Posts for: June, 2013
Do you clench your jaw or grind your teeth? Bite your nails? Chew on pencils or toothpicks? Or, heaven forbid, unscrew hard-to-open bottle caps using your precious pearly whites?
Over time, habits such as these — referred to in dentistry as “parafunctional” (para – outside; functional – normal) or beyond the range of what nature intended — can inflict excessive wear and tear on your teeth. Besides the impact damaged teeth can have on your smile, so called “tooth to tooth” and “tooth to foreign object” behaviors can cause physical problems, such as jaw joint and muscle pain, headaches, earaches, and even neck and back pain.
Use of Excessive Force
Parafunctional behaviors exert an abnormal amount of force on your teeth — up to 10 times the amount used for biting and chewing. Tooth grinding or “bruxism” (from the Greek word brykein – “gnash the teeth”) is particularly detrimental and is commonly seen in individuals who are experiencing a stressful time in their life. Some medications can also trigger it. Since bruxism often occurs while people sleep, it's possible to be unaware of it unless a partner comments (it can be noisy!) or a dental professional points out the tell-tale signs of wear.
To counter the adverse effects of nocturnal tooth grinding our office can create a customized night or occlusal (bite) guard. Typically fashioned from a hard, clear “processed acrylic” (wear-resistant plastic), this type of guard is amazingly inconspicuous. It is made to fit over the biting surfaces of the upper teeth only and is thinner than a dime. When it is worn, the lower teeth easily glide over the upper teeth rather than chomping into and gnashing with them, which minimizes the likelihood of erosion, chipping and uneven or excessive wear of the biting surface of the teeth. The guard is so unobtrusive, that some people even wear it as they go about their daily activities.
Remember: In addition to proper dental hygiene, you can help keep your teeth healthy by using them wisely!
If you would like more information about parafunctional habits like bruxism and ways to protect your teeth, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Stress & Tooth Habits” and “How And Why Teeth Wear.”
You have only one chance to make a first impression, and a big part of that impression is your smile. For many people, poor self-image starts with being self-conscious and inhibited about their smile.
A great smile is contagious. It can help you win friends and influence people. Conversely, inhibitions about your smile can have a negative impact on your relationships with family and friends, your career goals, and even your love life. If you think that self-consciousness about how your smile looks is holding you back, consider a smile makeover. With cosmetic and restorative dental procedures your smile can be the image of radiant health and happiness that you wish it could be.
A smile makeover is designed to enhance or even transform your self-image by giving you a brighter and more youthful smile, making your teeth look and function better through cosmetic and restorative dental procedures.
Here are ten reasons you may need a smile makeover:
- You are self-conscious about spaces and gaps between your teeth.
- Your teeth seem too small, and your smile seems “gummy.”
- Your teeth make you look older because they are stained or yellow.
- Your teeth are crooked, chipped, crowded or worn out.
- Your teeth do not work together effectively when you are biting or chewing.
- You hide your smile when posing for a photo, and you habitually hold your hand in front of your mouth when speaking or laughing.
- When you are interviewing for a new job or networking as part of your current job, your self-consciousness limits your ability to connect with people.
- Your friendships and family relations are suffering because of your low self-esteem.
- You wish you had a certain celebrity's smile or a friend's smile, instead of your own.
Perhaps most importantly:
- Your inhibitions about your smile are affecting other people's perceptions of you in all areas of your life.
If any of the above sound like you, contact us today to schedule an appointment or to discuss your questions about cosmetic dentistry and a smile makeover. You can also learn more by reading the article “The Impact of a Smile Makeover: What does it really mean?” in Dear Doctor magazine.