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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.

Maintaining a good bedtime oral hygiene routine is even more important than your daytime one. A lot can happen overnight while you are sleeping. Food debris and

Oral Health Marielaina Perrone DDS

Maintain Good Oral Health At Bedtime!

bacteria can wreak havoc on your teeth and gums during sleep time, when there is almost no saliva produced to wash away bacteria. Most of us have more time at night to properly clean our teeth, but wait until we are too tired to do so.  In a few easy steps, you can be assured of a clean mouth, and get a better night’s sleep.

Bedtime Oral Health Tips

1. Tooth brushing at Bedtime. Brushing your teeth before you go to bed at night helps protect against plaque buildup, tooth decay, and periodontal disease. If you are particularly susceptible to tooth decay and/or periodontal disease, it is recommended that you brush immediately after dinner, then again right before bedtime. The earlier you brush, the less likely you are to start snacking, less snacking will reduce food debris and decrease the likelihood of cavities.

2. Practice Proper Brushing Form. The best way to clean your teeth is to brush at an angle gently in short circling strokes. Brush the outer tooth surfaces first, then the inner tooth surfaces, followed by the chewing surfaces. To clean the backs of your front teeth, use the tip of the brush and stroke gently up and down. Get a separate brush (or even a specialized tongue cleaner) to clean your tongue, there is quite a bit more bacteria (as well as dead cells) on your tongue than your teeth, so don’t use the same brush for both.

3. Switch to an electric toothbrush. The rotating and oscillating movement of the electric toothbrush head removes plaque from your teeth more efficiently than a regular toothbrush. Be sure to choose an electric toothbrush that’s comfortable to hold, easy to use, and has the rotating-oscillating head.

Oral Health Marielaina Perrone DDS4. Do Not Just Brush – Floss Too! Flossing removes food particles and plaque buildup where toothbrush bristles can’t reach. If this debris stays on the teeth, bacteria will increase throughout the night and feed off them, produce acid, and break down enamel while you’re sleeping. Tartar can not be removed by flossing, but accumulation can be slowed down with good hygiene, and the proper rinses. Flossing before bedtime is essential if you want to decrease your chances of periodontal disease and tooth decay. Morning flossing is also recommended, especially if you’re prone to periodontal disease or tartar buildup.

5. Rinse with mouthwash. Mouthwash isn’t just for fresh breath — anti bacterial mouth rinses contain a variety of ingredients that strengthen teeth(fluoride), kill plaque bacteria (Listerine) , help treat certain oral health conditions (Chlorhexidine), or simply dissolve plaque and tartar, like Periogen. Rinsing with a mouthwash before bed will help keep your teeth free of plaque and tooth decay and your gums safe from gingivitis. Most commercial, over-the-counter mouthwashes are designed to mask bad breath, tend to dry your mouth, and they won’t do much to contribute to your oral health. Talk to your dentist about which mouth rinse  is the right one for you.

6. Be aware of teeth grinding, apnea, and snoring. If you experience worn tooth enamel, increased tooth sensitivity, or torn cheek tissue, you may be grinding your teeth (also called bruxism) while you sleep. Though dentists cannot stop you from grinding your teeth, they can make you a mouth guard that you can wear at night to protect your teeth from the effects of grinding. There are also appliances that can be made to help you with jaw repositioning to help you breathe easier, and stop snoring.

7. Use a Waterpik. A waterpik is an excellent tool to remove debris that we are unable to get to, massage and stimulate gum tissue, and cleanse a deeper periodontal pocket. You can also add your therapeutic mouthrinse or periogen to the waterpik, to place it where it is needed most.

8. Maintain Regular Dental Visits. Be sure to schedule regular dental examinations and professional cleanings. Your dentist and hygienist will help you keep your teeth clean and your gums healthy over the course of your lifetime. Remember, preventive care and maintenance are just as important for a healthy mouth as good daytime and nighttime oral hygiene.

 

Oral Health Conclusion

Dental hygiene must be maintained on a regular basis along with visits to the dentist for dental examinations and professional cleanings if you are to maintain a bright, healthy smile. Dental hygiene can not be left by the wayside just because we are tired. Make the time and effort to properly maintain your teeth, and you will be rewarded every morning with a beautiful smile!