Posts for: March, 2016
Teeth grinding and other biting habits are more than a nuisance — they can generate twenty to thirty times the forces of normal biting. Over the long term, this can cause significant damage to teeth and supporting gums and bone.
This particular kind of damage is known as occlusal trauma (meaning injury from the bite). In its primary form, the habit itself over time can injure and inflame the jaw joints leading to soreness, swelling and dysfunction. The teeth themselves can wear down at a much faster rate than what normally occurs with aging. And although less common but even more serious, the periodontal ligaments holding teeth in place to the bone can stretch and weaken, causing the teeth to become loose and increasing the potential for tooth loss.
There are a number of techniques and approaches for treating excessive biting habits, but they all have a common aim — to reduce the amount of force generated by the habit and the associated problems that result. A custom occlusal guard, often worn while sleeping, helps lessen the force by keeping the teeth from making solid contact with each other. Tissue soreness and swelling can be relieved with anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin or ibuprofen, muscle relaxants or physical therapy. In cases where stress is a main driver, behavioral therapy and counseling may also be helpful.
Biting forces are also an issue for patients with periodontal (gum) disease. In this case even biting forces within normal ranges can cause damage because the diseased gums and bone have already been weakened. If gum disease is a factor, the first priority is to treat the disease by removing built up plaque. Plaque is the thin film of bacteria and food remnant that’s both the cause and continuing growth of the infection, as well as tartar (calculus) from all tooth and gum surfaces.
A thorough dental exam will reveal whether a tooth grinding habit is playing a role in your teeth and gum problems or if it’s magnifying the damage of gum disease. In either case, there are appropriate steps to stop the damage before it leads to tooth loss.
If you would like more information on teeth grinding or other biting habits, 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 “Loose Teeth.”
Do your dull or yellow teeth make you feel self-conscious about your smile? Professional teeth whitening services can lighten and brighten your smile with just one treatment. Dr. Steve Gilbert and Dr. Carlos Velez, your Philadelphia, PA, dentists at Gilbert Dental Care, share some information that will help you decide if teeth whitening is the right choice for you.
Teeth whitening removes deep stains
Brushing your teeth removes surface stains, but brushing alone isn't effective if stains have penetrated your enamel. Although enamel is very strong, it's also porous and stains if exposed to brightly colored liquids or foods. Years of consuming coffee, tea, wine, cola, sports drinks, cherries and blueberries can dull your smile. In fact, anything that can stain a white tablecloth can stain your teeth. Whitening is very effective in removing these deep stains.
Professional teeth whitening offers noticeable results
Although the stores are full of products that claim to white your teeth, none of them work as well as the products available to your Philadelphia dentist. Professional teeth whitening agents are not only stronger, but also gentler and longer lasting. Depending on the over-the-counter method you use, your teeth may be lighter for a few weeks to a year. After professional whitening treatment, your teeth will be three to eight shades whiter and may remain brighter for three or more years.
Teeth whitening treatment offers quick results
When you use store-bought whitening kits, you often have to use the products for weeks before you notice a difference in your smile. Professional teeth whitening treatment usually only takes one session.
Teeth whitening is safe
Gum and root irritation can be a problem when you use drugstore whitening products, particularly if the product uses bulky trays that don't fit your teeth perfectly. If you've ever tried these products and decided that the results weren't worth the pain, it's time you tried professional whitening. Before applying the whitening agent, your dentist applies a barrier that protects these sensitive areas very effectively.
Would you like to learn more about teeth whitening. Call Philadelphia, PA, dentists Drs. Gilbert and Velez at Gilbert Dental Care at (215) 972-0406. Say goodbye to dull, discolored teeth with teeth whitening!
When the multi-platinum recording artist, songwriter and TV personality Jason Derulo was recently asked about his ideal woman, his answer covered a remarkably broad spectrum. "There’s no specific thing," he said, "so I think it’s unfair to say what my ‘type’ is." But it turns out that there is one thing the So You Think You Can Dance judge considers essential: A beautiful smile.
"I’m not into messy teeth," Derulo said. "If the grill has spaces and different colors, it’s not my vibe."
As it turns out, he may be on to something: A number of surveys have indicated that a bright, healthy smile is often the first thing people notice when meeting someone new. Yet many are reluctant to open up that big grin because they aren’t satisfied with the way their teeth look. If you’re one of them, consider this: Modern cosmetic dentistry offers a variety of ways to improve your smile — and it may be easier and more affordable than you think.
For example, if your smile isn’t as bright as you would like it to be, teeth whitening is an effective and economical way to lighten it up. If you opt for in-office treatments, you can expect a lightening effect of up to 10 shades in a single one-hour treatment! Or, you can achieve the same effect in a week or two with a take-home kit we can custom-make for you. Either way, you’ll be safe and comfortable being treated under the supervision of a dental professional — and the results can be expected to last for up to two years, or perhaps more.
If your teeth have minor spacing irregularities, small chips or cracks, it may be possible to repair them in a single office visit via cosmetic bonding. In this process, a liquid composite resin is applied to the teeth and cured (hardened) with a special light. This high-tech material, which comes in colors to match your teeth, can be built up in layers and shaped with dental instruments to create a pleasing, natural effect.
If your smile needs more than just a touch-up, dental veneers may be the answer. These wafer-thin coverings, placed right on top of your natural teeth, can be made in a variety of shapes and colors — from a natural pearly luster to a brilliant "Hollywood white." Custom-made veneers typically involve the removal of a few millimeters of tooth enamel, making them a permanent — and irreversible — treatment. However, by making teeth look more even, closing up spaces and providing dazzling whiteness, veneers just might give you the smile you’ve always wanted.
If you would like more information about cosmetic dental treatments, please call our office to arrange a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Cosmetic Dentistry — A Time for Change.”