Posts for: March, 2018
Teeth grinding is one childhood habit that sounds worse than it usually is: often the most harm done is to your night’s sleep. That said, though, it’s still a habit to keep your eye on.
Also known as bruxism, teeth grinding is so common among children that it’s considered normal behavior by many healthcare professionals. As for causes, some suggest a child’s immature neuromuscular chewing control may trigger it, while others point to the change from deeper sleep to a lighter stage as a possible cause. Problems like airway obstruction, medications or stress also seem to contribute to the habit.
For most children, teeth grinding usually fades by age 11 with no adverse effect on their teeth. If the habit extends into adolescence, however, there’s an increased risk for damage, mainly tooth wear.
This can happen because grinding often produces chewing forces 20-30 times greater than normal. Over time this can cause the biting surfaces of the teeth to wear and reduces the size of the teeth. While teeth normally wear over a lifetime, accelerated wear can pose a significant health risk to your teeth. Any sign of tooth wear in a child or adolescent is definitely cause for concern.
If your child’s tooth grinding habit appears to be developing into a problem, your dentist may recommend a few treatment options. The most common is a thin, plastic night guard worn in the mouth during sleep that prevents the upper and lower teeth from making contact. If the suspected cause is airway obstruction, they may refer you to an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist to seek treatment for that, as well as other professionals to help with managing stress or medications.
Like thumb sucking, the habit of teeth grinding usually ends with no permanent ill effects. But if you notice it continuing late into childhood or your dentist finds tooth wear or other problems, take action to avoid problems long-term.
If you would like more information on childhood bruxism, 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 “When Children Grind their Teeth.”
Tooth decay is one of the most common diseases in the world, nearly as prevalent as the common cold. It’s also one of the two major dental diseases—the other being periodontal (gum) disease—most responsible for tooth and bone loss.
Tooth decay begins with high levels of acid, the byproduct of oral bacteria feeding on food remnants like sugar. Acid can erode tooth enamel, leading to a cavity that will require removal of decayed material around it and then a filling.
Sometimes, though, decay can spread deeper into the tooth reaching all the way to its core: the pulp with its bundle of nerves and blood vessels. From there it can travel through the root canals to the bone. The continuing damage could eventually lead to the loss of the infected tooth.
If decay reaches the tooth interior, the best course of action is usually a root canal treatment. In this procedure we access the pulp through the crown, the visible part of the tooth, to remove all of the diseased and dead tissue in the pulp chamber.
We then reshape it and the root canals to receive a filling. The filling is normally a substance called gutta percha that’s easily manipulated to conform to the shape of the root canals and pulp chamber. After filling we seal the access hole and later cap the tooth with a crown to protect it from re-infection.
Root canal treatments have literally saved millions of teeth. Unfortunately, they’ve gained an undeserved reputation for pain. But root canals don’t cause pain—they relieve the pain caused by tooth decay. More importantly, your tooth can gain a new lease on life.
But we’ll need to act promptly. If you experience any kind of tooth pain (even if it goes away) you should see us as soon as possible for an examination. Depending on the level of decay and the type of tooth involved, we may be able to perform the procedure in our office. Some cases, though, may have complications that require the skills, procedures and equipment of an endodontist, a specialist in root canal treatment.
So, don’t delay and allow tooth decay to go too far. Your tooth’s survival could hang in the balance.
If you would like more information on tooth decay treatment, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor article “Root Canal Treatment: What You Need to Know.”
If you're like most people, you probably haven't given much thought to your oral hygiene routine. After all, brushing your teeth isn't exactly the most exciting event in your day. Unfortunately, if your oral hygiene is lacking, you may be unwittingly increasing your risk of tooth decay. Our Bolingbrook, IL, dentists, Dr. Kathryn Bachinski and Dr. Christine Petrilla, explain how you can optimize your routine and protect your oral health.
Spend an extra minute in the bathroom
If you brush for less than two minutes, you may not be completely removing plaque from your teeth. Plaque is the sticky, transparent coating that forms on your teeth between brushing sessions. If you happen to have plaque on your teeth and take a bite of a doughnut or other sugary or carbohydrate-laden food, an interesting reaction takes place in your mouth. The bacteria in the plaque mixes with the sugar to form an acid that's capable of wearing away your tooth enamel. Once your enamel is weak, cavities are more likely to occur.
Brushing gets rid of plaque, preventing the enamel-destroying attack from occurring. If your enamel does become a little weaker as a result of an acid attack, brushing with a toothpaste that contains fluoride will help remineralize and strengthen your enamel.
Find your floss
Do you know where your floss is? Even diligent brushers don't always floss regularly. Brushing your teeth removes plaque from the surfaces of your teeth, but it won't get rid of the sticky substance between your teeth. A once-a-day flossing habit will help you avoid cavities in those areas.
Add mouthwash to your oral hygiene routine
If you don't currently use mouthwash, consider adding it to your daily routine. When you visit a Bolingbrook store, read mouthwash labels, and look for a product that offers "anti-microbial, antibacterial or anti-cavity" protection. These mouthwashes kill the bacteria in your mouth that contribute to tooth decay. Stay away from products that contain alcohol. Alcohol-containing mouthwashes can irritate the tissues of your mouth and also cause dry mouth, which is a factor in bad breath.
Protect your smile with a thorough oral hygiene routine and regular dental checkups. Call our Bolingbrook, IL, dentists, Dr. Bachinski and Dr. Petrilla, at (630) 759-0077 to schedule your next exam.