Does your jaw ever click, pop or grind while you’re eating, talking or yawning? While this may not feel like a serious condition, it’s usually caused by problems with the temporomandibular joint. If left untreated, this can develop into a painful and occasionally debilitating disorder known as temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMD.
TMD can cause headaches, dizziness, facial pain and tooth sensitivity. It can cause difficulty in chewing and opening your jaw, and can lead to other problems like jaw clenching. As your dental office, we want to help you maintain good oral health. If you’re experiencing jaw clicks, please call our office for an appointment today.
Puberty is a fact of life where a child’s body matures and becomes capable of reproduction. It is during this time that hair sprouts up in unusual places, voices drop, girls start menstruating and smiles can become plagued with swollen gums that are more sensitive to dental plaque and at greater risk for dental problems.
Puberty is fueled by hormonal signals to the brain and the release of those compounds is essential to the maturation process. However, while those hormones are imbalanced, growing girls and boys are more prone to oral issues including infections, gingivitis and mouth sores. Fortunately a good dental hygiene regimen complete with daily brushing, flossing and regular trips to the dentist will act as a form of preventative dentistry and minimize any oral health risks associated with the natural evolution of life.
Dentin is the technical name for your teeth — well, the substance that makes up your teeth, rather. Dentin is almost bone-like and it makes up most of the structure of your teeth. Dentin is made from cells called odontoblasts and is found under the enamel of the crown and under the cementum in the root.
Dentin is yellow in appearance; it’s the tooth’s enamel that gives teeth their bright white finish. Since enamel is relatively translucent, if not properly cared for by regular brushing, regular flossing and regular dental visits — your teeth can dull and become yellow as enamel starts to wear off. At that point, only the yellowish dentin is left.
“Dentin consists of microscopic channels, called dentinal tubules, which radiate outward through the dentin from the pulp to the exterior cementum or enamel border.” This is all very technical for the biology of dentin, which is a very detailed and complicated process that occurs in the tiniest square footage — our individual teeth!
The highly specialized connective tissue of dentin makes up most of the structure of your teeth. If the inside (pulp chamber) gets infected and is removed by your dentist, dentin will become brittle and can fracture far more easily than normal. This is why, after a root canal, you are generally fitted with a cap or a dental crown.
Facts of Dentin
Dentin is semi-reparable. It has reparative capabilities because the odontoblasts that create dentin remain viable after the teeth erupt. When excessive wear, cavities or other irritants start to degrade the dentin, reparative secondary dentin is laid down.
As helpful as this is, the enamel that covers dentin is NOT reparable, so again, your biyearly trip to the dentist is mandatory, as is daily brushing and flossing.
When you get dental cavities, you get them in dentin. Generally, if you get an infection, you get that in the pulp of the tooth. But enamel can wear away by chewing ice or other irritants, thereby making dentin more susceptible to dental cavities and tooth loss.
The most important thing you can do to protect your teeth’s dentin is to brush twice daily and floss every single night — not just when it occurs to you! And don’t forget to see your dentist at least twice a year to keep dentin in tip-top shape.
Being with child can be an exciting transition, but as any mother will tell you, pregnancy is no walk in the park. In order for a women to carry a child to full term, hormonal levels will change in order to help a fetus grow and develop, but those fluctuations can also put her a greater risk for dental problems such as gingivitis, pregnancy tumors and periodontal disease. Women on birth control pills have the same oral health risks as their child carrying counterparts.
Oral contraceptives use various hormones to mimic pregnancy, suppress ovulation and will thicken a woman’s cervical mucus in order to block a sperm merging with an egg. Once a body is tricked into copying the indicators of pregnancy, the risks of dental problems including gum inflammation, oral infections, tooth loss will increase and pregnancy gingivitis can occur to women on the pill.
In addition to increased odds of developing pregnancy gingivitis, being on the pill can also make it difficult for women to recover from tooth extractions. Studies have indicated that women on birth control pills, that undergo tooth extractions while on the medication are two times more likely to have to endure dry socket at the tooth extraction site.
Practicing good oral hygiene is essential to combating the smile killing effects associated with birth control pills.
Do your teeth hurt when you drink or eat something hot or cold? Most people think this is normal, but that’s not always the case. When your teeth hurt, they’re trying to tell you something: See your dentist.
More often than not, tooth sensitivity is a sign of a dental problem like tooth decay or gum disease. But there are other reasons why your teeth may be hurting:
- You might have a cracked or broken tooth
- One of your fillings could be broken or rotten
- You might be grinding your teeth while you sleep
- You could be brushing your teeth too hard
- There might be dental plaque buildup on your tooth roots
Don’t make the mistake of ignoring sensitive teeth or trying to self-treat. If your sensitivity lasts longer than a couple of days or keeps recurring over a couple of weeks, make an appointment to see your dentist. The longer you wait, the worse it can get and the more expensive treatment will be. A quick exam can reveal exactly what’s going on and get you back to living pain-free.
The main responsibility of preventive care falls on you! In order to reduce your chances of getting a dental disease, you have to take care of yourself. Consider the following points when it comes to your preventive dentistry program:
Oral Hygiene — Brushing and flossing removes dental plaque, a film-like substance that is constantly forming on your teeth. If not removed, dental plaque can build up over time and produce dental tartar, a hardened, sticky substance which harbors the acid-producing bacteria that generate tooth decay. Eventually, dental tartar will creep under the gum line, leading to gum disease as well.
Diet — A good diet is incredibly important to your dental health. Not only do foods that contain sugars and carbohydrates feed the bacteria that produce dental plaque, but studies also show a diet low in calcium can increase your chances of ending up with periodontal disease and jaw deterioration.
Smoking and Drinking — Smoking, chewing tobacco and consuming alcohol can wreak havoc on your mouth! If the dry mouth, tooth discoloration and buildup of dental plaque aren’t enough for you to want to quit smoking, consider this: Smoking causes gum disease, tooth loss and oral cancer.
The sippy cup is a spill proof, lid-covered drinking cup designed to help parents teach their toddlers how to drink without spilling. Children can toss it, drop it and turn it upside down, but they can’t spill its contents. That’s thanks to a valve in the top that releases liquid only when a child puts his lips around the tip and sucks. Day after day countless parents reach for that sippy cup their toddlers love so well, proud that the bottle is a thing of the past, and thrilled that their car seats and living room carpets will be spared! These parents though, should think twice before resorting to extended use of the sippy cup.
Many parents operate under the mistaken impression that the sippy cup is better than allowing the child to sleep with a bottle. The damage done by the bedtime bottle is fueled by the fact that no saliva flows during sleep to clear liquids from the mouth or dilute them. Liquids bathe the teeth all night. The sippy cup filled with sweetened liquids can cause the same damaging effects. The child’s teeth are immersed in the liquid during drinking and many parents allow unlimited access to the sippy cup.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children be weaned from the bottle by 12-14 months of age and be encouraged to drink from a cup. Parents are cautioned however that the repetitive consumption of liquids that contain fermentable carbohydrates (milk, juice, soft drinks etc.) from a bottle or sippy cup should be avoided.
• Be very selective about the liquids that you give your child from the sippy cup. Avoid milk, juice, and soft drinks. Try water or sugar free beverages instead.
• Use the sippy cup only as a transition to a regular cup or adult drinking glass with no lid.
• Consider cup design carefully. A pop-up straw reduces the amount of time the liquid is in contact with the teeth.
• Some speech pathologists have expressed concern about over use of the sippy cup and liken its use to a thumb-sucking habit, the effects of which are well documented.