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Stress is the body’s internal and external reaction to a change that requires a physical, mental or emotional response. Stress can come from any situation or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, nervous, or anxious.

Too much stress is known to be bad for us but did you know that stress can also cause issues to your dental health?

Dental Issues That Can Be Caused By Stress

Poor Dental Hygiene

When a person is under stress they tend to lose focus on basic habits and this includes being diligent with maintaining their dental hygiene. If you do not take care of your dental hygiene, your dental health as well as your general health will begin to suffer. This is especially true if you already suffer from periodontal disease as skipping any part of your dental hygiene program can worsen the periodontal disease. Another issue with being under stress is your nutrition changes. Most people dealing with stress tend to develop very unhealthy eating habits. This can include snacking on larger than normal amounts of sugary foods and drinks. These changes will increase your risk for tooth decay.

A good way to combat stress in your life is to maintain a routine of regularly exercising. Exercising regularly can help you relieve some of that stress and give you an extra energy boost. Exercise will also boost your immune system which is always a plus.

Teeth Grinding (also called Bruxism)

One of the main reasons why people grind their teeth is due to stress. Bruxism can occur day or night but it is usually a subconscious act. Stress is not the only cause of bruxism but it does make it worse. Some of the dental issues associated with bruxism include:

-Headaches

-Ear Pain

-Worn Down Teeth.

-Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Issues

-Sensitive Teeth

-Chipped or cracked teeth

-Receding gums or teeth with notches in them at the gum line

Your dentist may recommend a night guard to wear while you sleep to minimize the damage caused to your teeth. Usually, if stress is the cause the bruxism will stop when the stressor is removed.

Mouth Sores

Mouth sores come in many forms. These can include:

-Canker sores. These are small ulcers with a white or grayish base and bordered in red.  There has been vigorous debate regarding what causes canker sores. Some believe it is an immune system issue, bacteria, or even a virus. Consensus is that stress can increase the risk of them showing up. Canker sores are not known to be contagious.

Canker sores generally last about 7-10 days. Spicy foods as well as highly acidic foods should be avoided as they tend to irritate the sores. One of the best forms of relief comes from a dentist prescribed medicine called Debacterol. This medicine is applied directly to the sore and can reduce symptoms as well as the length that the sores are present.

-Cold sores (or fever blisters). These sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus and are highly contagious. Cold sores are blisters that are filled with fluid that often appear on or around the lips. They can also appear under the nose or around the chin area. Emotional stress can trigger an outbreak. Other triggers include fever, a sunburn, or skin abrasion.

Cold sores often heal on their own in about a week’s time. Treatment is available, including over-the-counter remedies and prescription antiviral drugs. Ask your doctor or dentist if either could help you. It is important to start treatment as soon as you feel or notice the cold sore forming. The sooner you start treatment the effects of the cold sore will be reduced.

Periodontal Disease

Stress can lead to depression. And studies have shown that patients who are depressed have twice the risk of a poor outcome from periodontal disease treatment compared to those who are not in a depressed state. You can not make depression or the stress disappear, of course. But most experts agrees that learning healthy coping strategies can help reduce the risk of periodontal issues getting worse.  Also, people who are depressed tend to have poor overall hygiene and that includes dental hygiene.

Conclusion

Keep in mind we all have stress during the course of our day. Developing proper techniques for dealing with that stress can make a world of difference in the maintanence of our dental health as well as our overall health. As always, see your dentist regularly for dental examinations along with professional cleanings to ensure you keep your smile as healthy as can be!

Remember, eating a balanced diet, seeing your dentist regularly, and good oral hygiene help reduce your risks of periodontal disease. Make sure you brush twice a day and floss daily.

A beautiful smile is important to many. For many adults with misaligned teeth there are easy excuses to avoid orthodontic treatment. Typical response for many is….”I am too old” or “Orthodontics take too long”. With recent advances, cosmetic orthodontics can become a reality for many who put it off. Below you will find some common questions about cosmetic orthodontics.

Common Questions About Orthodontics

“I am just too old for braces. Braces are for children.”

An important note to remembet is that you are never too old to feel better about yourself. Improving your smile with orhtodontics will make you feel better about your appearance. There is no age limit for adults with a healthy periodontal condition to undergo orthodontic treatment. Cosmetic orthodontics lets you have the perfect smile you have always wanted without putting your life on hold. FACT: One out of every five orthodontic patients is an adult.

“I have previously had braces. Will they just move again?”

The key to aftercare is retention. A fixed retainer is necessary to be worn for a period following treatment to allow the bone to remodel properly. A good way to think of this is that retention is a protection of your investment.

“Orthdontics take too much time to complete.”

For many adults, cosmetic orthodontics can be completed in as few as six months. Depending upon the appliances used and the amount of movement required, treatment can be quite short in length. Six months can totally transform your smile.

“Orthodontic treatment can be painful.”

There should be no pain during orthodontics but there will be some amount of discomfort as your teeth move and you adjust to the brackets and retainers. Most of the discomfort is only for a few days at a time after an appointment. If the brackets or wires pinch or feel uncomfortable a small application of wax will alleviate the issue. A good tip is to take tylenol or alleve right before your appointment to ensure that discomfort is limited.

“Cosmetic orthodontics makes it more difficult to maintain your dental hygiene. Will this cause tooth decay?”

Good oral hygiene will take a bit more attention than it did before the orthodontic appliances were in place, but is very manageable with the right information and tools. Waterpiks, electric toothbrushes, fluoride rinses, and threader floss can make it much easier to keep everything clean and cavity-free.

“Orthodontics is too expensive.”

It is actually a cheaper alternative than a complete smile makeover. It is also much more conservative treatment as no tooth reduction is necessary. Also, for many smiles orthdontics are the only option to get the smile you want. Cost can be overcome using payment plans like CareCredit. This type of credit is offered by most dentists and can make any and all treatment easier to attain.

Cosmetic Orthodontics Conclusion

Using orthodontics can make a huge difference in a smile. For many it will actually be an easier way to achieve the smile of your dreams. Talk to your dentist about orthodontic options and see if they are right for you.

Oftentimes a smile that shows too much gum tissue makes teeth appear too small for your mouth. Most of us have substantial tooth structure, we just don’t see enough of it to have the full effect of the whole tooth. This exposure of tooth structure through tissue and or gum removal  is called crown lengthening. A well trained cosmetic dentist can use crown lengthening (also called a gum lift) to beautify your smile by allowing you visibility of more natural tooth structure. There are other uses for crown lengthening as well.

What Is Crown Lengthening?

Crown lengthening has multiple uses but has gained popularity as a cosmetic procedure. Crown lengthening can be used to remove bone and/or gum tissue from surrounding teeth. From a cosmetic standpoint, the reshaping of uneven gum tissue can make teeth appear more even without the need for braces or veneers. If tooth decay or  fractures fall under the gum line, it is necessary to remove bone to allow for better access and support for a dental restoration such as a crown.

What Does The Crown Lengthening Procedure Involve?

Crown lengthening is actually a very simple procedure that gives dramatic results. The procedure is performed under local anesthesia. Following numbing of the area, the dentist will begin to remove the excess gum tissue. For most procedures only gum tissue will need to be removed and generally healing does not involve stitches. In others a small amount of bone will also need to be removed. Following completion, the gum tissue is stitched back together to allow for a speedy healing process.

Crown Lengthening Advantages

-One Time Procedure. A major advantage to crown lengthening is that it only needs to be completed once. No follow up is needed.

-Increased Dental Hygiene Access. With more tooth exposed dental hygiene can be completed even easier. With more tooth exposed it will be easier to keep your teeth clean.

-Speed. The entire procedure takes about 30-60 minutes with dramatic results following initial healing over the next 7-10 days.

Crown Lengthening Disadvantages

-Surgical Considerations. As with any surgery, the risks include pain, swelling, excessive bleeding, and possible infection. If you are in good health, do not require medication, and have good oral hygiene, risks are generally minimal.

-Recovery. Initial healing is fast, you should see your tissue looking better in a few days.  Normal recovery should take 2-8 weeks. Tissue healing takes a few weeks while bone healing takes almost 2 months.

-Price. Cost is always a factor but dental insurance often picks up part of the price if there is periodontal pocketing or inadequate tooth structure to prepare for a crown. Photos, xrays, and periodontal charting are usually required for preauthorization.

Crown Lengthening Recovery

When your crown lengthening procedure is completed, you may be given a prescription for a pain reliever. You may also be advised to use ice to reduce any swelling. There may be dietary restrictions. You can expect to return to the dental office in 7-10 days to evaluate healing and to remove the stitches if they were placed.

When healing is complete, you may move onto other cosmetic or restorative dentistry procedures. These may include crowns, bridges, or porcelain veneers. It is important for full healing to take place before proceeding to other treatment. A healthy foundation makes for a stable platform for dental restorations.

Crown Lengthening Conclusion

Sometimes, a relatively simple procedure can save you from much more extensive treatment or loss of an otherwise unrestorable tooth. It is important to see a well qualified cosmetic dentist or periodontist to have your smile evaluated to see if the treatment is right for you.

Myths and old wives tales are rampant through many families. In the age of the internet, these can be magnified even more so. Below you will find some of the most popular dental myths and the real truth about each one.

Top Dental Myths

-Losing Baby Teeth From Tooth Decay Is OK - Primary teeth erupt and fall out of the mouth on a timely schedule. Any change in that schedule creates issues. The major issue is the loss of space for the permanent teeth. Loss of teeth from tooth decay not only creates pain and discomfort for your children but will also have long term effects that could lead to orthodontic treatment.

-Osteoporosis Only Affects The Bones Of The Body - It is often forgotten that our teeth are held in by the jaw which is one of our bones. Osteoporosis can affect all the bones of the body including the jawbones. When it affects the bones surrounding our teeth it will lead to tooth loss.

-My Teeth Are Weak Just Like My Parents - Many people believe their teeth may be inherently weak because they have more tooth decay than others. This is simply not true. Unless you have a developmental defect affecting your enamel or other layer so of the teeth all are teeth are strong. It takes work to keep them cavity free. This includes brushing, flossing, and rinsing with an antibacterial rinse on a daily basis.

-My Teeth Do Not Hurt So I Do Not Need To Visit The Dentist - Regular dental visits are important to maintain your dental health as well as your overall health. A good example is regular dental visits allow you to be screened for oral cancer. Early diagnosis of oral cancer is important for long term survival. In short, a regular dental examination is for more than just checking for tooth decay.

-Are My Wisdom Teeth Causing Crowding? - Your wisdom teeth erupt into the mouth between ages 17-22. Wisdom teeth generally have no effect on the crowding of other teeth. Our mouths are constantly changing. If your teeth are crowding, orthodontic therapy is the only choice.

-My Tooth Decay Must Be Genetic - Tooth decay is certainly not genetic. Tooth decay is due to the bacteria in our mouths and that can be passed down to us from our parents. This usually occurs when kissing or sharing a spoon as a baby. Tooth decay is not genetic but the bacteria in our mouths can be passed down from parents.

-Toothpick Use Can Create Spaces In Between Teeth - Toothpicks merely serve as a way to keep our teeth clean after meals. They give us the ability to remove food debris from in between our teeth. While they do not do as good a job as flossing or even brushing they do help when you are unable to brush and floss right away. They do not create spaces between teeth.

Dental Myths Conclusion

While many myths have some truth to them, the ones above are nothing more than falsehoods. It is important to get the facts straight when maintaining dental hygiene. Research has shown that maintaining a healthy oral cavity will help maintain our overall health as well.