Posts for: July, 2017
Ever since childhood, when her career as a model and actress took off, Brooke Shields has enjoyed worldwide recognition — through advertisements for designer jeans, appearances on The Muppet Show, and starring roles in big-screen films. But not long ago, that familiar face was spotted in an unusual place: wearing a nasal anesthesia mask at the dentist's office. In fact, Shields posted the photo to her own Instagram account, with the caption “More dental surgery! I grind my teeth!” And judging by the number of comments the post received, she's far from alone.
In fact, researchers estimate that around one in ten adults have dental issues that stem from teeth grinding, which is also called bruxism. (Many children also grind their teeth, but it rarely causes serious problems, and is often outgrown.) About half of the people who are teeth grinders report problems like persistent headaches, jaw tenderness and sore teeth. Bruxism may also result in excessive tooth wear, and may damage dental work like crowns and bridges; in severe cases, loosened or fractured teeth have been reported.
Researchers have been studying teeth grinding for many years; their findings seem to indicate that it has no single cause. However, there are a number of factors that play a significant role in this condition. One is the anatomy of the jaw itself, and the effect of worn or misaligned teeth on the bite. Another factor relates to changes in brain activity that occur during the sleep cycle. In fact, nocturnal (nighttime) bruxism is now classified as a sleep-related movement disorder. Still other factors, such as the use of tobacco, alcohol and drugs, and a high level of stress or anxiety, can make an individual more likely to experience bruxism.
What can be done for people whose teeth grinding is causing problems? Since this condition may have many causes, a number of different treatments are available. Successful management of bruxism often begins by striving to eliminate the factors that may cause problems — for example, making lifestyle changes to improve your health, creating a soothing nighttime environment, and trying stress-reduction techniques; these may include anything from warm baths and soft music at bedtime, to meditation and mindfulness exercises.
Several dental treatments are also available, including a custom-made occlusal guard (night guard) that can keep your teeth from being damaged by grinding. In some cases, a bite adjustment may also be recommended: In this procedure, a small amount of enamel is removed from a tooth to change the way it contacts the opposite tooth, thereby lessening the biting force on it. More invasive techniques (such as surgery) are rarely needed.
A little tooth grinding once in a while can be a normal response to stress; in fact, becoming aware of the condition is often the first step to controlling it. But if you begin to notice issues that could stem from bruxism — or if the loud grinding sounds cause problems for your sleeping partner — it may be time to contact us or schedule an appointment. You can read more about bruxism in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Stress and Tooth Habits.”
Are you ready to discover how porcelain veneers from your Augusta, GA dentist could give you a more attractive smile?
You’ve been so busy planning your wedding that you haven’t had time to stop and think. Of course, as the planning winds down thoughts may turn to how you want to look for the big day. After all, you’re going to have those pictures forever. If your smile is leaving something to be desired, Dr. Alan Myers of Myers Family Dental in Augusta, Georgia, has just the thing.
Dental veneers, laminates, porcelain veneers. Whatever you want to call them, these super thin tooth-colored shells may be all you need to change the overall look of your smile. Do you want a smile that is just as perfect as the one your favorite actor flaunts on TV? If so, chances are pretty good that they got that smile thanks to dental veneers.
Veneers are a great way to change the shape, length, size and even shade of your teeth. You may choose to only get veneers on teeth that are flawed or you may choose to completely makeover your smile and get a full set of veneers. When you sit down with our Augusta cosmetic dentist we can help determine which is the best option for you.
Veneers can hide a variety of problems from discolorations that teeth whitening can’t treat and moderate chips and cracks to gaps between teeth, minor crowding, and crookedness. Sometimes there are defects within the enamel that can affect the shape and appearance of a tooth. Veneers could be a great way to restore that defected tooth to an ideal shape.
Before you can get veneers we will need to make sure that your teeth are healthy enough for this cosmetic treatment. Through a thorough exam and X-rays we will make sure that there is enough healthy tooth enamel to support your restorations. Once this has been determined your teeth will have to undergo a little preparation so that they are ready to receive the veneers. By removing a small bit of enamel from the front of your teeth, we will create enough room to place the veneers. Just know that once enamel has been removed it will not grow back, so your new veneers are meant for life.
Next, impressions will be taken and a dental lab will go right to work making your veneers. Once they are made, you will come back in so that we can fit you with your beautiful new restorations. Veneers are painlessly bonded to the front of your teeth using resin and a special laser to harden the resin and veneers in place.
If you want to find out if dental veneers are the best option for you, call Myers Family Dental in Augusta, GA, today to book a consultation with Dr. Myers. Let’s find out how we can get your smile ready for the big day.
X-rays are such a routine part of dental care that it's easy to overlook how much this technology has revolutionized detecting and treating tooth decay. It's safe to say x-rays have helped save hundreds of millions of teeth over the last hundred years.
Thanks to its unique properties these invisible electro-magnetic waves give us precise images of the interior structure of teeth and gums. It's so precise that we can clearly detect even a small spot of softened, decayed tooth structure on an exposed x-ray film, often before it becomes visible to the naked eye. As a result, we can begin treating the decay earlier, minimizing the damage and increasing the chances for preserving the tooth.
There are a variety of ways we can utilize x-ray technology in diagnosing dental problems. The one, though, that's used the most is called the bitewing. The name comes from wing-like tabs extending out from a thin frame holding a segment of unexposed film. A technician places the frame inside the patient's mouth with the film on the tongue side of the teeth, and has them bite down on the tabs to hold the frame still. They then aim a camera at the patient's outer cheek, which then emits a very short burst of x-ray energy to expose the film.
Bitewings are popular because they give a full view of the back and side teeth, where decay is often hard to detect, with very little radiation exposure to the patient. And as x-ray technology has progressed over the years with digital processing and more efficient equipment, we can acquire sharper images with even less exposure. We've also developed standard protocols for when and how often we perform x-rays, so that we're getting the most diagnostic benefit for the least amount of exposure time.
Those few minutes getting an x-ray may seem routine, but the benefits to your dental health are truly amazing. The bitewing and other forms of x-rays play a huge role in helping us keep your teeth as healthy as they possibly can.
If you would like more information on x-ray diagnostics, 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 “Bitewing X-Rays.”