An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, right? Well, we’ve said it before, we’ll say it again, little issues now could become big problems later.
When it comes to your mouth there is never any good reason to put off taking care of the little issues. If it’s the difference between a cleaning and a root canal, which would you choose?
Nighttime Teeth Grinding
If you grind your teeth at night you could be in for more than just a headache. Constantly grinding and clenching your teeth can cause serious damage.
Most teeth grinding (bruxism) is done subconsciously at night. About 70% of cases are associated with stress and anxiety. Bruxism during the day can happen as well, though it’s more likely to be clenching rather than actual grinding.
Being unconscious of your nighttime teeth grinding can prolong the damage so look at the symptoms and talk to Dr. Matthews to see if bruxism could be the cause.
Headaches, earaches and jaw pain are just the tip of the iceberg. It can wear down your teeth and at worst, cause you to have all of your teeth crowned. Damage to the temporomandibular joints (TMJ) can lead to tightness, pain and even locking of the joint. It’s also shown to have a strong association with obstructive sleep apnea, which can have its own laundry list of complications.
Treating bruxism is fairly easy with a simple visit to the dentist. Mouth guards and other behavioral therapies are usually the first treatments to be recommended.
Mandibular advancement devices (MADs), mouth guards and splints protect your teeth from further damage. Muscle relaxation exercises and sleep hygiene, as well as quitting smoking and reducing alcohol intake can help manage your symptoms. Sometimes even changing the position you sleep in can help.
Removing Wisdom Teeth
About two-thirds of people will experience problems with their wisdom teeth. The rest of us usually opt for the surgery just to avoid the many problems that can come with keeping them.
The wisdom teeth, or third molars, are often misaligned and require removal. They become impacted, meaning they are either fully or partially stuck below the gum line, because they emerge late after the jaw has stopped growing (17-25 years old).
Gum disease and cavities often plague these hard-to-reach teeth. If your wisdom teeth do break through your gums only partway, a flap of gum tissue can grow over them. Food particles can get trapped underneath the flap and become infected. Even cysts and tumors can develop which can become cancerous.
Still thinking of putting it off? The risk of post-op complications and recovery time go up the older you get so if your wisdom teeth seem to be a problem, make an appointment with Dr. Matthews ASAP.
Scheduling a Checkup
We all know regular dental check-ups are recommended, usually twice a year. But are you really aware of all the problems that a simple check-up can uncover?
Cavities are the most common issue, caused by bacteria that dissolve the enamel of your teeth. Dental caries, also called cavities or tooth decay, are holes or dark spots that are caused by bacteria that has dissolved the enamel of your teeth. Eventually the decay will reach the nerve inside the tooth. The earlier cavities are caught and treated, the less likely you are to require more serious procedures like root canals or extractions.
Oral cancer affects nearly 37,000 Americans every year. The Oral Cancer Foundation estimates that someone dies from oral cancer once every hour! This death rate is so high because oral cancer is usually found in the late stages and is difficult to treat. Early detection is key.
Your dental health is a window into your overall health. Gum disease, the leading cause of tooth loss in America, is also linked to many systemic illnesses including diabetes, lung disease and pancreatic cancer.
If you haven’t seen a dentist in over six months call Dr. Matthews today to schedule a visit. It’s so much better to catch problems early before they become dangerous.
Missing teeth affect more than just your self-image. Whether they’re lost to tooth decay or an errant baseball, losing an adult tooth will cause the remaining teeth to shift and become crooked.
It will become difficult to speak and chew food properly and your diet may suffer. The bite force your jaw exerts will change to compensate for the lost tooth which causes more stress to the existing teeth.
Your teeth are actually what stimulate your jawbone. If you’re missing a tooth the bone begins to deteriorate and your gums begin to shrink. It can even cause you to lose the surrounding teeth.
The good news is there are a number of ways to replace a missing tooth. Dentures, full or partial, are a set of false teeth that fit over the gums. Dental bridges use a series of dental crowns to replace one or several teeth in a row. Dental implants are the most stable of all tooth replacement treatments. It surgically places an implant into the jaw bone which is used as an anchor to hold the dentures in place.
There isn’t any reason to put off getting these problems addressed. Make an appointment with Dr. Matthews now before they become bigger issues for your health and your pocketbook.