make it a point to rinse your mouth with water throughout the day, and especially after consuming something sugary or acidic. 

Indulge Thoughtfully

There are a few things that you can do to minimize the effects of sugars and acids on your smile.

  • Pre-plan a time of day during which you will consume sugary or acidic substances
  • Wait for at least 20 to 30 minutes after acid exposure to brush your teeth (your dental enamel is temporarily weakened during this period of time)
  • Keep your diet pretty healthy outside of pre-planned periods of indulgence

Following these simple steps will make it more difficult for harmful oral bacteria to flourish and infiltrate your enamel.

Our O’Fallon dentists are here to answer all of your questions, and to help you build an oral hygiene plan that works for your smile, specifically. Give us a call to get started! 

If you have noticed that your teeth are more sensitive than they used to be, or that you are suffering from tooth pain, it is probably time to reach out to your dental team. Our O’Fallon dentists provide the effective care that you need to minimize discomfort and safeguard your oral health.

While occasional and short-term sensitivity can result from things like dental cleanings and whitening treatments, more persistent discomfort may be a sign of more serious oral health problems, like…

Tooth Damage

Every one of your teeth is made up of different layers—the dental enamel, the dentin, and the dental pulp. The goal, generally speaking, is for your enamel to protect your dentin and especially dental pulp from bacteria as well as from irritating agents. Infected or broken dental structure can serve as a pathway for irritants to reach the sensitive inner-workings of your tooth.

Thin Enamel

We put our dental enamel through a lot, especially when we consume sugary and acidic substances. It is normally for enamel to thin somewhat over the years, but significant enamel thinning will leave your inner tooth overly vulnerable to outside substances. Patients eat and drink sugary/acidic substances, those who have bruxism, and those that brush their teeth soon after eating or drinking are especially at-risk. 

Receding Gum Tissue

Periodontal disease weakens oral tissues, including your gums. Consequently, your gum tissue can start to pull away from your teeth, forming small gaps called “periodontal pockets.” Without the protective covering of your gum tissue, your dental nerves will become irritated.

Our O’Fallon dental team is here to assess your smile, and to recommend further care, be it preventive or restorative. Here are some commonly utilized treatments to consider…

Using Desensitizing Formulations

There are a number of mouth rinses and toothpastes that are made specifically do deal with dental sensitivity. Our team may recommend that you integrate one of these into your daily routine, especially if you are only experiencing sensitivity occasionally. 

Enamel Strengthening Treatments

As we have already discussed, healthy dental enamel is a very effective protective barrier for your dental pulp. Topical fluoride treatments work to strengthen and fortify your dental enamel. And seeking prompt treatment for conditions like bruxism can protect your teeth from premature thinning. 

Restorative Care

If your current dental enamel is thin or worn down, it might be time to use restorative dental materials to re-inforce your natural tooth structure. Dental bonding, which uses composite resin, can be used to resurface your natural teeth, as can porcelain restorations.

Periodontal Disease Treatment

Gum disease is a treatable condition—we can help your gum tissue heal and become robust again. Periodontal disease treatment is designed to neutralize harmful oral bacteria, and clear away diseased tissue, so that your gums are able to repair themselves.

Our O’Fallon dentists are here to answer any questions you may have about chronic or occasional sensitivity. Just give us a call to get started! 

Smile Consultation: (636) 614-1217
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