Common Habits Can Chip your Teeth!

Woman biting her nailsThough enamel is the hardest substance in your body, it can be damaged.   Using your teeth to open bottles, tear tape, open packages or biting fishing lines can chip your teeth.  Biting your nails or chewing on pencils can also damage your teeth.

Woman opening a package wih her teeth

 

Beware of chomping on seeds, popcorn kernels or even ice.   Your teeth are for chewing food. They are not tools.

 

Woman opening a bottle with her teeth

 

So the next time you hear your mom say “don’t use your teeth to open the bottle,” thank her for the reminder.

Is Work Stressing Your Jaw?

Is work stressing you out?   Are you worried about getting your taxes done?  Are there too many things on your to-do list and not enough time in the day to get them done?   Too much stress can lead to tooth grinding or clenching, and eventually temporomandibular disorder (TMD) or jaw pain.

TMD Pain Cycle

 

Overworking your jaw muscles can cause TMD.  Often people don’t even realize they are clenching or grinding.  It may happen at night while you are sleeping, or even during the day.

 

Night guard

 

A night guard can help relieve the symptoms and protect your teeth.  Over a short period of time, the habit is not detrimental.  However, if it is not treated, it can lead to TMD or even cracked tooth syndrome.

 

Headaches and Jaw Pain? Check Your Posture.

Man sitting with poor posture

Did you know that poor posture places the spine in a position that can cause stress to the jaw joint?    When a person slouches or hunches over, the lower jaw shifts forward, causing the upper and lower teeth to not fit together correctly.  This in turn causes the skull to shift back on the spinal column.

This shift can place stress on muscles, joints and bones.  Without proper treatment, it can create pain and inflammations in muscles and joints when you open and close your mouth.

Most people agree good posture is important, but they don’t realize their posture can affect their oral health.   If someone’s posture is unbalanced, it can change the position of the facial muscles causing the bumps and grooves on the upper and lower teeth to not fit properly.

Night guard

For most people a night guard helps reduce facial pain by allowing the teeth to move to a more natural position. In addition, the night guard will help prevent any future damage to teeth.

Feeling Anxious? Join the Majority

Anxious patientPatients become anxious about going to the dentist for different reasons.  This may include fear of receiving local anesthetic or concerns about the effectiveness of the anesthesia.  Negative past experiences also may play a large role in a patient’s anxiety, as well as financial concerns.

What can I do to relieve dental anxiety?

In general, avoid caffeine before a dental appointment to make you lessLying down listening with headphones anxious.  Eating high-protein foods also produces a calming effect, unlike sugary foods.  During the procedure, focus on breathing regularly and slowly. When they are nervous, some people tend to hold their breath, which decreases oxygen levels and further increases feelings of anxiety.  We always recommend that our patients bring their favorite music to listen to during procedures. 

Knowledge is the greatest defense against anxiety.  If you have specific fears, talk to Dr. Marinic about them. Dr. Marinic can go a long way to dispel any negative or frightening images you may have.

Are there medications that can help me relax?

Taking a pillDr. Marinic can prescribe and administer medications to help patients relax during the appointment.  Talk to him about your concerns and ask him about the possibility of using dental sedation.

Sedation dentistry involves the use of medications to allow you to relax and feel sleepy during a dental visit or procedure.  However, sedation is not pain medication, so you may still require local anesthesia, depending upon the treatment. 

There are a variety of sedation dentistry methods.  The most common types IV sedation dentistryare inhaled sedation, which involves breathing in a mixture of nitrous oxide (laughing gas) and oxygen, and oral sedatives, which are medications taken by mouth. Another type of dental sedation is intravenous (IV) sedation, which is provided by dentists with specialized training in IV sedation.

Sedation is safe when administered by dentists who are trained in its use. However, as with any medication, sedation involves a certain amount of risk.  It is important to talk to your dentist about these risks.

What should I do if I am seeing a new dentist?

Dr. Marinic talking to patientIf you are seeing Dr. Marinic for the first time, schedule an appointment for a visit.  This initial visit doesn’t require a cleaning or treatment, just conversation and a tour of the office. Take the opportunity to ask Dr. Marinic and his team questions and address your concerns.  You’ll find that a dentist who takes the time to speak with you about your anxiety will understand when it comes to addressing your other concerns.

Dentures – Are they Efficient?

What is a denture?

DenturesA denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth and adjoining tissues.  Complete dentures replace all of the teeth, while a partial denture fills in the spaces created by missing teeth and prevents other teeth from shifting position.  Complete dentures are either “conventional” or “immediate.”  A conventional denture is placed in the mouth after all of the teeth have been removed and the extraction sites have healed.  An immediate denture is placed as soon as the teeth are removed.

Who needs a denture?

Did you know that the chewing efficiency for people with dentures is Old man no teethapproximately 30% from those with all their teeth?  Candidates for complete dentures have lost most or all of their teeth.  So the efficiency has gone from 0% with no teeth to 30% with dentures. 

A partial denture is suitable for those who have some natural teeth remaining. A denture improves chewing ability and speech, and provides support for facial muscles.  A denture can greatly enhance a patient’s facial appearance and smile.

How do you get a denture?

Wax try inThe denture process takes about one month.  There are usually five or more appointments needed to complete the process. The process includes the initial diagnosis; the making of an impression and wax bite to determine the dimensions and proper jaw position; a “try-in” to assure proper color, shape, and fit; placement of the final denture; and any minor adjustments. New denture wearers need time to get accustomed to their new “teeth,” Soft foodbecause even the best-fitting dentures will feel awkward at first. Your normal speaking ability usually resumes shortly after final denture placement.  In addition, in order to become accustomed to chewing with the new denture, it is often recommended that you start with soft, easy-to-chew foods.  To ensure proper fit, see Dr. Marinic on a regular basis.

How do you care for a denture?

  • Remove and brush the denture daily with a denture cleanser or toothpaste and a brush designed specifically for cleaning dentures.
  • Avoid using boiling water to sterilize the denture, because hot water can cause the denture to lose its shape.
  • If you wear a partial denture, remove it before brushing your natural teeth.
  • When you’re not wearing the denture, soak it in denture cleanser or water.
  • To avoid misplacing your denture, store it in the same place after removal.

Should a denture be worn at night?

While you may be advised to wear your denture almost continually during the first two weeks—even while you sleep—under normal Dentures in glasscircumstances, it is considered best to remove it at night.  Research has shown that removing the denture for at least eight hours during either the day or night allows the gum tissue to rest, and permits for normal stimulation and cleansing of the mouth by the tongue and saliva. This promotes better long-term health of the gums.

Are there any alternatives to dentures?

Dentures are no longer the only way to restore a mouth that has little or noimplant-overdenture teeth.  Dental implants are artificial tooth roots that are surgically anchored into your jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge in place.  Implants and bridges may more closely resemble the “feel” of real teeth, but they tend to be more expensive than dentures.  The chewing efficiency for implant retained dentures goes up to 60% and for implant supported dentures up to 90%.  Not everyone is a candidate for implants and bridges, however.  Talk to Dr. Marinic to learn more.

Cardiovascular Disease and Your Oral Health

Large group of peopleCardiovascular disease is a class of disease that affects the heart and/or blood vessels.  It is estimated that more than 80 million people in the United States have one or more forms of cardiovascular disease.  These forms include

  • High blood pressure
  • Coronary heart disease (acute heart attack and angina pectoris)
  • Stroke
  • Heart failure

Studies have shown that there is a link between cardiovascular disease andImage gum disease periodontal (gum) disease, the chronic inflammation and infection of the gums and surrounding tissue.  Forms of gum disease, such as gingivitis (gum inflammation) and periodontitis (bone loss), can be indicators for cardiovascular problems, which is why it is important for individuals at risk for cardiovascular disease to visit Dr. Marinic on a regular basis, practice good oral hygiene, and keep Dr. Marinic informed of any oral and overall health issues.

How are periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease connected?

circulatory systemIt has been suggested that the inflammatory proteins and bacteria associated with gum disease enter a person’s bloodstream and can cause various effects on the cardiovascular system.  A study published in the February 2005 issue of Circulation examined the presence of the bacteria known to cause periodontitis and the thickening of the blood vessel wall typically seen in heart disease.  After examining samples from more than 650 participants, the investigators concluded that the presence of the same bacteria known to cause periodontitis was associated with an increased level of blood vessel thickening.

What can I do to keep my gums and heart healthy?Woman brushing teeth

Practicing proper oral hygiene is essential to maintaining healthy gums.  This includes flossing regularly, brushing twice a day with antibacterial toothpaste, and visiting Dr. Marinic at least every six months.  A healthy diet and regular exercise can help improve both your cardiovascular health and your overall health.

What do my physician and Dr. Marinic need to know?

Pill bottlesIt is important to keep all medical professionals up-to-date on your oral and overall health issues.  Inform your physician if you have been diagnosed with a form of periodontal disease or are experiencing any issues with gum inflammation.

Likewise, inform Dr. Marinic if you have been diagnosed with any form of cardiovascular disease, have experienced any cardiovascular problems, or have a family history of cardiovascular disease.

What other risk factors are associated with cardiovascular disease?

Individuals who are most at risk for cardiovascular disease include:

  • People over the age of 65
  • African-Americans
  • Hispanics
  • Males

While these particular factors cannot be changed, there are some risk factors that you can change through lifestyle management and/or medical treatment to reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease. These risk factors include:

  • Smokingsitting on couch
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Physical inactivity
  • Obesity
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Stress

If you have any questions, be sure to ask Dr. Marinic or your physician.

Pacifiers – Beware of Their Problems

Baby with pacifierPacifiers can be great for children, especially during their first six months.  In addition to its calming effect, pacifier use in infants can help decrease the risk of sudden infant death syndrome and aid in the development of jaw muscles.  Although pacifier use is generally a healthy habit within the first two years of life, continued or improper use may ultimately have a negative impact on your child’s oral and overall health.

Potential pacifier problemsOlder child with pacifier

Pacifier use typically is acceptable after an infant is 1 month old and has had sufficient time to develop a healthy breast-feeding habit.  However, experts recommend that children stop using pacifiers after age 2, when it becomes more of a habit than a developmental need.  Research shows that continued pacifier use, especially after age 2, often is associated with:

  • Increased risk of middle ear infection
  • Improper growth of the mouth
  • Misalignment of teeth
  • Dental cross bite and/or open bite
  • Development of a thumb-sucking habit

Parents should aim to rid children of their pacifier habit before age 2 to avoid associated emotional and habitual attachments to the objects.

Tips for correct pacifier use

For infants, correct use and care of pacifiers must be considered. Here are a few tips:

  • Purchase orthodontically designed pacifiersOrthodontic pacifier
  • Clean pacifiers regularly
  • Check frequently for cracks or discoloration in the pacifiers’ rubber. Discard if damaged
  • Replace old pacifiers
  • Wash pacifiers prior to first use
  • Do not tie pacifiers around your infant’s neck
  • Offer pacifiers after and between meals, before naps, or at bedtime

Following these basic rules will help ensure your infant’s pacifier use is both safe and healthy.

Proper pacifier cleaning

The shape and materials of pacifiers make them susceptible to colonization by bacterial organisms, including Staphylococcus, which causes staph infections.  To prevent the spread of bacteria and disease, clean your child’s pacifiers at least once a day.

They can bSoap and watere cleaned using mild soap and water.  When cleaning pacifiers, make sure to remove all excess water from the nipple, where it can collect and cause bacterial growth.  Also, pacifiers that are dishwasher safe can be cleaned easily in the dishwasher; just follow the instructions on the pacifier package.

Saying goodbye to the pacifier

For some infants, giving up the pacifier can be difficult, especially if theyMother rocking child become emotionally attached to the habit.  Parents looking to wean their children from the pacifier can begin by offering other alternatives, including:

  • Rocking motions, singing, or music before naps or at bedtime
  • Activities and games
  • Toys

To further help break the pacifier habit, parents also can:

  • Limit pacifier use gradually over time
  • Reduce pacifier satisfaction by piercing the pacifier’s nipple
  • Dip the pacifier in a safe but undesirable flavor, such as white vinegar
  • Go “cold turkey” and refuse to offer the pacifier.

If you have more questions or want more information regarding pacifier use, talk to your child’s pediatrician or Dr. Marinic.

Diabetes and Your Oral Health

Child and mom looking at eachotherIt is estimated that up to 20 million people have diabetes, but only two-thirds of these individuals are diagnosed.  Studies have shown that diabetics are more susceptible to the development of oral infections and periodontal (gum) disease than those who do not have diabetes.  This relationship causes great concern because serious gum disease may have the potential to affect blood sugar control and contribute to the progression of diabetes.  That’s why it’s important for people with diabetes to visit Dr. Marinic on a regular basis and to keep him up to date on the status of the diabetic’s oral and overall health.

How are gum disease and diabetes related?Tooth erosion

Because diabetes reduces the body’s resistance to infection, the gums are at risk for gingivitis, a reversible form of gum disease usually caused by the presence of bacteria.  These bacteria produce toxins that create a sticky film that accumulates on teeth, both above and below the gum line, leading to inflammation.  If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, an irreversible destruction of the tissues that surround and support the teeth.

ThrushWhat other problems are associated with diabetes?

Other oral problems associated with diabetes include thrush (candidiasis), an infection caused by a fungus that grows in the mouth, and dry mouth, which can cause soreness, ulcers, infections, and cavities.  To prevent problems with bacterial infections in the mouth, Dr. Marinic may prescribe antibiotics, medicated mouth rinses and more frequent cleanings.

How can I stay healthy?

ToothpasteBrush your teeth with an antimicrobial toothpaste containing fluoride and rinse with antimicrobial mouthwash at least two times a day.  People with diabetes who receive good dental care and have good insulin control typically have a better chance of avoiding gum disease.

To improve their quality of life and their oralTesting for diabetes health, people with diabetes need to pay close attention to diet and exercise. People with diabetes should be sure that both their medical and dental care providers are aware of their medical history and periodontal status.

To keep teeth and gums strong, those with diabetes should be aware of their blood sugar levels in addition to having their triglycerides and cholesterol levels checked on a regular basis.

What is the best time to receive dental care?

Waking upIf your blood sugar is not under control, talk with both Dr. Marinic and physician about receiving elective dental care.  Types of dental procedures and appointment length are dependent on the level of diabetic control.  Try to schedule morning appointments because blood glucose levels tend to be more stable at this time of day.  If you have a scheduled appointment, eat and take your medications as directed.  See Dr. Marinic on a regular basis and keep him informed of your health status,

Periodontal Disease for Two – Oral Health and Pregnancy

Pregnant womanIf you’re planning to become pregnant or suspect you’re already pregnant,it’s important that you see Dr. Marinic right away.  Pregnancy may cause unexpected oral health changes due to hormones—particularly an increase in estrogen and progesterone—which can exaggerate the way in which gum tissues react to plaque.  Research continues to show that overall health and oral health coincide, so it’s especially important for you to maintain good oral hygiene throughout your pregnancy.  Visiting Dr. Marinic will allow him to assess your oral condition and map out a dental plan for the remainder of your pregnancy.

How does plaque build-up affect me?

When plaque isn’t removed, it can cause gingivitis—red, swollen, tender gums that are more likely to bleed.  So-called “pregnancy gingivitis” affects most pregplaque on teethnant women to some degree and generally begins to surface as early as the second month of pregnancy.  If you already have gingivitis, the condition is likely to worsen during pregnancy.  Untreated gingivitis can lead to periodontitis, a more serious form of gum disease that includes bone loss.

How does gingivitis affect my baby’s health?Premature baby

Research suggests a link between pre-term delivery, low birth weight babies, and gingivitis.  Excessive bacteria can enter the bloodstream through your gums; the bacteria can travel to the uterus, triggering the production of chemicals called prostaglandins, which are suspected to induce premature labor.

How can I prevent gingivitis?

Pregant woman eatingYou can prevent gingivitis by keeping your teeth clean, especially near the gumline.  You should brush with fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day and after each meal when possible.  You also should floss each day.  Good nutrition keeps the oral cavity healthy and strong; in particular, you should get plenty of vitamins C and B12.  More frequent cleanings from Dr. Marinic also will help control plaque and prevent gingivitis.

What are pregnancy tumors?

Pregnant women are at risk for developing pregnancy tumors—inflpyogenic granuloma (pregnancy tumor) - Before - 1ammatory, non-cancerous growths that develop between the teeth or when swollen gums become irritated.  These localized growths or swellings are believed to be related to excess plaque.  Normally, the tumors are left alone and will usually shrink on their own after the baby’s birth; however, if a tumor is uncomfortable and interferes with chewing, brushing, or other oral hygiene procedures, Dr. Marinic may decide to have it removed.

Are there any dental procedures I should avoid?

Routine exams and cleanings can be performed throughout pregnancy; however, non-emergency procedures should only be performed during the second trimester of pregnancy.  Dental emergencies that create severe pain can be treated during any trimester, but your obstetrician should be consulted during any emergency that requires anesthesia or whenever medication is prescribed.  X-rays should only be taken for emergency situations.  Lastly, elective and cosmetic procedures should be postponed until after the baby’s birth.  

Because every woman is different, it’s best to discuss and determine a treatment plan with Dr.Marinic.

Dental Plaque – The Enemy to Our Teeth

Infant smilingIt’s important to keep you and your children’s teeth clean and healthy, and you can help do this by teaching them how to reduce the amount of plaque on their teeth.

What is plaque?

Plaque is a sticky layer of bacteria-containing film that accumulates on teeth, plaque on teethespecially in places where toothbrushes can’t reach.  Many of the foods that we eat cause the bacteria in the mouth to produce acids.  Sugary foods are obvious sources of plaque, but starches—such as bread, crackers, and cereal—also can cause acids to form.

How does plaque affect the mouth?

Image of plaque on gumsPlaque produces bacteria that irritate the gums, making them red, sensitive, and susceptible to bleeding.  Consistent plaque buildup can cause tooth enamel to wear away, which will result in cavities.  Plaque that is not removed with thorough daily brushing and cleaning between teeth eventually can harden into calculus or tartar.  This makes it more difficult to keep the teeth clean.

When tartar collects above the gumline, the gum tissue can become swollen and may bleed easily.  This is called gingivitis, the early stage of gum disease.  You can prevent plaque buildup and keep teeth cavity-free by regularly visiting Dr. Marinic, brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, and cleaning between the teeth with dental floss daily.

How can I reduce the plaque on my teeth and my child’s teeth?

The best way to remove plaque is by teaching your child to brush his or herParent and child brushing teeth teeth, just like you do, for at least two minutes twice per day.  Brushing removes the plaque from tooth surfaces.  Be sure to show your child how to use a soft-bristled toothbrush, and instruct them to use a proper circular motion when brushing teeth and gums.  Make sure to teach your child to brush the tongue as well; this removes bacteria and freshens breath.

Mother and child flossing togetherYou can teach your child to remove plaque from between his or her teeth by using floss once a day.  Start flossing between your child’s teeth as soon as they have two teeth that touch each other (after 1 year old).  Your child should continue to floss as they grow older so that it becomes part of their oral hygiene routine.  In addition to brushing, daily flossing is essential for preventing tooth decay and gum disease.

How can my child and I maintain good oral hygiene?

Lead by example and practice good oral hygiene yourself!

Teach your child about the importance of good oral hygiene, and be sure that you and your child brush their teeth for at least two minutes twice per day.  In addition to brushing, you and your child should floss at least once per day.

Further, be sure that you and your child go to Dr. Marinic’s dental office for cleanings and checkups.  Getting you and your child’s teeth cleaned regularly can help prevent gum disease, remove tartar and plaque buildup, and eliminate stains that regular brushing and flossing can’t.  Dr. Marinic also can examine you and your child’s entire mouth and detect issues early—before they become bigger, more painful problems.