Tongue Thrust

What is tongue thrust?
Tongue thrusting is the habit of pushing the tongue forward between the upper and lower front teeth when swallowing. The proper position for the tip of the tongue is to push against the gum above the back of the upper front teeth, rather than between the upper and lower teeth. Dentists are concerned with the effects of tongue thrusting as they may result in a malocclusion or misalignment of the teeth. Tongue thrusting is a very treatable condition, but it involves the insight of dentists, physicians and speech specialists to ensure the condition is treated well. When identified early, this guidance will prove beneficial to the patient and lead to a lifetime of good oral health.

What are some signs of having a tongue thrust problem?
• Frequent open-mouth resting posture with the lips parted and/or the tongue resting against the upper and/or lower teeth
• Lips that is often cracked, chapped, and sore from frequent licking
• Frequent mouth breathing in the absence of allergies or nasal congestion
• The tongue is visible between the teeth. The tip of the tongue sticks out between the teeth, whether the child is resting, swallowing, or speaking.
• Mouth breathing.
• Inability to close the lips completely. This could be due to a structural abnormality or habit.
• Open bite. An open bite occurs when the front teeth don’t meet when the teeth are closed.
• Slow, fast, or messy eating.
• Speech impediment. Lisping of s and z sounds is common.

How is tongue thrust diagnosed?
A number of different healthcare professionals can diagnose tongue thrust, including:
• general practitioners
• pediatricians
• speech language pathologists
• dentists
• orthodontists
• Your or your child’s doctor may observe the way you speak and swallow.
Some practitioners may evaluate swallowing patterns by holding down the bottom lip to watch how you or your child swallows. Specifically, your doctor will want to see where the tongue is placed when swallowing.

How is tongue thrust treated?
Treatment for tongue thrust tends to be similar between children and adults.
One exception is the placement of an orthodontic device known as a “tongue crib” in the roof of a child’s mouth. In some cases, adults receive orthodontic treatment as well.
Sometimes the recommended treatment is an ongoing therapy that corrects the placement of the lips, jaw, and tongue. This therapy addresses swallowing habits, too. In addition to swallowing therapy, you or your child might require speech therapy to correct any impediments that may have developed as a result of tongue thrusting.

Bruxism

What is Bruxism?
Bruxism is the technical name for teeth grinding, clenching the jaw, or the “lock jaw” that sometimes happens to people as they sleep or concentrate. It can happen while sleeping or while awake; consciously or without knowing it; to adults as well as to children. Grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw is more than nervous habits to be ignored; such acts can mean serious problems for oral health, including excessive tooth wear and/or the development of Temporomandibular joint. Common symptoms include sore jaw muscles or joints, sore teeth, dull headaches, and restless sleep.

How Do I Find Out if I Grind My Teeth?
Because grinding often occurs during sleep, most people are unaware that they grind their teeth. However, a dull, constant headache or sore jaw when you wake up is a telltale symptom of bruxism. Many times people learn that they grind their teeth by their loved one who hears the grinding at night.

If you suspect you may be grinding your teeth, talk to your dentist. He or she can examine your mouth and jaw for signs of bruxism, such as jaw tenderness and excessive wear on your teeth.

Why Is Teeth Grinding Harmful?
In some cases, chronic teeth grinding can result in a fracturing, loosening, or loss of teeth. The chronic grinding may wear teeth down to stumps. When these events happen, bridges, crowns, root canals, implants, partial dentures, and even complete dentures may be needed.Not only can severe grinding damage teeth and result in tooth loss, it can also affect your jaws, cause or worsen TMD/TMJ, and even change the appearance of your face.

How can you correct Bruxism?
The simplest solution for preventing damage to teeth from bruxism is the use of a professionally made mouth guard. If you detect any of the warning signs mentioned above, then tell your dentist and make a visit to the clinic. Excessive wear on the back molars and enamel loss both indicate bruxism, and both are signs your dentist will look for. A mouth guard for teeth grinding is a custom-fitted oral appliance that is made of plastic. This type of mouth guard is worn during sleep and prevents the teeth from scraping against each other. By addressing bruxism early with professional treatment, you can prevent widespread damage to your teeth.

What are the long term precautions to be taken for Bruxism?
Certainly, a mouth guard is a good start. However, other preventive actions can be taken to help fight bruxism. For people of all ages, regular exercise is a stress reducer, which, in turn, can directly reduce bruxism. For adults, it may help to cut down on stimulants (such as tobacco and caffeine). Regular dental exams (twice a year) can help catch damage caused by bruxism. If a patient’s teeth are cracked, misaligned, or teeth are missing, restorative treatment is necessary. If bruxism is linked to stress, anxiety, or other mental health conditions, your doctor may recommend Stress Management Treatment.

Dental Veneers

What are dental veneers?
Dental veneers are thin, custom-made shells that dentists can place on the front of the teeth to improve their appearance. Veneers can hide stained, chipped, and uneven teeth. Dental veneers can change the appearance of a person’s teeth.

What Types of Problems Do Dental Veneers Fix?
Veneers are routinely used to fix teeth that are discolored because of:
• root canal treatment
• stains from tetracycline or other drugs
• excessive fluoride
• large resin fillings
• Teeth that are worn down
• Teeth that are chipped or broken
• Teeth that are misaligned, uneven, or irregularly shaped (for example, have craters or bulges in them)
• Teeth with gaps between them (to close the space between these teeth)

What are the different types of veneers?
Dental veneers are most commonly made out of porcelain. Applying traditional dental veneers requires more intensive prep work compared to alternatives that are sometimes called “no-prep veneers.” These no-prep veneers— take less time and are less invasive to apply. Applying traditional dental veneers typically involves grinding down the tooth structure, sometimes removing some of the tooth even past the enamel. This allows for proper placement, but it’s also an irreversible procedure that can be painful to go through and often requires a local anesthetic. No-prep veneers, on the other hand, may require some tooth preparation or alteration, but these alterations are minimal. Instead of removing layers of tooth under the enamel, no-prep veneers only affect the enamel. In many cases, no-prep veneers don’t require local anesthetics.
Veneers aren’t the same as tooth implants or crowns. Veneers cover the front surface of the tooth. Implants, on the other hand, replace the entire tooth. Crowns also encase the entire tooth, while veneers only cover the front surface of the tooth (which is visible with a smile).

Why opt for dental veneers?
For some people, having damaged or discolored teeth can affect their confidence or self-esteem. Veneers can fix chips, cracks, gaps between teeth, minor misalignment and/or discoloration — they help correct many cosmetic dental issues! Dental veneers are a long-term solution to cosmetic tooth problems. Plus, veneers are difficult to stain, making them popular for people seeking a perfect smile.

Why dental veneers are long term solution to cosmetic problems?
Dental veneers may be beneficial for people who want a long-term solution to persistent cosmetic concerns — particularly those that do not respond to other dental treatments. If you’re looking for an easier way to whiten your smile for good, dental veneers may be a great fit for you. Veneers are attached to the front surfaces of your teeth — so while they don’t change the position of your teeth, they do camouflage minor orthodontic problems once they’re applied. Your natural teeth may still be gapped or crooked, but nobody will know aside from you and your dentist.

Dental Sealants (Pit and Fissure Sealants )

What are Dental Sealants?
Sealants are a safe and painless way of protecting your teeth from decay. A sealant is a protective plastic coating, which is applied to the biting surfaces of the back teeth. The sealant forms a hard shield that keeps food and bacteria from getting into the tiny grooves in the teeth and causing decay. Sealants are often applied as soon as the permanent teeth start to come through. This is usually between 6 and 7 years of age. The rest are usually sealed as soon as they appear which can be any time between 11 and 14 years of age.

Who Should Get Sealants?
Because of the likelihood of developing decay in the depressions and grooves of the premolars and molars, children and teenagers are candidates for sealants. However, adults without decay or fillings in their molars can also benefit from sealants.

Typically, children should get sealants on their permanent molars and premolars as soon as these teeth come in. In this way, the sealants can protect the teeth through the cavity-prone years of ages 6 to 14.

What are the Benefits of Dental Sealants for your teeth?
Dental sealants work to coat and seal the grooves and hollows, preventing even the most the harmful bacteria from building up on the tooth. The size and depth of the hollows and grooves in your child’s teeth will determine whether he or she can benefit from the application of a sealant. These sealants are typically used on the molars and premolars at the back of the mouth, as these are the teeth that most frequently develop surface irregularities. Sealants act to prevent bacteria growth that can lead to dental decay.

How Are Sealants Applied?
Applying sealant is a simple and painless process. It takes only a few minutes for your dentist or hygienist to apply the sealant to seal each tooth. The application steps are as follows:
• First the teeth that are to be sealed are thoroughly cleaned.
• Each tooth is then dried, and cotton or another absorbent material is put around the tooth to keep it dry.
• An acid solution is put on the chewing surfaces of the teeth to roughen them up, which helps the sealant bond to the teeth.
• The teeth are then rinsed and dried.
• Sealant is then painted onto the tooth enamel, where it bonds directly to the tooth and hardens. Sometimes a special curing light is used to help the sealant harden.

Why opt for Dental Sealants?
Evidence suggests that fissure sealants are effective in preventing caries in children and adolescents compared to no sealants. Pit and fissure sealants are a safe and effective way to prevent dental caries and should be considered as part of an overall caries-preventive strategy. Sealants usually last for many years, but your dentist will want to check them regularly to make sure that the seal is still intact. They can wear over time, and sometimes the dentist needs to add or replace some sealant to be sure that no decay can start underneath them.

How Long Do Sealants Last?
Sealants can protect teeth from decay for up to 10 years, but they need to be checked for chipping or wearing at regular dental check-ups. Your dentist can replace sealants as necessary.

Root Canal Treatment

What is root canal treatment?
Deep decay, Repeated dental procedures on the tooth, crack or chip in the tooth or an injury to a tooth may cause pulp damage even if the tooth has no visible chips or cracks. If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can cause pain or lead to an abscess.There is also countless practical reasons why saving the natural tooth is a wise choice. Root canal treatment helps you maintain your natural smile, continue eating the foods you love and limits the need for ongoing dental work. With proper care, most teeth that have had root canal treatment can last a lifetime.

Why Does Tooth Pulp Need to Be Removed?
When a tooth’s nerve tissue or pulp is damaged, it breaks down and bacteria begin to multiply within the pulp chamber. The bacteria and other decayed debris can cause an infection or abscessed tooth. An abscess is a pus-filled pocket that forms at the end of the roots of the tooth. An abscess happens when the infection spreads all the way past the ends of the roots of the tooth. An infection in the root canal of a tooth can also cause:

• Swelling that may spread to other areas of the face, neck, or head
• Bone loss around the tip of the root
• Drainage problems extending outward from the root. A hole can occur through the side of the tooth with drainage into the gums or through the cheek with drainage into the skin.

What Are the Signs That a Root Canal Is Needed?
If you need a root canal, you may notice these signs:
• Tooth sensitivity that lingers, especially to heat or cold
• Sharp pain when chewing or biting
• Pimples on your gums
• Chipped or cracked teeth
• Swollen or painful gums
• Deep decay or darkened gums

How can you benefit from the treatment?
Root canal treatment eliminates the infection from the dental pulp and provides the much-needed relief from the excruciating pain. Many people are anxious and have apprehensions that they may experience pain during the course of treatment. But your dentists take proper measures so that you do not feel any pain. Moreover, it is an absolutely safe procedure and you can feel it’s positive effects soon after the treatment.

What happens after a root canal treatment?
A successful outcome for root canal treatment relies on adequate removal of micro-organisms from the canal system and prevention of recurrence of residual micro-organisms through restoring the teeth with a satisfactory seal and placing a crown post the procedure. Conventional root canal treatment has been shown to be highly successful with restoration of function of teeth.