29Dec

Maintaining oral health is about so much more than simply brushing and flossing your teeth as recommended. It is also important that you weed out unhealthy habits and conditions that will undermine the very structure of your smile. With that in mind, our Toluca Lake dentists have compiled this information about one common oral health threat—bruxism. Keep reading to learn more…

What Can Cause Bruxism?

There are a number of different possible causes of bruxism. Some patients grind their teeth when they are stressed—this is an involuntary habit that many of us do unconsciously. Dental grinding can also result from poor bite alignment. When your top and bottom teeth do not come together evenly, your lower jaw will slide back and forth in search of a comfortable resting position. Additionally, if you have old or ill-fitting dental restorations, your bite can be negatively affected.

What Are Some Common Warning Signs?

Patients who grind their teeth during the day may be able to recognize bruxism by simply being mindful and taking the time to assess what is happening with their bites. There are also bruxism red flags that can help you identify dental grinding that happens during the day or at night:

  • Jaw stiffness
  • TMJ pain
  • Tooth pain—especially around your back molars
  • Headaches—especially when you wake up on the morning
  • Stiff neck
  • Thin or damaged dental enamel

Are There Treatment Options?

Yes! Our Toluca Lake dentists offer a range of treatment options to fit your unique situation. If, for example, you grind your teeth when you are stressed, you may benefit from incorporating some jaw stretches and stress-reduction measures into your routine. When bruxism is the result of a poorly aligned bite, orthodontic treatment as well as custom-fit restorations or dental bonding can help bring the smile into balance. Additionally, there are protective oral appliances available to shield your enamel from tooth-on-tooth contact.

Think you might be dealing with bruxism or a related structural oral health problem? Contact our Toluca Lake dentists to schedule a personal consultation with our team!

01Dec

As the holidays roll around each year, it seems like our lives, like clockwork, become full of delicious sweets and treats. And, while these indulgences certainly make the season more festive, they can take a real toll on our smiles over time. That is why our Toluca Lake dentists are here to share some tips on how you can care for your smile during the holidays. Let’s get started!

Stay Aware Of Problem Ingredients

This time of year, for many of us, is filled with sugary treats like cookies, candies, and yummy beverages. All of these things help to make the holidays special! But did you know that they also make it easier for oral bacteria to infect your teeth and oral tissues?

Sticky sugary treats can be especially harmful. These goodies can get stuck in those hard-to-reach places between your teeth, and provide a continual fuel source for oral bacteria.

Rinse Your Smile

Now is the time to get into the habit of rinsing your smile throughout the day, and especially after consuming a sugary or acidic treat. You don’t want to allow food particles to sit on your smile for long periods of time. Plus, rinsing with water jump-starts saliva production, and saliva is your body’s natural way of freshening breath and re-mineralizing teeth.

Make A Plan To Indulge

Our Toluca Lake dentists understand that for many of us it just isn’t feasible to completely cut out sugary and acidic treats. The good news is that there are still steps you can take to protect your smile, like…

  • Being choosy about which treats you consume
  • Pre-planning a time to eat or drink holiday goodies (rather than grazing all day)
  • Refraining from brushing your teeth for 20 to 30 minutes after acid exposure
  • Choosing not to chomp on peppermints, hard candies, ice, and cough drops

By making a few healthy choices, you can make it much more difficult for oral bacteria to thrive and infiltrate your smile.

As always, do not hesitate to reach out to our Toluca Lake dentists to learn more about caring for your smile at home, or to schedule a personal consultation! 

17Nov

Tooth pain and sensitivity can make it difficult for you to get through your daily routine. Suddenly, simple things like drinking a hot cup of coffee or cleaning your smile seem impossible. Our Toluca Lake dentists understand this, which is why we work hard to offer effective treatment options for tooth pain and sensitivity. Keep reading to learn more about why dental sensitivity develops, and what you can do about it…

Insufficient Enamel

Dental enamel is the strongest, most resilient layer of a tooth, but it isn’t indestructible. Over time, enamel becomes thinner. This happens due to regular wear and tear, and can be exacerbated by bruxism, frequent consumption of acidic substances, and, of course, harmful oral bacteria.

Dental Damage

It is also possible to experience dental pain or sensitivity due to a specific spot of infection or dental trauma. This “weak spot” becomes a direct route for bacteria and irritants to enter the dental pulp.

Unhealthy Gum Tissue

When gum disease is left untreated it can become more severe, and turn into periodontal disease. At this point, your gum tissue is so compromised that it starts losing elasticity, as well as the ability to repair itself. The unfortunate consequence is that your gums will start to pull away from your teeth, potentially leaving sensitive dental nerves exposed.

Effectively dealing with dental sensitivity is all about pinpointing the root cause of your pain, and treating the problem at its source. Here are some ways to manage and overcome sensitive teeth…

Lessen Pain Response

Using a numbing topical agent, or a toothpaste/mouth rinse designed to lessen sensitivity is a quick and easy way to feel better. While this type of treatment doesn’t necessarily improve the overall health of your smile, it can help you stay comfortable in the short-term.  

Support Thick Enamel

Remember: the thicker and stronger your enamel is, the better it will be able to protect your dentin and dental pulp. Along with following your dentist-recommended oral hygiene routine, you may benefit from topical fluoride applications.

Fortify & Cover Weak Spots

If you are already dealing with porous or compromised dental enamel, our team may recommend that you undergo restorative dental treatment to build up insufficient enamel with materials like porcelain or composite resin. These materials perform the job of natural enamel, and they are not as susceptible to breaking down.

Prompt treatment is essential for addressing sensitivity-causing problems before they become more severe. Give our Toluca Lake dentists a call to get started!