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Posts for: October, 2016

By Endodontics & Periodontics Associates, PA
October 23, 2016
Category: Oral Health

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.”

By Endodontics & Periodontics Associates, PA
October 13, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dental implants  

Ever wondered how these metal restorations can replace your missing teeth?

You want to treat your tooth loss but you want a restoration that will actually last a long time. While you may have heard about dental dental implantsimplants and know that they are popular, you may not know much about them or how they can easily replace missing teeth. From the office of our Tampa, FL periodontists, Dr. Maria Torres and Dr. Alberto Ruiz, find out what makes a dental implant function like a real tooth.

Once you get a dental implant in Tampa, you’ll finally understand what all the hype is about. After all, there is no other restoration that is designed to look, feel and even work just like real teeth. You even brush and floss your implant like you would the rest of your natural smile.

Once we conduct a thorough evaluation, in which we examine your smile and determine if you are a good candidate for implants, we will start to create your treatment plan. This treatment plan will involve how many implants we need to place, where we need to place them and what kind of dental restoration the implants are going to support.

The next step is to perform surgery to place the dental implant into the jawbone. It’s important to know that dental implants act just like tooth roots and are designed to support a dental crown or other tooth replacement (e.g. dentures). An implant is a small metal post that is usually made from titanium because this metal is biocompatible (meaning that the body is less likely to reject it).

Once the implant is placed into the jawbone it is given a couple months to heal. During this healing period the bone and tissue will start to regrow. As they regrow they will grow around and fuse together with the implant to become one. This has now created a long-lasting foundation from which to hold a dental crown.

Once the implant and jawbone are bonded a small attachment called an abutment is placed on top of the implant. The abutment’s sole purpose is to connect the implant, which is under the gums and not visible, with the dental crown or other restoration. Since this will require us to open up the gums to place the abutment we will need to wait a couple more weeks to let your gums heal before we cement a dental crown in place.

Don’t dental implants sound like a wonderful solution for your tooth loss? If so, then it’s time to find out if you’re a good candidate for this tooth replacement. Call Endodontics & Periodontics Associates of Tampa Bay today to schedule your consultation with our Tampa, FL dental implant experts.

By Endodontics & Periodontics Associates, PA
October 08, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: mouth sores  

They seemingly pop up out of the blue inside your mouth: tiny sores that are sometimes painful — and always annoying. Then, in about a week to ten days these small, irritating lesions are gone.

They're known as canker sores: the most common break out in the linings of the mouth, including the cheeks, lips, under the tongue or even the back of the throat. Medically known as aphthous ulcers, you'll recognize these round lesions by their yellow-gray center surrounded by a red “halo.”

You might feel a tingling sensation a couple of days before an outbreak. Once they appear they usually last a week to ten days; during that time they can cause discomfort especially while eating or drinking.

We don't know fully what causes canker sores, but it's believed they're related to abnormalities in the immune system, the processes in the body that fight infection and disease. High stress or anxiety and certain acidic or spicy foods like citrus fruit or tomato sauce also seem to trigger them.

Most people experience canker sores that range in intensity from slight discomfort to sometimes severe pain. But about 20-25% of people, mostly women, have an acute form known as recurrent aphthous stomatitis (RAS). Thought to be hereditary, RAS produces clusters of ulcers that are almost always painful, and which come and go on a regular basis.

Our main treatment goal with canker sores is to decrease discomfort while the outbreak runs its course and promote rapid healing. There are over-the-counter ointments that often prove effective. For more resistant symptoms we can also prescribe topical or injectable steroids or other medications.

Canker sores are rarely concerning as a significant health issue. You should, however, take an outbreak seriously if it hasn't healed within two weeks, if the outbreaks seem to be increasing in frequency or severity, or you're never without a sore in your mouth. In these cases, we may need to take a tissue sample of the lesion to biopsy for signs of cancer, pre-cancer or some other skin disease.

More than likely, though, the canker sore will be benign albeit annoying. With effective treatment, though, you can get through the outbreak with only a minimal amount of discomfort.

If you would like more information on treating canker sores, 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 “Mouth Sores.”