Good People of Falkirk: My Teeth are Getting Shorter!
Patients ask me Doctor, my teeth are getting shorter!! I used to be be able to see my teeth when I smiled but now I cant see them! Whats happening?
On examination of the patient I find that the teeth are indeed short and the cause of this is the patients muscles working against their own teeth and wearing them down! This is called bruxism or tooth grinding. Tooth wear can be due to an external abrasive agent wearing them down such as a diet that is gritty in texture (abrasion) or by acids either from the diet (extrinsic acids ) or coming up from the stomach (intrinsic acids). So we have 3 types of loss of tooth tissue that is not as a result of tooth decay. These are abrasion, attrition and erosion! We are concerned with attrition (tooth/tooth contact) in you folks out there that are grinding their teeth.
Tooth grinding affects around 40% of the population and the majority of you guys out their will do it when your sleeping. So often you are not aware that you are doing, because your sleeping!
Okay now teeth are the hardest tissue in the whole entire body, in fact tooth enamel (that’s the white material that you see on your teeth) is so strong that us dentists have to use specially designed turbine (drills) with diamond tips to remove tooth tissue.
If I was to ask you to clench as hard as you can and if we could measure the forces that you would exert on your teeth we would get a reading of 30-40 pounds per squre inch. Okay this values will mean nothing in isolation its not until we compare it to the forces that you exert on your teeth when you are grinding whilst sleeping (Bruxing). The force rise from 30-40 all the way up to a huge 300-400 pounds per square inch! That my dear friends is a 10 fold increase in force that your jaw muscles can exert on your teeth. This force coupled with the side to side movement of the lower jaw causes enormous damage to your teeth.
Now folks lets take a step back and think about the time that teeth are normally in contact when you are awake. When you tally up (that’s add up!) the total contact time for tooth to tooth contact its around 12 minutes per day! The only time your teeth come together is when you swallow (try it) and when of course we are eating. Now when we are sleeping and you are grinding your teeth, the teeth can be in contact for 4-5 hours a night and as already stated sliding from side to side at forces that are much larger than when you are awake. This will do lots of damage to your own teeth.
Now here’s the next bit, studies have shown that folks that grind don’t fall into a deep sleep and in fact they have a very restless sleep, waking up in the morning feeling tired, not well rested and sometimes with pain in their jaws, face,neck or back! Not surprising because your jaw muscles been working out all night! Like going to gym afterward your muscles will feel sore!
During the consultation I will ask the patient about therir sleeping pattern and whether they are awre of grinding their teeth. Often the answer is that I don’t sleep well but I am not aware of grinding my teeth. I ask the patient to put the question to their partner, I have had aptients that have said that they don’t but I have still requested that they ask their partner. When they come back to see me the answer to the question much to the surprise of the patient is yes! I grind my teeth and it’s been driving my partner crazy for a number of years!
Tooth grinding left untreated can lead to multiple problems such as headaches, neck pain , back pain, shortening of teeth, breaking of teeth and fillings, nerve damage to teeth, damage to the jaw joint and a lack of restful sleep!
So, why am I doing it? I can hear you asking. It seems to be stress related and the theory is that it’s a build up of mental stress during the day and the releasing of this stress when your sleeping through the night resulting in the contraction (tightening) of your jaw muscles leading to the closure of your jaws and tooth to tooth contact, sliding from side to side.
The solution is simple pick up on the problem early and put things in place that will either stop you from grinding or stop you from wearing out your own teeth. That folks is for next time!
Dr Atif Bashir
Falkirk’s Life Transformational Dentist
- Category: Blog
A Guide to Cosmetic Bonding
Individuals unfortunate enough to suffer from a low self esteem due to the appearance of their teeth may feel at a loss as to what they can do to achieve the perfect smile.
Luckily, the emergence of cosmetic dentistry – coupled with its increasing accessibility – means it is not an impossible dream to enjoy a bright and straight set of pearly whites that can be showed off with confidence.
What is cosmetic dental bonding?
Dental bonding is a method that has been used in this type of practice for a number of years and is able to transform the smile in a single sitting in the professional’s chair. Usually, this course of action involves the use of the correct amount of coloured composite, which is a mouldable material with a paste-like consistency.
Created from acrylic resins and a variety of fillers, the substance is utilised for a number of cosmetic dental procedures, including:
Replacing metal or amalgam fillings
Repairing dental cavities
Fixing chipped and broken pearly whites
Smile makeovers – usually through the use of composite veneers
Can this be used for white fillings?
Dental composite bonding is a hugely popular choice for fillings due to the fact the material can match the shade, translucency and texture of the natural teeth, while providing a much better result than traditional options.
In many cases, cosmetic dentists will replace old metal fixtures, which are often unsightly, with the tooth-coloured substance.
There has been debate in the history of the profession regarding the safety of amalgam fillings containing mercury, with many professionals arguing the metal appliances must be removed using a safe protocol, involving the isolation of the pearly whites using a rubber dam material.
Can this method be used for all cavities?
Unfortunately, individuals who have large holes in their pearly whites will be unable to enjoy the benefits of composite bonding because the material does not have a strong structure over large areas.
This process is ideal for small fillings that are unlikely to be exposed to large forces, while recent advancements in the world of dentistry have resulted in many practitioners using CAD/CAM CEREC options to produce ceramic inlays.
With this method, the fitting possesses the advantage of both strength and aesthetics and can be fitted in the same visit within one hour. However, some may have their dental technicians produce a ceramic filling, which can take between two and three weeks.
What does the process entail?
Patients who require a local anaesthetic before the procedure is carried out will have the affected area injected by a dental professional. Following this, the tooth surface where the composite is set to be applied is thoroughly cleaned to remove any debris or tartar.
When the correct colour material has been selected, the pearly white is kept dry by surrounding it with cotton rolls or a latex sheet, then it is shaped or roughened using a specially-designed tool.
After this, the surface of the pearly white is etched with a phosphoric-acid-based gel, which provides a better surface for the substance to adhere to. The boding agent is applied to the etched area and exposed to a light source that activates, then sets.
When this is completed, the final step involves polishing and buffing the area to give the desired shape and smooth finish..
How much can I expect to pay?
The cost of the procedure is likely to vary depending on the type of process that is carried out, the materials used and the specific administrator.
- Category: Blog
Suffer From Sensitive Teeth??
Suffer from Sensitive teeth?
Here’s a great new solution for dealing with tooth sensitivity using the Waterlase Biolase dental laser.
The waterlase dental laser is not just any laser; it’s a hard and soft tissue laser that can be used to treat the gums and the teeth. Most lasers that are out there are soft tissue lasers that can only be used on the gum, to either remove it or to stop bleeding when we are carrying out dental treatments.
The waterlase biolase laser, as I’ve said is different it can be used on the gum but also more importantly on the teeth also.
This is because it is more technologically advanced and uses a different wavelength of light that can also interact with tooth tissue.
So how can it help tooth sensitivity I hear you say? Well before we go onto that we need to understand why we have sensitive teeth.
One of the main reasons for tooth sensitivity is exposure of the root surface of a tooth. The reasons for this can be covered at a later date. So all we need to know for just now is that if you have sensitive teeth the main cause of this may be because your gum around the tooth has shrunk and the root is now exposed.
The root of a tooth is not designed to be exposed and has tiny little holes in it that communicate with the nerve of the tooth on the inside; so when cold/hot things hit the exposed root surface we feel it! Ouch!
So in order to reduce the sensitivity we need to block these little holes on the root surface and this is exactly how sensitive tooth pastes work; by having little filler particles that fill the holes on the root surface. The problem with this is that the filler particles holes are different sizes; they can be too big or too small for the filler particles so how well they are blocked is anybody’s guess! The other problem is that they are washed out; in the mouth by saliva and things we eat and drink! Ouch! The sensitivity is back!
So by now we should know why our teeth are sensitive (roots of teeth are exposed that aren’t supposed to be) and what the solution is (block them)!
The laser does exactly this by gently closing off the holes on the root surface to the inside of the tooth using a specific wavelength of light. The procedure can be carried out with out any anaesthetic as the laser is used at a very low setting with minimal discomfort.
Last week I treated a medical doctor at Falkirk Dental Care for tooth sensitivity using the Biolase Waterlase MD laser and the procedure took one hour and the improvement in sensitivity was 80-90%. Now that’s what I call fantastic!
So if you suffer from sensitive teeth there is no need to suffer in silence any more go and see a Waterlase Laser Dentist today at Falkirk Dental Care.
- Category: Blog