Do You Grind Your Teeth at Night? Listen Up!

grinding teeth at night

Grinding your teeth typically occurs at night!

Many of us have a habit of grinding our teeth at night, a condition known as bruxism. By definition, bruxism is known as the involuntary or habitual grinding of teeth. However, here’s the problem: most of us are unaware that we’re doing it in the first place because it’ll happen when we are sound asleep in a sleep cycle known as R.E.M. sleep.

What Causes Teeth Grinding at Night?

There are a few reasons why someone may develop an unknown habit of grinding teeth at night:

  • Having an abnormal bite
  • Having a sleep disorder
  • Having teeth that are crooked or missing

However, sometimes the issue is not grinding teeth at night, but during the day when we are consciously awake. The reason here is usually anxiety. People use grinding their teeth as a nervous tic when they are under stressful circumstances.

How Do I know if I’m Grinding My Teeth at Night?

Those who do suffer from teeth grinding at night typically possess these symptoms:

  • Having a spouse or friend notify you of your sleeping patterns at night if they are awake while the event occurs
  • Dull headaches that have no explanation
  • Sensitive or irritated gums
  • Sore jaw with no reasonable explanation
  • Loose or fractured teeth with no easily identifiable cause

If you possess a couple or more of these symptoms, then there is a good chance you may be grinding your teeth at night. An appointment with an experienced dentist or orthodontist will help you solve the puzzle.

Our orthodontists help treat teeth grinding issues at Cheyenne Dental Group.

The Solution: Night Guards

A common solution is the use of night guards while you sleep. They’re similar to mouth guards you wear when engaging in sports except they are custom made to fit your mouth and prevent movement of friction between teeth, which is what causes problems. They also help stabilize your jaw while you sleep, preventing unwanted soreness.

Night guards could be purchased over-the-counter but they are not custom-fit for the mouth and will not give you the relief you seek. This is why it is recommended to visit an orthodontist or dentist in order to tackle the issue the right way.

In the News: Innovative Technology for Diagnosing Oral Cancer

dental news oral cancer screeningSpanish scientists have recently discovered a new technology to help dentists detect oral cancer quickly and more efficiently.*

Oral cancer is one of the most common cancers ranking in as the sixth-leading cause of cancer.

Currently, we (dentists) rely on observation and biopsy to confirm an oral cancer diagnosis. This traditional process often requires at least a couple weeks of time just to confirm the diagnosis before any treatment may begin.

The new portable device that the Spanish scientists have discovered will be able to diagnose and confirm oral cancer on the same exact day. In terms of time alone, this is a substantial improvement. No longer will patients be required to wait for a confirmation before beginning treatment. Treatment will be able to start the same day for increased chances of successful recovery.

To add, biopsy or removal of a small piece of tissue will no longer be required, allowing the diagnosing process to be as minimally invasive as possible which is an aspect comforting to many patients. This also removes a third part from the situation, reducing costs.

It’s portability will also aid in bringing costs down as one machine will able to be moved from room to room.

A prototype of this portable machine is expected to be revealed later this year (2015) as further research must be conducted in order to finalize everything necessary for presentation at events, conferences, and to specialists around the globe as well as meeting all federal regulations and requirements.

*The full study can be found here.

Have You Been Screened for Oral Cancer?

At Cheyenne Dental Group, we provide oral cancer screenings during our thorough dental cleanings & exams. Oral cancer screening is highly recommended at any age being one of the top cancers worldwide, while also being one of the most curable with early detection.

Why Deep Cleaning is Important and Worthwhile

is deep cleaning worthwhileWe’ve all heard of scaling and root planning, more commonly referred to as a “deep cleaning”. Most of us have probably been recommended this treatment at some point because truth is, it’s hard to keep our teeth in tip-top shape without intervention from our dentist.

A common form of treatment dentists recommend is deep cleaning. Now, you may be wondering what exactly is the difference between a deep and regular cleaning. We’ll explain.

Difference Between Regular and Deep Dental Cleanings

Regular cleanings – a basic removal of bacteria and tartar buildup in the shallow spaces in between our teeth and gums. There is a small level of pain to be expected of this, which is why some people prefer sedation dentistry options. In a regular cleaning you will have your numbers read out loud (how deep your dental pockets are – the higher the worse), mouth examined, cleaned with special instruments, and then polished for a fresh smile.

Deep cleaning – deep cleanings are everything mentioned above except the cleaning takes place further into the shallow space in between teeth and gums known as “pockets”. Pockets are the numbers that hear read out loud such as 4, 3, 4 or 3, 2, 3. Anything beyond a 6 is considered severe and would make you a great candidate for deep cleaning.

Those who are recommended deep cleaning have deep enough pockets that warrant it, as well as more bacteria and tartar buildup that may be difficult to remove. The procedure often involves local anesthetics so that you are pain free throughout. No surgery is required and is considered minimally invasive.

The Importance of Deep Cleaning

It’s important for certain people to undergo this procedure because tartar is a very hard mineralized substance that can only be removed using special instruments by your dentist. Deep cleaning kits or water flossers at home will not work for this and are to be used as supplements to your daily brushing and flossing routine.

Some people are also administered antibiotics under the gum line as a way to control the bacteria in the mouth and prevent it from spreading further.

If the tartar is unable to be addressed – most often because people feel they don’t need deep cleaning, then there is the possibility of the bacteria reaching the roots. When this happen, the tooth is in danger of being decayed and worst-case scenario would have to be extracted.

Medications That May Interfere With Your Oral Health

oral side effects medicationMost of us are aware that medications we take come with side effects. However, most of us are probably unaware that the medications we take may also be interfering with our oral health.

Oral Side Effects of Certain Medications

Saliva Production Decrease

Many medications have the potential to decrease the amount of saliva our body naturally produces in order to fight bacteria. This makes your teeth vulnerable to decay if you do not respond to the matter.

These medications include:

  • Antihistamines used for allergies (i.e. Claritin)
  • Decongestants (i.e. Sudafed)
  • Painkillers (i.e. Advil or ibuprofen)
  • Diuretics (i.e. high blood pressure medication)

Sores and Inflammation Inside the Mouth

If you take one of these types of medications, then you may be prone to experiencing sores or other sources of inflammation in the mouth:

  • High blood pressure pills
  • Immunosuppressive medication
  • Contraceptives

White Spots in the Mouth

If you have asthma and use an inhaler to keep your airways open, then pay attention to fungal infections known as thrush. It causes white spots in the mouth that are painful. It is advised to rinse the mouth out after using your inhaler.

Unusual Bleeding During Procedures

This is not a direct effect, but certain blood thinner medications have the potential to cause heavy bleeding during dental procedures such as root planning, gum surgery, tooth extractions, or other procedures that cause bleeding.

Consistently Updating Your Dentist

Of course it’s important to brush and floss your teeth every day and night, but you should also update your dentist of any new medications you are on every time you see them. This way adjustments and prescriptions may be made without jeopardizing your health.

The Importance of Fluoride for Teeth

importance of fluoride for teethFluoride has been a controversial topic for some – but we want to elaborate on its importance and what previous studies and research have shown to help shed light on the issue.

The World Health Organization (WHO) conducted several studies on fluoride and its effectiveness in preventing cavities and came up with this conclusion: that the addition of fluoridated water helps to decrease tooth decay.

How So?

We’ll break the reason down for you. Two processes occur in your mouth that involves bacteria, sugars, and plaque: demineralization and re-mineralization.

When the bacteria in our mouth work to attack our tooth’s enamel, then demineralization is occurring. When minerals act to strengthen what was broken down – this is called re-mineralization. When the re-mineralization process occurs, any fluoride in your mouth will be used up to further strengthen your tooth’s enamel and increase resistance to acid attacks.

Final Verdict

Fluoride should be seen as a critical factor in helping to promote tooth enamel strengthening. However, fluoride is to be thought of as a prevention tool. It cannot and does not reverse tooth decay that has already been classified as a cavity. Cavities should be filled with a material of your choice (often composite resin as opposed to metal/silver/amalgam) in order to prevent the decay from spreading further.

Children can also benefit from fluoride usage. Pediatric dentists often recommend waiting until about age 2 where a “pea-sized” amount of fluoride toothpaste may be introduced.

Fluoride can be found in water (most of the US have fluoridated tap water), mouth rinses, toothpastes, and certain foods.

Common Issue Explained: Why Do People Fear the Dentist?

One of the most feared doctors in the medical field is the dentist. But why do people fear the dentist? Why do dentists get such a bad wrap?

Perhaps because their workspace, the human mouth, is one of the most intimate and sensitive places on the body.

Learn why people fear the dentist.The mere thought of someone – we don’t care who they are or where they’ve been trained – coming near our mouths with a sharp object, is terrifying… at least at first. Like anything in life, we humans get used to the idea of someone working on our mouths. The brain has a fantastic ability to assimilate. Any anxiety we feel in relation to the dentist will dissipate from the initial exposure to the dental experience.

Now, there are some factors – the reception the dentist gives his or her patients, the connection you feel to your dentist and hygienist, the over all state of mind the patient is in, their past experiences with pain or trauma – any and all of these can trick your mind into thinking that the experience they are about to have will be the same. Some people think pain and fear is just a part of their trip to the dentist, so they just gear themselves up for the worst and hope for the best. If they can walk out of the dentist thinking ‘that wasn’t so bad’, then it’s been a good day.

The instruments dentists use, the look and feel of the dentist’s office, the smell, what music is playing, can all contribute to a fear of the dental experience. In extreme cases, these and other psychological factors can even build up so much anxiety that it results in a phobia, and a refusal to go to the dentist at all.

The dentist could be the nicest person you’ve ever met, but until the fears and blocks one has to the simplicity of dental care -because let’s face it, when we wipe away all the made up fears and anticipation of pain, it is simple – people will continue to be stuck in their prison of negative thoughts.

The Trick to Conquering Your Fears

The trick is to trick yourself into being open to the possibility that the dentist is your friend, and go from there. The more we can change our own minds into positive thinking machines, the more we can change the reputation of dentists from people to be feared, to people we can trust to care for us.

Why are Invisalign® Braces so Popular?

Invisalign braces are a popular choice for both adults and teenagers.

The difference is literally night and day.

The answer is simple: because they work and are invisible (for the most part)! The main benefit of Invisalign braces are the simple fact that they are indeed clear braces; making them harder to be seen by your peers. This happens to be one of the main selling points, too. It’s even implied by the name “Invisalign” – or invisible aligners.

But I’m Too Old For Braces…

Absolutely not! Believe it or not, more and more adults are flocking to their nearest orthodontist because they want to improve their smile. They’re tired of not being completely satisfied with the way they appear to the outside world. Let’s face it: the way we look and perceive ourselves drastically affects our self-esteem.

An adult having braces is becoming a lot more commonplace and with the option for clear, removable braces such as Invisalign – it becomes that much easier to straighten our teeth without enduring a year or two with odd-looking wires and brackets.

Social Media Plays a Role?

Speculation points to social media being a huge factor in driving people to seek ways they could improve their appearance: plastic surgery, cosmetic dentistry, gym memberships, etc. We want to be able to impress our friends, families, peers, and future employers. Being presentable in our society today has never been so important. Is this a bad thing? That’s up for you to decide – but we like to believe seeking to enhance our lives is never a bad thing!

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