Many of us have bad habits that may seem harmless. One of those habits is chewing on ice cubes. You may believe this habit is relatively harmless since ice is just water. However, the impact of chewing that ice can be devastating to your dental health. Below are a few of the top reasons why.
Reasons Why Chewing Ice Cubes Harms Your Dental Health
-Increased Pressure On Your Teeth. Our teeth are made up of an outer layer called enamel. This layer is extremely hard and not very flexible. Chewing on an ice cube can wear down the enamel over time or chip and fracture your teeth.
-Chewing Ice Causes A Constant Hot and Cold Change. These sudden and extreme changes in temperature can cause micro cracks in your enamel. Also, your tooth’s enamel expands at a different rate than fillings. If you have a composite (white) filling, it will expand and contract much faster than the tooth when exposed to hot and cold temperatures. This could possibly lead to a breakdown of the seal between the tooth and the dental restoration and may shorten the life of the restoration possibly leading to tooth decay, root canal therapy, or even tooth loss.
-Beware Of Chewing Ice With Orthodontic Braces. Chewing ice cubes might break off an orthodontic bracket or move a wire. This can set back your orthodontic treatment until the issue is resolved by your orthodontist. It can also lead to oral trauma.
-Oral Tissue Trauma. Ice chunks are hard and some can be pretty sharp.
Why Does An Ice Chewing Habit Develop?
Any habit can be caused by a variety of reasons. For ice chewing, it could be a sign of stress or a more serious medical condition. Research has shown chewing ice ( also called pagophagia) is often associated with iron deficiency anemia, although the exact reason is unclear. At least one study indicates that ice chewing might increase alertness in people with iron deficiency anemia.
Odds are you are just chewing on ice cubes because you are bored and still sitting at the table after you have finished your food. There are also some people who just like chewing ice.
Healthier Options To Beat Ice Chewing Habit
Once you find out why you are chewing ice cubes or chips, you can try to do something to treat the cause of your ice chewing habit. For example, if stress or social anxiety causes you to chew ice, learn some new techniques to handle these stressful feelings differently.
If you just like chewing ice because of the crunchy noise or the satisfying feeling of chewing through something hard, you can try eating something crunchy, like carrots or apples.
A better option instead of chewing ice cubes is to simply suck on them instead. This can still cause extreme temperature changes in your mouth which could shorten the life of your dental restorations, it is much better to suck on ice than it is to chew on it. If you develop any abnormal sensitivity and are an ice chewer consult your dentist to ensure there is no permanent damage to your teeth.
For many choosing a dentist can be one of the most difficult things to do in life. It is also one of the most important decisions you can make for your health. Below are a few of the things to consider when choosing a new dentist for you and your family.
Choosing The Best Dentist For You
-Clinical Experience. It is important to consider a dentist’s professional background before making an appointment. Knowing what school a dentist went to, what their area of expertise is and what other credentials they might have can help you decide if a certain dentist is right for you. Usually, this information is quite easy to find and located on a dentist’s website. The American Dental Association (ADA) only recognized 9 areas of dentistry that a dentist can specialize in. These are as follows: Endodontics (Root Canal Therapy), Periodontics (treatment of periodontal disease), Pediatric (dentistry for children), Prosthodontics (Advanced Crown/Bridge and Dentures), Oral and Maxillofacial pathologym Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon, and Dental Public Health. A general dentist will have knowledge of all of these areas but may choose to take advanced classes in any of these areas to improve care.
-Patient Reviews. With the widespread use of the internet this can be easily found. Many dentists have profiles on a wide range of sites where patients can leave feedback for the dentist but also for prospective new patients. It is important to note the extremes of reviews. If a dentist only has a handful of reviews it is not a very good sample. But once the reviews build up it is easier to get a good overall picture of other patients experiences and what you can expect from your experience.
-Services Offered. It is important to note the dental services offered by the prospective dentist. If you know the type of dental work you need or want, then you need to find a dentist with the experience and knowledge to fit your needs. Some general dentists do not do certain procedures (like teeth extractions or root canal therapy) while others have the skills to cover more services in office. It is important to note a referral to a specialist is not a bad thing. Even the most experienced and skilled dentist will refer patients usually for the patients comfort and to place them in the best hands available for the dental issue.
-Gentle, Comfortable Dental Care. For many patients, dental fear is a real part of their lives. Finding the right dentist can make the difference between seeking care and avoiding it. Not all dentists are trained nor have the ability to handle patients with real dental fear.
As stated earlier finding the right dentist can be difficult but with the steps outlined above it might make it a little easier. Always ask friends and family members for recommendations, it is a good place to start researching a new dentist.
Anatomy Of Our Teeth Post
Tooth issues can occur no matter what age you are. From the littlest child to the oldest adult, having good education when tooth issues arise is paramount. Have you ever wondered what parts make up your teeth? Why they are so strong?
Anatomy Of A Tooth
The anatomy of a tooth is actually quite simple. A tooth is made up of various layers that work together to give us our beautiful smiles. Every tooth is made up of multiple parts. These parts are as follows:
-Crown. This is the part of the tooth that you see when smiling. The crown is covered in a white colored material called enamel. Enamel is the hardest substance found in the human body. Even though enamel is very strong, it can easily be broken down by the acids produced by oral bacteria and the acids found is many popular drinks like soda.
-Dentin. Dentin is the layer right beneath the enamel. Although not as hard as enamel, it’s hardness rating is comparable to that of bone. Another great quality of dentin is it’s flexibility. For example, if you bite down on a very hard food, the dentin is able to flex a little bit and can keep your tooth from cracking like it might if teeth were just made of enamel.
-Pulp. This is the inner most layer of the tooth. The pulp provides bloodflow and nutrition to the tooth. The pulp also allows for the nerves to enter the tooth. Without proper bloodflow and innervation of the nerves a tooth will die. The pulp of a tooth is removed during root canal therapy. This procedure allows your dentist to save the tooth for form and function. Once the pulp is removed from a tooth it becomes more brittle with an increased risk of breaking. This is why dentists often recommend placing a dental crown over a tooth that has received root canal therapy.
-Root. This part of the tooth is hidden under the gum tissues. This can be visible when the gums recede as can happen during periodontal disease. The root is what anchors the tooth inside the bone allowing for support during chewing of food. One other portion of the root is called cementum. The cementum is a thin layer that anchors the tooth to the bone thru the periodontal ligament.
-Periodontal Ligament (PDL). The main function of the periodontal ligament is to attach the teeth to the bone. The peridontal ligament also sends sensory information to the brain. For example, if you are eating some popcorn and bite down hard on a popcorn kernel, your jaw suddenly opens to alleviate the pressure. The periodontal ligament sends that pressure signal to your brain, causing that reflex. The tooth doesn’t feel the pressure since the tooth is only capable of sending pain messages to your brain.
-Gingiva (GumTissue). The gums form a collar or sheath around the teeth that protects the underlying bone. When you stop brushing your teeth for an extended period of time, the gingiva become red and puffy as the body begins the inflammatory process. This is the body’s way of defending against the plaque that has built up. If you completely stop brushing, the gingiva will eventually start to lose the war against plaque and recede from around the teeth resulting in periodontal disease that can eventually loosen your teeth.
-Bone. The bone holds the whole tooth in its place. The bone is constantly remodeling itself. This is in response to various forces it experiences in the mouth. For example, if you have braces on, there are forces pushing on the teeth. The bone remodels itself to help the tooth move to the position in which it is being pushed.
Different Types Of Teeth
Every tooth in the mouth has a specific function. The teeth in your mouth are as follows:
-Incisors. These are the sharp, chisel-shaped front teeth (four upper, four lower). They are used for cutting foods.
-Canines. These are sometimes called cuspids, these teeth are shaped like points and are used for tearing foods.
-Premolars. These teeth have two pointed cusps on their biting surface and are sometimes also called bicuspids. The premolars are used for crushing and tearing.
-Molars. These teeth are used for grinding, these teeth have several cusps on the biting surface.
An educated patient is an informed patient who can make smart decisions regarding their dental and health care. Our teeth are quite strong but they are under constant bombardment from outside forces at all times. If you are experiencing any tooth issues see your dentist immediately to put your mind and dental health at ease.
Many of us have dental fillings in place for many years and the question becomes when should they be replaced? Dental fillings are man made materials used to replace tooth structure that has been damaged by tooth decay. The dental filling will allow your dentist to restore both function and shape of your tooth back to its natural form.
Types Of Dental Fillings
-Amalgam (Silver). Use of amalgam has seen some controversy over the years due to its mercury content. Amalgam is made up of a mixture of various metals. Use of amalgam has some drawbacks (beyond its mercury content) which include:
1. No Bonding Properties. Amalgam cannot be bonded to existing tooth structure. This means that a tooth must be over prepared removing more natural tooth structure than necessary to ensure the amalgam filling will hold in place.
2. Not A Cosmetic Restoration. Amalgam is a darker color and cannot be matched to your existing teeth.
3. Increased Risk Of Tooth Fracture. Another disadvantage to using a metal allow is that it can expand and contract over time based on your oral environment. If the metal allow expands too much it can cause your tooth to weaken and fracture over time.
-Composite Resin. This has become the preferred dental restoration for most dentists and patients. The advantages of composite resin include:
1. Cosmetic Restoration. Dental composite is a tooth colored material that can be matched to your existing teeth. If done properly a dental composite can match perfectly to your natural teeth.
2. Excellent Bonding Properties. Unlike dental amalgam restorations, a composite resin filling can be directly bonded to your natural tooth structure. This creates a stronger attachment to the teeth.
3. Conservative Restoration. Since a composite resin can be bonded directly to the tooth much less natural tooth structure needs to be removed. There is no need to take away any more tooth structure than is absolutely necessary to restore the tooth back to its natural form and function.
The main disadvantage to the use of composite resin is the presence of Bisphenol-A (BPA) in some dental composites. If this is a concern to you, ask your dentist if they are using BPA free dental composite.
Signs A Dental Filling Needs To Be Replaced
-Temperature Sensitivity. This can be quite uncomfortable but it is important to see your dentist when it arises. If the pain goes away after exposure to hot or cold after a few seconds, it is usually repairable but if the pain lingers for a longer time after removal of exposure, it may indicate damage to the nerve that cannot be repaired with a simple dental filling.
-Pain Upon Biting. This can indicate a fracture beginning in your tooth from an existing dental restoration.
-Throbbing, Constant Pain. If the tooth decay reaches the nerve of the tooth it will create a toothache pain. Root canal therapy may be required at this point.
-Fractured Dental Filling. If you notice a piece of your dental filling has broken off you need to see your dentist immediately to have it repaired or replaced.
Being aware of your signs and symptoms is key to knowing when to see your dentist. Regular dental examinations and dental x-rays are needed to fully evaluate your existing dental fillings and give your dentist all the information needed as to when your dental fillings need replacement. It is best to diagnose replacement as soon as possible to avoid more extensive dental work.