Friday, April 25, 2014

Bruxism Solutions

 Refer to last week's post for tooth grinding causes and symptoms-
If stress is the cause of tooth grinding, then self-relaxation techniques, such as listening to music, taking a walk, or a having warm bath may help. Applying a warm, wet washcloth to the side of the face may help relax muscles, as well. Consulting qualified health care professionals is also recommended to relieve stress.

Keep in mind, however, that eliminating stress is not always the answer in preventing tooth grinding. An appliance, most commonly known as a nightguard, can be made by a dentist to alleviate signs and symptoms of tooth grinding. A thin layer of plastic (hard or soft) is molded to fit snugly over the teeth.. This appliance can be worn during the day or while you sleep. Nightguards help protect your teeth and any dental work, such as fillings and crowns, from wearing down or even fracturing. The nightguard can also help relieve excess pressure on the jaw joint and prevent damage to it. The appliance, also referred to as an occlusal splint, helps reduce pressure to the teeth and prevent damage to the gums and bone surrounding the teeth.

"Over the years, many patients have asked  if over the counter(OTC) mouthguards work", says Dr. Cherukuri.  "Patients initially choose them because of the relatively low cost and discover very quickly that they are unable to wear them at night because they are oversize and bulky.  Mouthguards outside of mouth have very limited benefits", she adds humorously.

It is important to use a very carefully calibrated occlusal splint to improve or correct the bite discrepancies and OTC mouthguards may end up causing more harm. Dr. Cherukuri cautions.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Bruxism or Tooth Grinding

Approximately 50 to 96 percent of adults experience bruxism (tooth grinding), and 15 percent of children acquire this behavior. The habit can occur during the day or at night, and more often than not, goes unnoticed by the person doing it.

There are several reasons why we may grind our teeth, including an abnormal bite or crooked or missing teeth. However, the most common reason for teeth grinding is stress. It is well known that increased stress levels can have a negative effect on one’s overall health, and these days, with the pressures and stresses of everyday life, many people are noticing that they grind their teeth more often.

Since most cases of bruxism occur while you sleep, how do you know if you grind your teeth? You may wake yourself up due to the grinding sound or from the pressure of clenching your jaw. In other circumstances, someone else may be able to see or even hear you doing it. However, because most patients are unaware that they are grinding their teeth, symptoms such as waking up with a headache, toothache, or earache, as well as tenderness to the face, jaw muscles, and/or the teeth and gums are all possible signs of bruxism. During a routine dental check-up, your dentist or dental hygienist may detect worn-down teeth or worn-down dental work on fillings or crowns. Over time, grinding can wear away or fracture tooth enamel and may eventually loosen teeth.

Grinding teeth is a common occurrence for most people at one time or another. If you suspect that you are routinely grinding your teeth, consult with a dentist as soon as possible says Dr. Cherukuri, from her Chino; California dental practice.

For solutions, tune in next week!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Blood Thinners and Dental Procedures

Do you take medications like aspirin, warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven, Marfarin), clopidogril (Plavix), or ticlopidine (Ticlid) to prevent heart attack or stroke, resulting from a blood clot?
These medications make it more difficult for your blood to clot and because of this, you may have trouble with bleeding after certain dental procedures.  It may take longer than you would expect for any bleeding to stop.  In light of this, you might consider reducing your dosage or stop taking the medications entirely before receiving dental care.  However, it is generally agreed that anticoagulant drug regimens should not be altered prior to dental treatment.  If you stop taking, or take less of, the anticoagulant medication, you increase your chance for blood clot development, which could result in thromboembolism, stroke or heart attack.  The risks of stopping or reducing this medication routine outweigh the consequences of prolonged bleeding, which can be controlled with local measures.  For example, you may be asked to bite down on sponges treated with a liquid that helps control bleeding.
Some patients who are taking these anticoagulant medications have additional medical problems that increase the risk of prolonged bleeding after dental treatment.1  If you have one of these conditions, your dentist may want to refer you to a hospital dental clinic.  These medical conditions include:
  • liver impairment or alcoholism
  • kidney failure
  • certain blood disorders.
Talk to your dentist if you are curious about these medications and how they may affect your dental treatment.
“In our office, we routinely work with physicians to arrive at the best protocols for achieving ideal dental outcomes for our patients” assures Dr. Cherukuri from her Chino, California dental practice.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Laser Dentistry

Lasers have been used in dentistry since 1994.

How do lasers work in dentistry?

All lasers work by delivering energy in the form of light

For surgical applications in dentistry, laser acts as a cutting instrument or a vaporizer of tissue that it contacts.

When used to restore, lasers strengthen the bond between filling and tooth.

Laser acts as a heat source to enhance the effect of teeth bleaching agents.

"In general, laser use alleviates anxiety because the conservative procedures generate less pain and minimize bleeding and swelling.  Healthy tooth structure is preserved during cavity removal" says Dr. Cherukuri from her dental practice in Chino, California. 

"It's been a wonderful tool to use on our special needs patients and dental phobics.." adds Dr. Cherukuri.

Lasers in Dentistry have limited applications and procedures have an added cost but the comfort they add makes it all worthwhile.