Posts for: October, 2021
Discover more effective ways to get your nightly teeth grinding under control.
Has our New Hope, PA, dentist Dr. Dawn Rickert told you that you grind your teeth? You might not even realize you do it, especially if you are notorious for grinding your teeth (a condition known as bruxism) at night. Unfortunately, this nocturnal habit can cause some serious wear and tear, which can eventually lead to worn down, weak, and damaged teeth. To prevent these complications from happening to you, there are strategies to reduce nighttime teeth grinding and its negative effects.
Let’s First Determine the Cause
To figure out the best approaches to treating your nighttime teeth grinding we first need to figure out what is causing this nasty habit. Through imaging and an oral examination, we can often figure out if there is damage to a tooth, misaligned jaws, or jaw muscle tenderness that could result in teeth grinding. If you’ve been told that your bruxism is due to sleep problems, our New Hope, PA, dentist also focuses on treating sleep disorders such as sleep apnea and any teeth grinding that may result.
From There, We Can Treat Your Nighttime Grinding
Now that we know what’s going on, we are ready to help you get the relief you’ve been looking for. If we discover that your grinding may be due to misaligned jaws or teeth, we may recommend getting orthodontic treatment to correct this issue. Other treatment options include,
- Medications such as Botox or muscle relaxants
- Biofeedback to alter bad habits and to help you control your jaw muscles
- Changes to current lifestyle and behaviors that could predispose you to teeth grinding
- Stress management
- A nighttime splint or custom mouthguard
Dr. Rickert and her team can craft custom-fitted splints to help prevent damage to teeth during nighttime clenching and grinding. While it won’t stop teeth grinding, wearing this device while you sleep can slow the progression of wear and tear on your teeth to prevent injury in the future.
If you are guilty of teeth grinding, know that our New Hope, PA, family dentist Dr. Rickert and the team at New Hope Cosmetic and Family Dentistry can provide you with a protective custom-fitted mouthguard and other strategies to prevent damage to your smile. To discuss getting a nightguard to stop bruxism, call us at (215) 862-2525
Are your stained teeth bumming you out? There's good news—you can transform that dull and dingy smile yourself with a tooth whitening product.
There are dozens of over-the-counter whitening kits that allow you to brighten your own smile. Although not as controlled and long-lasting as a dentist's professional whitening, these DIY kits can still give you effective results.
But since these products involve chemical solutions that bleach tooth enamel, there's a common concern about their safety. Could you be harming your teeth by using a home whitening kit?
The answer is no—as long as you follow the manufacturer's directions for using the product. These kits have been formulated with a lower percentage of bleaching agent (usually 10% carbamide peroxide) than whitening solutions used by dentists. They've also been subjected to several clinical studies gauging both their effectiveness and safety.
That said, though, exceeding a product's recommended directions and frequency of use could cause you problems. If not used properly, a bleaching solution can erode tooth enamel—and this protective tooth layer doesn't grow back! As long as you whiten "within the lines," so to speak, you shouldn't encounter this kind of situation.
With that said, though, there are good reasons to consult your dentist before using a whitening product, or have them perform the whitening for you.
For one thing, an over-the-counter whitening product won't work if the staining originates from inside a tooth. It's wise, then, to have a dental examination first before using a whitening product to uncover this or any other underlying dental problems that should be addressed first.
You may also find a professional whitening will give you a more desirable result. A stronger professional bleaching solution under a dentist's expert control can produce a brighter, longer lasting smile than a home use product. A dentist may also be able to control the level of brightness better to help you achieve the smile effect you desire, from subtle white to ultra-bright.
Whichever way you go, your dentist can advise you on your options and make sure your teeth are in good shape for whitening. The end result can be a brighter smile—and a brighter mood.
If you would like more information on teeth whitening, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Tooth Whitening Safety Tips.”