Conditions and Diagnosis
Many people grind their teeth (bruxism). Some may do this consciously during the day, but it is a larger problem at night while you are asleep. Grinding your teeth can damage enamel, wear down teeth, cause jaw pain, or irritate your gums. The noise from teeth grinding can also disturb your spouse’s sleep if loud enough.
If you suspect you might be grinding your teeth at night set up an appointment at Century Dental for an examination. You may need a night guard to protect your teeth and give you relief from a sore jaw that sometimes accompanies teeth grinding. The night guard, which is very similar to a mouth guard worn by athletes, provides a barrier between your top and bottom teeth while you sleep. All night guards are custom fitted for comfort and to allow for proper breathing. Century Dental will take an impression of your teeth and have the night guard created by a dental lab. Night guards are very durable and can be used for up to 10 years.
Things you can do to help:
- Train your jaw to be free and easy rather than clenched.
- Refrain from chewing gum or on other objects such as pens and pencils.
- Avoid alcoholic drinks and drinks with caffeine.
If you have any of the symptoms listed below, you may have TMD (temporamandibular disorder):
- Pain when opening or closing your mouth
- Trouble chewing
- Jaw becomes stuck open or shut
- Headaches or ear pain
- Clicking or popping sounds when opening your mouth
- Teeth grinding
Many of these symptoms can often be associated with other health problems, so only a medical professional can tell you if it is due to TMD. This condition can be caused by stress, continual clenching of the jaw muscles, or teeth grinding. It is a condition of the joint of the lower jaw, known as the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). It connects your lower jaw to your skull. This joint controls many jaw functions, like chewing. If the chewing muscles or the joint itself are causing you pain you may have temporamandibular disorder, or TMD.
Low breathing or pauses in breathing when you sleep characterize Sleep Apnea. These pauses can last a few second to minutes and can occurring many times in an hour. Some forms of sleep apnea can be alleviated through oral surgery. If you are experiencing sleep apnea make an appointment with Century Dental for a complete diagnosis.
Gum (periodontal) disease is an infection of the gums that starts out as plaque, an opaque film on the teeth that hardens to form tartar. As tartar accumulates, it traps bacteria that attack the soft tissue around the gums, a condition known as gingivitis. Left untreated, gingivitis becomes periodontitis which ultimately destroys the tissue surrounding your teeth AND the bone that holds your teeth in place.
There are very few early warning signals:
- Bad breath
- Gums that bleed
The disease advances silently, many times without pain, and suddenly you begin losing your teeth and you don’t know why. It is important to understand that science has found a link between gum disease and stroke, heart disease, diabetes – even an increased risk for pregnant women. When your gums become diseased, your entire immune system is weakened.
If you haven’t had a dental checkup in a long time and you suspect something is wrong, call Century Dental for a professional evaluation. There are many modern treatments for your gums that will help restore your oral health.
Oral cancer screenings are a very important part of your dental check up. With the advances in modern technology, we are now able to pinpoint the start of a potential problem much earlier in its life cycle. The screening procedure is often done with an ultraviolet light or similar device that allows us to see changes that can’t always be detected by the human eye under normal conditions.
As with other types of cancer, it’s crucial to treat any issues prior to them becoming a major irreversible problem. Let us help give you peace of mind.
Attention smokers and heavy alcohol users: Certain lifestyle choices can have a great impact on the health of tissues and your overall health in the mouth. Make sure to get regular oral cancer screenings when you visit the dentist.