Friday, August 31, 2012

The Daily Grind

Bruxism [bruhk-siz-uhm]

Here's a scenario...

It's 6am and your alarm is going off. Immediately you're feeling the stress. Traffic is already happening and you haven't even had breakfast yet. 

You finally get to work and it's one of those days where everything is going wrong.

You sit in traffic again on your commute home and find out that your children were wreaking havoc on the house. You get through dinner and are getting ready for bed at 11:45pm.  

The next morning you wake to your alarm again but this morning your jaw feels tense. It hurts to yawn. Chewing your bagel at breakfast is painful. All throughout the day you have a headache. 

As days go by you notice that the discomfort in your jaw, mouth, and head have not gone away and now your back teeth are really sensitive. 

You go to your dentist and he or she asks you if you're grinding your teeth. And you look at them in confusion and say, "I don't know. How can I tell?" 

Sound familiar? 

What you may have is bruxism or a habitual grinding of the teeth, usually done at night while you're sleeping, and is usually caused by stress. The jaw pain associated is called Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ).

All the stress and tension of your day that you've been suppressing is expressing itself when you are sleeping and your mouth, jaw, and head are the victims! 

So, what can your dentist do for you?

Stress is not always an easy thing to relieve so a dentist will design for you a Night Guard to cushion the teeth when you're grinding. This prevents the wearing away of tooth enamel and lessens the pressure on your mouth and jaw. 

If you are experiencing headaches, jaw pain, tooth sensitivity or pain that might be associated with bruxism, call us to schedule an evaluation!


For this and other dental issues please take a look at our website:

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


The Do's & Don't's 
for tooth enamel protection

The truth about tooth enamel...

Enamel is the outer most protective layer of your teeth and the strongest mineral in your body. Certain things can damage tooth enamel despite its strength and once enamel is lost it's gone for good. Basting the teeth in acids leaves the enamel soft and vulnerable. 

DON'T: Excessive consumption of acidic foods & beverages.

The acid in some fruits and vegetables along with certain drinks contributes to the erosion of tooth enamel. So try to limit them from your diet, if you can, or neutralize the acid in your mouth by drinking or rinsing with water immediately after their consumption. 

DO: Sugar-free gum. 

Chewing a piece of sugar-free gum after consuming anything acidic will promote saliva to flow and coat your mouth and teeth. Saliva has natural chemicals and enzymes which neutralize acidic conditions in your mouth. 

DON'T: Brushing after eating or drinking anything acidic.

If you brush immediately after eating or drinking acidic foods and beverages you run the risk of scrubbing away your softened enamel forever

Instead rinse with water and wait about an hour before brushing which, as we stated above, will neutralize the acid and also allow your enamel to re-mineralize. 

DO: Use a straw. 

When possible drink with a straw to minimize the exposure of your teeth to the acid in your drink. 

DON'T: Ignoring certain medical conditions

Bulimia, gastroesophageal reflux, and other similar medical conditions which involve acid from the stomach to come in contact with your teeth will cause serious and irreversible damage to your teeth. 

DO: See your dentist!

Even if you think you are not suffering from tooth enamel erosion, your dentist may find areas of damage. See your dentist at least 2 times a year for regular dental cleanings and oral examinations. 

If you would like an appointment for a dental exam and cleaning give us a call! 


For information on other dental issues check out our website: 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

August 26th is Woman's Equality Day

Women throughout history have made great strides to become great in whatever they pursue. 

For as long as dentistry has been practiced women didn't really start making waves until the mid-19th century. 

So today we will celebrate some of the ground-breaking women who pioneered the way for today's female dentists, hygienists, and dental assistants. 

Lucy B. Hobbs-Taylor (1833-1910) 

First woman to graduate from a recognized dental college in 1866.

Irene Newman (1875-1958) 

First dental hygienist in 1906. Having dental hygienists allowed the dentist to concentrate on more involved procedures. 

Malvina Cueria (1893-1991)

First female dental assistant in 1885. This made it acceptable for women to come to the dentist without a chaperon.   

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Xerostomia (zeer-oe-STOE-mee-uh)

How many of you are or know someone suffering from the following symptoms:

  • Frequent thirst
  • Difficulty eating and/or swallowing (especially dry foods)
  • Change in taste
  • Painful or burning tongue
You could be suffering from a common but serious condition called Xerostomia (a.k.a., dry mouth). 

Xerostomia is dryness of the mouth caused by reduction of saliva. In our previous blog post it was mentioned in detail how important saliva is not only for digestion but for the health of your teeth. Therefore, if your body is producing little or no saliva it can have very stressful consequences on your teeth and body. 

So, what causes Xerostomia? 

  • Certain medications
    • diuretics
    • antihistamines
    • anti-psychotics
    • anti-hypertensives 
    • analgesics 
  • Chemotherapy/radiation therapies
  • Aging (the elderly are the most prone to Xerostomia)
  • High alcohol consumption
  • Diabetes
  • Only breathing out of the mouth
  • Oral inhalers 
If you think you or a loved one have Xerostomia make an appointment to see a dentist. 

If you would like to make an appointment for an evaluation with our office please give us a call.


Please take a look at our website for other common dental problems and issues! 

Source: Bird DL, Robinson DS. Modern Dental Assisting. 9th ed. St. Louis, MI: Saunders and Elsevier; 2009

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Saliva: your mouth's best friend.

How much do you think you know about saliva? 

We all know it plays a role in digestion. The breakdown of food begins with enzymes in your saliva. 


Saliva is also a type of defense for your teeth. Did you know that saliva provides physical, chemical, & anti-bacterial  protection from tooth decay? 

The Defenses

  • The Cleansing Effect: this is the physical defense against plaque and food particles. Salivary fluid dilutes and removes acidic components from dental plaque.
  • Remineralization: saliva contains certain chemicals (e.g., calcium, phosphates & fluoride) which re-build minor damages to tooth surfaces.
  • The Antibodies: immunoglobins found in saliva fight against cariogenic (cavity forming) bacteria in your mouth. But remember... once bacterial levels increase drastically in number the immunoglobins in your saliva are no longer strong enough to fight them alone.

Source:Bird DL, Robinson DS. Modern Dental Assisting. 9th ed. St. Louis, MI: Saunders and Elsevier; 2009

Monday, August 13, 2012


Drinking tea can help strengthen your teeth! 

It's common knowledge that tea (green tea, white tea, black tea, oolong, etc.)  is good for you. Studies are beginning to show that tea consumption may be linked to decreasing the risk of heart attacks, preventing cancers, and other serious diseases. 

What is not so common knowledge is that certain teas have tooth strengthening qualities. Research has found that there are significant levels of fluoride in tea leaves.  

Fluoride is a mineral used in dental products to make teeth stronger and more resistant to cavities. Fluoride is naturally found in the atmosphere, this includes water supplies. 

Tea plants absorb fluoride from the surrounding environment. The older the tea leaves the more fluoride is present. 

So drink up! But remember, as with anything we ingest, tea and fluoride should be consumed in moderation! Excess tea drinking can cause stains on teeth and excess fluoride can produce white patches on teeth or fluorosis

If you do experience stains on your teeth from drinking tea, get your teeth cleaned by a dental professional.

Further whitening can be done through bleaching. We offer these two whitening options: 

  • Opalescence TrĂ©s White Supreme, prefilled and disposable whitening trays.
  • Opalescence PF Take-Home System, a customized bleaching tray which provides a snug fit on your teeth.

$2500 off any bleaching product!
EXP: 12/31/2012

Call us today to make a free smile consultation appointment!

Please visit our website for more information on fluoride and cavity prevention!

Sources:,,20534999_2,00.html {photo source}

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Dental Implant vs. Dental Bridge

Missing teeth are never a good look. Socially, having gaps in your smile over the age of 11 is not cute anymore. Clinically, missing teeth can cause more dental problems than expected. 

So you have a missing tooth you want to replace; what should you do?

First, see your dentist. He or she will probably treatment plan you for either an implant or a bridge. 

What's the difference? 

Implants are endosteal anchors embedded in the bone acting as root tips.

Bridges are a prosthesis composed of three components: 2 abutment teeth and one or more pontic (artificial, fake) teeth.

Implants are the preferred method of tooth replacement. Why? Simple, implants allow for isolated replacement whereas with a bridge the two teeth on either side of the gap must be shaved down to serve as abutments. 

If you have any missing teeth you would like to replace, please call the office to make an appointment! 


For more information on this and other dental services please take a look at our website! 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Dental Caries 101

Dental Caries (i.e., tooth decay, cavities)

Almost everyone knows what causes tooth decay, right? Or at least they think they do. The biggest and most common known cause of cavities is high sugar intake. So basically someone who eats candy all the time is going to have lots of cavities. 

While that is partially true, there are other factors that must be present in order for dental caries to occur...

  1. A susceptible tooth (e.g., that tooth way in the back of your mouth that you can't reach so you leave it alone.) 
  2. A diet high in fermentable carbohydrates (sugars). (FYI candy is not the only source of sugar that causes caries.)
  3. Certain bacteria (Yes, there are bacteria in your mouth.)
Once you have a tooth that is neglected from proper oral cleanings, the combination of sugars (sugars found in fruits count too!) and cooked starches (potatoes, rice, and pasta) and the two types of bacteria Streptococci mutans (MS) and Lactobacilli, you are at serious risk of TOOTH DECAY! 

If you feel that you are at risk of having one or multiple cavities please call the office for an evaluation!


Visit our website for more information on this and other dental issues and services!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

POP QUIZ: Periodontal (Gum) Disease


1. Bleeding gums are not a sign of periodontal disease.

FALSE! Bleeding gums when you brush or floss is a sign of inflammation and is an indicator of periodontal disease.

2. Periodontal disease can only be prevented by proper at-home oral care and seeing a dentist every six months for dental cleanings and oral exams.

TRUE! Remember: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! 

3. If I bleed when I floss I should stop because the floss is cutting my gums.

FALSE! Your gums are bleeding because they are inflamed and/or infected. The inflammation is your body's immune response to the plaque and bacteria that are multiplying under your gum line. 

4. Periodontal disease is a chronic infection that can lead to permanent bone and tooth loss.

TRUE! Once periodontal disease has passed a certain stage, destruction of bone in the jaw and eventual tooth loss are inevitable without proper professional care.

5. Individuals who smoke are less likely to get periodontal disease.

FALSE! Smokers are more at risk for periodontal disease. Also people who smoke may not even realize they have periodontal disease because they do not experience the same basic symptoms. Frequent tobacco use constricts the blood vessels in the mouth; therefore, bleeding gums are not always prevalent and periodontal disease may go undetected unless you see a dentist!

How did you score? For more information on periodontal disease please see our website:

If you are experiencing any red, swollen, tender and/or bleeding gums call us today for a periodontal evaluation!

New Patient Special
Periodontal Exam & Full-Mouth X-Rays
Exp: 12.31.2012