Posts for: September, 2018
On the big screen, Australian-born actress Margot Robbie may be best known for playing devil-may-care anti-heroes—like Suicide Squad member Harley Quinn and notorious figure skater Tonya Harding. But recently, a discussion of her role in Peter Rabbit proved that in real life, she’s making healthier choices. When asked whether it was hard to voice a character with a speech impediment, she revealed that she wears retainers in her mouth at night, which gives her a noticeable lisp.
“I actually have two retainers,” she explained, “one for my bottom teeth which is for grinding my teeth, and one for my top teeth which is just so my teeth don't move.”
Clearly Robbie is serious about protecting her dazzling smile. And she has good reasons for wearing both of those retainers. So first, let’s talk about retainers for teeth grinding.
Also called bruxism, teeth grinding affects around 10 percent of adults at one time or another, and is often associated with stress. If you wake up with headaches, sore teeth or irritated gums, or your sleeping partner complains of grinding noises at night, you may be suffering from nighttime teeth grinding without even being aware of it.
A type of retainer called an occlusal guard is frequently recommended to alleviate the symptoms of bruxism. Typically made of plastic, this appliance fits comfortably over your teeth and prevents them from being damaged when they rub against each other. In combination with stress reduction techniques and other conservative treatments, it’s often the best way to manage teeth grinding.
Orthodontic retainers are also well-established treatment devices. While appliances like braces or aligners cause teeth to move into better positions, retainers are designed to keep teeth from moving—helping them to stay in those positions. After active orthodontic treatment, a period of retention is needed to allow the bite to stabilize. Otherwise, the teeth can drift right back to their old locations, undoing the time and effort of orthodontic treatment.
So Robbie has the right idea there too. However, for those who don’t relish the idea of wearing a plastic appliance, it’s often possible to bond a wire retainer to the back surfaces of the teeth, where it’s invisible. No matter which kind you choose, wearing a retainer can help keep your smile looking great for many years to come.
If you have questions about teeth grinding or orthodontic retainers, please contact our office or schedule a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Teeth Grinding” and “The Importance of Orthodontic Retainers.”
While tooth decay seems to get most of the “media attention,” there’s another oral infection just as common and destructive: periodontal (gum) disease. In fact, nearly half of adults over 30 have some form of it.
And like tooth decay, it begins with bacteria: while most are benign or even beneficial, a few strains of these micro-organisms can cause gum disease. They thrive and multiply in a thin, sticky film of food particles on tooth surfaces called plaque. Though not always apparent early on, you may notice symptoms like swollen, reddened or bleeding gums.
The real threat, though, is that untreated gum disease will advance deeper below the gum line, infecting the connective gum tissues, tooth roots and supporting bone. If it’s not stopped, affected teeth can lose support from these structures and become loose or out of position. Ultimately, you could lose them.
We can stop this disease by removing accumulated plaque and calculus (calcified plaque, also known as tartar) from the teeth, which continues to feed the infection. To reach plaque deposits deep below the gum line, we may need to surgically access them through the gums. Even without surgery, it may still take several cleaning sessions to remove all of the plaque and calculus found.
These treatments are effective for stopping gum disease and allowing the gums to heal. But there’s a better way: preventing gum disease before it begins through daily oral hygiene. In most cases, plaque builds up due to a lack of brushing and flossing. It takes only a few days without practicing these important hygiene tasks for early gingivitis to set in.
You should also visit the dentist at least twice a year for professional cleanings and checkups. A dental cleaning removes plaque and calculus from difficult to reach places. Your dentist also uses the visit to evaluate how well you’re doing with your hygiene efforts, and offer advice on how you can improve.
Like tooth decay, gum disease can rob you of your dental health. But it can be stopped—both you and your dentist can keep this infection from ruining your smile.
Your Batavia, IL, family dentist, John C. Koechley, D.D.S., is here to help.
Procedures Your Doctor Provides:
- Bridges: Bridges are custom-made oral appliances that can conceal dental gaps, and help restore proper bite and chewing functions. They can be used instead of dental implants to conceal dental gaps.
- Veneers: They're made of thin porcelain and used to resurface an individual's teeth, especially if they're stained, or discolored, as result of drinking coffee, or tea, smoking, chewing tobacco, tetracycline-containing medicine and poor hygiene. They also fix mishappened teeth, like crooked, overcrowded, and irregularly shaped teeth.
- Fillings/Dental Bonding: In order to prepare your teeth for the composite, your family dentist will apply an etching solution on the tooth surface, then apply a composite resin that matches the color of your teeth. The composite is molded to the right shape and hardened with a curing light.
- Crowns: A dental crown is a porcelain cap that covers unaesthetic teeth, like cracks, dents, and chips, and reinforces week teeth. When your tooth is severely decayed and large portions of it are removed. Your Batavia family dentists use a dental crown to restore and protect your tooth.
- Dental Implants: Dental implants provide you with the most natural-looking, fully-functioning tooth replacement available. The dental implant crown is made of state-of-the-art materials that are light-reflective, just like natural tooth enamel. Because the implant is embedded in the bone, it is completely stable, so it won't move around.
- Smile Makeovers: We know that there are a lot of people that aren’t happy with their natural smiles. Perhaps you have stains from years of drinking coffee or you have a gap in between your front teeth that you want to cover up. We also offer full smile makeovers for those patients who may have had accidents or stayed away from the dentist a bit too long and are dealing with serious dental issues.
Here are a few tips to stay healthy:
- Visit your dentist for bi-annual dental appointments to maintain your oral health.
- Avoid eating hard candies and sugary food.
- Floss your teeth before bed to preserve your crowns and natural teeth.
- Drink plenty of water to remove food debris.
- Use fluoride-containing products like toothpastes and mouthwash.
- Eat fruits and vegetables that'll help avoid cavities.
- Brush your teeth twice a day by spending two full minutes brushing your teeth and tilting your brush at a 45-degree angle to ensure you remove as much food debris as possible.
We know that your child is going to have different dental needs than a teenager, young adult, adult or senior; fortunately, we have the training to be able to handle smiles in any stage of life. So if your child needs to get braces to fix a crooked smile we can help them while we can also address your tooth loss by placing dental implants. We also offer full smile makeovers for those patients who may have had accidents or stayed away from the dentist a bit too long and are dealing with serious dental issues. We handle it all so that you don’t have to.
For more information on what your family dentists can provide you and your family, you should contact your Batavia, IL, family dentist John C. Koechley, D.D.S. today!
While your chances of losing teeth increase as you age, it's not a given. With proper hygiene and care your teeth could last a lifetime.
But brushing and flossing can become more difficult in later years. Arthritis or strength issues in the fingers and hands make holding a toothbrush an arduous chore and flossing next to impossible.
But you can accommodate these physical changes. Many seniors find using a powered toothbrush much easier to handle and effective for removing disease-causing plaque. A tennis ball or bike handle grip attached to a manual toothbrush can also make it easier to handle. As to flossing, older people may find it easier to use floss threaders or a water irrigator, which removes plaque from between teeth with a pressurized water spray.
You may also find changes in the mouth that increase your risk for dental disease. One such issue is xerostomia, dry mouth. As you age you don't produce as much saliva, which neutralizes acid and restores minerals to enamel, as when you were younger. Dry mouth can also be a side effect of certain medications. Older people are also more likely to suffer from gastric reflux, which can introduce stomach acid into the mouth.
With these dry, acidic conditions, you're more susceptible to both tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease. You can help offset it by increasing water consumption, taking a saliva stimulator, changing to alternative medications if available, and relieving gastric reflux.
Another area of concern in aging is the higher risk for inflammatory diseases like diabetes or cardiovascular diseases (CVD), which could also increase your risk of periodontal (gum) disease. Seeking treatment for gum disease and other similar systemic diseases may help ease the effects of each one.
Taking care of your mouth can be challenging as you grow older. But tooth loss and other unpleasant results aren't inevitable. Invest in your teeth and gums today and you're more likely to have a healthy life and smile all through your golden years.
If you would like more information on caring for your teeth and gums as you age, 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 “Aging & Dental Health.”