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Modern dentistry has evolved from the days of just a simple nightguard for grinders. A well trained dentist can treat a number of issues that were not even considered even 15 years ago. Bite appliances can be utilized in treatment of, the combination of clenching and bruxing, obstructive sleep apnea, TMJ pain, and sports mouthguards. These appliances allow patients to live more comfortable, healthier lives while enjoying the activites they love.

Teeth Clenching and Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)

These are fairly common issues for many Americans. Studies have been unable to pinpoint the exact number of people in the population that grind or clench but it is believed, that most people at some point in their life will experience this habit. This is sometimes considered to be a stress related habit. Most patients with these habits, do so while sleeping, so they are unaware of the forces exerted on their teeth while they sleep. Teeth clenching and grinding can cause a number of dental issues that include:

-Loose Teeth.

-Temperature Sensitivity.

-Tooth Chipping and Fracturing.

-Flattened teeth.

Bite Appliances are used to protect the teeth and also to re-train us to prevent continued grinding and clenching. These bite appliances are made from polymers and acrylics. They are generally custom made for each patient for added comfort and protection. These bite appliances work by not allowing the teeth to touch, making it restrictive to clench or grind. For those with an extreme form of these habits, it is not unusual to grind through the appliance over time necessitating a new appliance to be made.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

This is sometimes known as the “silent killer”. Obstructive sleep apnea can be potentially a very serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep time. Obstructive sleep apnea is believed to affect about 25% of the population. Obstructive sleep apnea is characterized by:

-Excessive daytime sleepiness.

-Both habits of clenching and grinding at night.

-Episodes of breathing cessation during sleep.

-Awakening abruptly accompanied by shortness of breath.

-Dry mouth or sore throat upon waking in the morning.

There are generally two types of bite appliances available for obstructive sleep apnea. These include over the counter ones and custom fabricated ones. The idea behind either of these bite appliances is to maintain an open airway during sleep to stop the disturbances from occurring.  These bite appliances work by repositioning the lower jaw, tongue, and soft palate. The custom fitted appliances tend to work far better than the generic ones.

TMJ Disorder appliances

These bite appliances help to reposition and decompress the jaw. TMJ disorder appliances are generally worn at night, and help to decrease the inflammation and pain associated with TMJ instability.

Athletic Mouthguards

These have really come into fashion in the last decade, as more and more research has gone into sports medicine, better airway maintenance and prevention of concussions. The old days of the generic “boil and bite” mouthguard are slowly fading away. We are now in the age of custom fitted athletic mouthguards that are able to not only give better protection against injury but also increase athletic performance. The thinking is, that how an athlete clenches his/her teeth together changes the way the brain reacts. When using a proper athletic mouthguard, your brain will be better able to handle temperature regulation as well as stress.

Bite Appliances Conclusion

Bite appliance therapy has been around for quite some time but recent advances (in both technology and theory) have made the treatments even more effective than before. A small investment in a good bite appliance can make the world of difference in the health and well being of your teeth for the rest of your life.



Flossing is often overlooked as part our oral hygiene regimen. Although it is often overlooked, it is essential to maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Brushing alone cannot remove food debris and bacteria in and around our teeth. Flossing is able to reach areas in between teeth and in the back areas of the mouth. Flossing really is a simple act, but many often overlook it and ignore the habit of flossing. For those of us who do floss, improper technique can also cause problems.

Common Flossing Mistakes

1. Skipping The Back Teeth – When we floss it is essential to not only concentrate on the front teeth. It is equally important to get in the back of the mouth, between and around molars, and keep those areas clean. This removes food and plaque bacteria in areas from which a toothbrush can not reach. You need to keep your teeth as clean as possible to avoid the onset of periodontal disease and tooth decay.

2. Not Rotating The Floss At Each Area – The purpose of flossing is to remove bacteria, food debris, and bacteria from between the teeth. If you do not rotate the floss at each tooth you are just replacing the removed bacteria and debris back into the mouth.

3. Flossing Too Aggressively – Some of our teeth have tighter spaces than others and this could cause a more aggressive approach to flossing. It is better to gently work the floss up and down between your teeth, following the natural curve of the tooth, so as not to snap the floss down and cut your gums. You should floss using a mirror to watch what you are doing, it is easier to see if you are missing anything. You should NEVER , “shoeshine” your teeth. Side to side aggressive motion, over time, causes notches into the roots of the teeth.

4. Not Flossing Because Your Gums Bleed – At times our gums can bleed if we are not maintaining proper oral hygiene. This is the earliest sign of periodontal disease, called “Gingivitis”. This stage of periodontal disease can be reversed. If you see some blood, continue gentle flossing, and rinsing with warm salt water. As the bacteria and irritants are removed the inflammation will subside and so will the bleeding. It might take 1-2 weeks for that to happen.

5. Keep Track Of Where You Are Flossing – It can be very easy to miss a tooth or two while flossing. Create a good routine to keep on track and not get distracted.

6. Not Flossing At All! – This is the biggest mistake! Many have been lucky enough not to have decay or serious problems, and have never flossed. This may have “worked” for you in your youth, but it will put you at risk for periodontal disease as you get older. People who have never had a cavity, and do not have good oral hygiene habits are at much higher risk for gum disease. Those pearly whites may stay beautiful until they day they all start to fall out!

Conclusion

Don’t wait for problems to begin. Floss regularly and correctly, and you are setting yourself up for good success in maintaining your oral health. Remember, to floss gently, properly, and often. As many dentists say,” You don’t have to floss all of your teeth, just the ones you want to keep!”.



Flossing is one of those tasks in life that we know we should do, we know the benefits of it, and we know how little time it takes but most of us, just do not do it regularly.

Flossing your teeth every night can be a hard habit to develop and maintain, but it’s one that comes with great benefits.  Simply having a cleaner feeling mouth, avoiding bad breath , preventing tooth cavities or even avoiding loss of teeth can be accomplished with flossing. Regular tooth brushing cannot reach all the areas of our mouth. Brushing supposedly is only able to clean about 60% of the mouth whereas flossing is able to get to the other 40%. Flossing is able to reach those areas if done properly. Flossing is able to remove plaque, bacteria, and food debris between teeth.

It is recommended by the American Dental Association that we floss at least once a day. Proper oral hygiene maintenance is important to stave off periodontal disease and also to keep our entire body healthy. Studies have shown less than half of Americans admit to flossing daily. In reality, that number is probably much lower.

What if there was an easier way to floss daily to maintain our teeth and gums?

 

Alternatives to Flossing

These alternatives will never be as good old fashioned flossing but they will make an improvement to your oral health versus not using them.

Flossing with Waterpik Flosser Marielaina Perrone DDS

Flossing with Waterpik

Waterpik Oral Irrigator. As the name suggests the waterpik is able to do its job by using a stream of pulsating water to remove plaque, bacteria,  and food debris between teeth and above and below the gum line, to stimulate blood flow, and to improve overall oral health. Studies have shown when used correctly that the waterpik is actually superior  in reducing bleeding of gum tissue and is as effective in reducing plaque buildup. The beauty of the waterpik is its ability to mix antibacterial rinses or a rinse like Periogen into the irrigating chamber. This adds the benefit of being an antibacterial or anti tartar rinse as well, making it doubly effective.

Oral-B Hummingbird Electric Flosser. The hummingbird flosser is an electric flossing tool that is able to gently vibrate to massage your gums while it is cleaning between your teeth. This is an excellent flossing tool for those lacking dexterity since it can be used with one hand vs two with traditional flossing.

Tooth Pick, stimudents, soft piks. Yes, a good old fashioned tooth pick can be useful for cleaning in between your teeth. While it doesn’t do the best job, it is definitely  easy to use, can remove large food particles, and stimulate blood flow. Just be careful not to poke your gums and injure yourself.

Sonicare AirFloss. This product makes it easier to keep our teeth clean between dental visits. The Sonicare AirFloss was specially

Flossing with Sonicare AirFloss Marielaina Perrone DDS

Flossing with Sonicare AirFloss

designed to give you an easy and simple, effective way to clean in between your teeth. The Sonicare AirFloss works using patented micro burst technology. This technology delivers micro droplets of air and water to remove plaque, bacteria, and food debris between teeth. Studies have proven the Sonicare Airfloss to be safe and effective as well as gentle on teeth and gum tissue.The Sonicare Airfloss is very easy to use. It features a single button and a guidance tip that allows the user to target cleaning in between teeth. Patients can complete their flossing in as little as 60 seconds. And with the narrow tip, patients are able to reach the back of their mouth very easily. This allows all the teeth in the mouth to be cleaned. The reservoir holds two teaspoons of water, mouthwash, or other oral rinse. This is enough for two uses and makes the Sonicare AirFloss doubly effective as it has an anti bacterial component as well.

Alternative Flossing Conclusion

As you can see above there are a few alternatives to flossing. Bottom line is nothing beats using a simple piece of floss and flossing like many have been for decades. But if you are unable to or unwilling, the products listed above will help improve your oral hygiene.  Use what works best for you and use it as often as you can. Keeping your teeth clean between dentist visits is very important in having your teeth last a lifetime and preventing the development and advancement of periodontal disease. So, maintain a regular schedule of complete dental examinations as well as professional cleanings along with continued at home care and you will see great results in your smile and your health.

 

 

 



Flossing is one of those things that everyone knows they should do but probably do not do regularly or correctly. Flossing, along with brushing is one of the most important things you can do to keep your smile healthy. Flossing is a simple 1-2 minute activity that is recommended to after meals. Once it becomes part of your routine it becomes an easy habit to keep. Everyone should floss at least once a day. The most important time of day to floss is before bedtime. When you sleep, saliva flow slows down and if food is left in between teeth, bacteria have a solid 8 hours to break teeth down with their acids without worry of being rinsed away by saliva.

Signs You are Not Flossing Properly?

-Bleeding gums upon brushing or flossing. If your gums are bleeding when brushing or flossing you have a form of periodontal disease called gingivitis. Gingivitis is reversible once you are regularly brushing, flossing, and go for regular professional cleanings. If the supporting tissues surrounding your teeth begin to breakdown then you have a more advanced form of periodontal disease called periodontitis. Periodontitis is not reversible without intervention.

-Build up of plaque and food debris along gum line and between teeth. Flossing is able to reach areas that brushing alone can not reach. Lack of flossing will lead to tooth cavities in between teeth (also called interproximal decay). A good tip is to use a disclosing solution before brushing and flossing. It will color your plaque a color like bright purple. This will give adults and children a good visual to see what areas they might be missing.

Flossing the proper way

Flossing – The Proper Technique

Proper Flossing Technique

-Start with about 18-24 inches of floss. Then wind a good portion of the floss around each middle finger. Make sure to leave an inch or two of floss to use for the actual flossing of your teeth.

-Hold the floss tight between your thumbs and index fingers, slide it gently up and down between your teeth. Do not shoeshine side to side as you can wear notches into the teeth over time. Some teeth with tight contacts may be difficult to floss thru. Try using a thinner Teflon type of floss such as Glide. Be diligent and make sure to get in between the tight spaces.

-Gently curve the floss around the base of each tooth one by one. It is important to ensure you go below the gumline. Never try to snap the floss in between the teeth as this may injure the gum tissues.

-Make sure to use clean sections of floss as you advance around your mouth.

-To remove the floss, use the same up and down movement to bring the floss up and away from the teeth.

Best Types Of Floss

Depending upon your particular needs, there are many types of floss to choose from:

-Dental tape is great for teeth with space between,

-woven yarn floss is for periodontal problem areas,

-thin Teflon floss is for tight contacting teeth,

-fluoride floss is for people who are prone to cavities between teeth,

-Stain removing floss is for smokers and heavy tea/ coffee drinkers,

-all in one or threader floss is for flossing under bridgework.

Any flavor or type of floss that you feel comfortable using and use regularly is fine.

What if I find it hard to floss properly?

Let’s face it, flossing requires dexterity and work for all of us. Under some conditions or even as we age, we may lose some of our natural dexterity. This does not give you a free pass to avoid flossing. There are various aids on the market to deal with this problem. The most popular of these products are called flossers. They allow anyone to floss

Flosser - Reach Access

Flossing Using the Reach Access Flosser

their teeth easily with little to no effort.

-Wishbone type flossers- allow you to wind your own floss onto the holder, maneuver into position, floss.

-Reach access flossers- come with pre- threaded disposable floss ends, even easier to use than the previous type, just bite down, it snaps between the teeth, floss.

-disposable small plastic handled floss, (usually come in a large bag of 100 or so)

-Hummingbird, electric type flosser

There you have it, an easy guide to flossing to help maintain your oral hygiene and your smile for years to come!