5 Signs That You Need to Visit Your Dentist

There is an unfortunate tendency among many people to delay seeking treatment for dental issues. Barring an emergency or severe discomfort, many will overlook signs that should, in fact, be sending them to the dentist. Whether it be fear of the dentist or the simple hope that the issue will clear up on its own, they wait and risk having the situation grow worse.

While there are times that certain issues will resolve themselves, here are 5 signs that you need to visit your dentist.

Bleeding Gums

Under normal conditions, your gums are not supposed to bleed. If they do, it could be a sign of inflammation, which if untreated, could lead to periodontal problems such as gum recession, abscesses, and bone loss. An easy way to help monitor whether your gums are bleeding is to use white toothpaste, as the red of your blood will be more visible than when using coloured gels.

Sensitive Teeth

Your teeth may prove sensitive to heat, cold, or sweets. You may also experience discomfort from cavities or even defective dental fillings. Plaque build-up is another factor that may cause sensitivity. While there are toothpastes available to alleviate the pain of tooth sensitivity, if the pain appeared suddenly or very recently, it could be an indicator of a more serious issue.

Sensitive, Red, or Swollen Gums

Just as your gums should not bleed, they also should not hurt. If you are experiencing discomfort when brushing or eating, this is more serious than simple bleeding and you should consult your dentist. Infection or an acute abscess can be caused by food accumulating in the gum. This becomes more likely when following plaque build-up. Mild forms of gum disease are typically treatable at home with a little extra care given to your oral hygiene, but if it is a more severe case, your dentist and hygienist will need to intervene.

Bad Breath

It’s surprising how many people think of bad breath as normal and simply try to cover it up with mouthwash, mints, and gum. Bad breath, also called halitosis, may be the result of several different conditions including dry mouth, medication, chronic sinus infection, acid reflux, or periodontal (gum) disease. It may also be the sign of uncontrolled diabetes. If your have persistent bad breath, your dentist may be able to determine the cause.

Canker Sores

These are tiny ulcers that can be found on the inside of your lip or cheek, your gums, your tongue, or the roof of your mouth. They may occur as the result of an irritant or accidentally biting your lip or cheek and will usually heal within about a week. In other cases, they may be more severe and slower to heal. For some, it may be a frequently recurring problem. These may be caused by stress, food allergies, or something more serious like immunity issues. Cankers that do not heal after a week, or which seem to be spreading, are a sign to see your dentist.

Don’t assume that the pain you are feeling will go away on its own. Your oral health is important. Any of the above signs are reasons to see your dentist, who can prevent small issues from becoming major problems. If it has been longer than 6 months since you’ve seen or spoken to your doctor, you’re due for another visit.

Grinding Teeth at Night: Do I Really Need a Night Guard?

Night guards for grinding teeth

How Night Guards can Protect you from Grinding your Teeth

Bruxism, the clenching or grinding of the teeth, is a common habit. You may do this without realizing it during the day, but it often happens during the night while you are asleep. This habit can be damaging to teeth, wearing them down over time. Often, a night guard will be prescribed to protect the teeth, but what is a night guard and is it always the best solution? Are there times when a night guard is not called for?

What is a Night Guard?

A night guard is a plastic dental appliance that looks similar to the trays used for teeth whitening. It does not stop you from clenching your teeth at night, but it shields and cushions the teeth, protecting them from damage while helping to re-establish the natural space between upper and lower teeth. Proper night guards are custom-fitted and made to suit your particular situation, unlike those that you might find in your local drugstore which are either stock night guards, or boil-and-bites.

Store-bought night guards are larger, poor-fitting, and may even come out at night during grinding. Custom-made night guards may be less appealing to you due to their higher price, but they are an excellent investment in the long run as they are made to fit your teeth exactly and much more likely than store-bought night guards to prevent you from needing more expensive dental work in the future.

Is a Night Guard Always the Best Option?

Night guards are designed to protect your teeth, and they do that job very well. What they don’t do is address the root cause that causes the grinding or clenching, which can continue even after getting your night guard.

There are any number of reasons for grinding your teeth. One very common cause is stress, but sometimes the root cause is never found. It is always worth investigating however, as nighttime grinding of the teeth may be a symptom of something far more serious and even life-threatening: sleep apnea.

What is Sleep Apnea and How Does it Relate to Grinding the Teeth?

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which breathing stops and starts repeatedly. There are three main types:

Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a common form and it occurs when the throat muscles relax.

Central Sleep Apnea is caused by the brain not sending proper signals to the muscles which regulate breathing.

Complex Sleep Apnea Syndrome occurs when a person suffers from both of the above types.

When you sleep at night and cannot breathe, your body tries to reopen the airways through reflexive actions such as grinding or clenching, which tends to bring the lower jaw forward and/ or moves the jaw from side to side, helping to open the airway. Before obtaining a night guard, you should be screened to determine if you are suffering from sleep apnea. If you are, treating it should be your top priority.

Can a Night Guard be Used With Sleep Apnea?

A variety of factors will determine the treatment for sleep apnea. One popular approach is an oral device worn in the mouth to hold the airway open. Another treatment is a CPAP machine, which involves wearing a mask through which air flows, forcing the airway open. In instances where other treatments fail, jaw surgery may help.

Opening the airway to provide better airflow may stop or greatly reduce the grinding and clenching, removing the need for a mouth guard and some of the sleep apnea oral devices also serve to protect the teeth.

So, Do I Really Need a Night Guard?

The answer will depend on the cause of the grinding. If there is an underlying cause that can be addressed, that may eliminate the need for a mouth guard. Other times, no root cause may be found, in which case wearing a night guard while sleeping will prove beneficial by protecting your teeth, possibly saving you from more expensive treatment down the road.

To learn more about night guards and whether they are right for you, contact us at Pier Dental Centre today, and we will be happy to address your questions and concerns.

Five Tips to Make Your New Dental Crown Last

Cosmetic And Aesthetic Dentistry, Dental Health, Dental News, Dental Procedures  Broken tooth, Crown

Rushmore Dental family dentistry

When you started having a toothache, you knew you had a problem; but you didn’t want to face what it meant. A year later, your tooth is broken, and you’re in a lot of pain: it’s past time to get to the dentist. Even without a set of x-rays, the dentist can tell you have an infection and likely will need a root canal and a dental crown.

It takes a lot of effort for you to get to the dentist and get the broken tooth fixed. There are days off work, some scrimping to pay your treatment costs, not to mention overcoming the anxiety you feel about having the root canal!  Once you get the crown in your mouth, you want to know how to care for it, so you don’t have to go through that ordeal again anytime soon!

Use these five care tips and your crown may last 15 years or more.

Avoid hard food. Chewing on hard candies, carrots, or even your favorite holiday toffee can be damaging to a crown. Limit your exposure to these foods, especially at first. The goal is to keep your crown for as long as possible; but noshing on hard, crunchy foods put extreme pressure on the restoration and can break the bond between it and the tooth.. This includes very tough foods, like overcooked meat and also sticky foods like caramel and taffy. Tough foods, like hard ones, can break cement that holds the crown to the tooth. Sticky foods can use the strength of your mouth to pull the crown (or filling) completely out. If you love the tastes of these foods and can’t avoid them, don’t chew on them. Instead, allow them to melt in your mouth and take very small bites.

Watch out for grinding. You may not realize you grind your teeth when you sleep, but if you wake up with a headache and jaw pain, there’s a good chance it’s caused by grinding/bruxism. Ask Dr. Kelly for a night guard to help you stop clenching your teeth, and to relieve the pressure on your dental crown.

Floss carefully. Whether you use regular dental floss, a floss pick, or a proximal brush, be gentle with it. With floss in particular, make sure you move it down both sides of the space between the teeth, but when removing it, let us know if it catches on anything.

If it gets caught above the crown, don’t pull down on it, simply pull it straight out from between the teeth. Most people tend to be afraid of pulling their crown off with floss, but this rarely happens. It’s better to floss daily to prevent new decay from forming around the margins around your restoration.

Keep your six-month appointments: There’s no easier way to maintain your dental health than to keep your dental checkup and cleaning appointments. Six months is enough time for your dental health to show changes, but not usually enough time for those changes to become severe. A cleaning and exam at this point should be enough to keep your smile healthy and your new crown safe.

Crowns can be a great investment in your compromised tooth. With a little care, they can last 15 years or more! Contact our Rushmore Dental office for an appointment.