Tetracycline Stained Teeth

Antibiotics are a proven way to treat a variety of illnesses, but unfortunately some of them come with side effects. Tetracycline is an antibiotic that, while fighting certain problems in your body, can negatively impact your teeth. If the medication is taken by children whose teeth are still forming, or by pregnant women, it’s possible that the child’s teeth will develop dark stains. This tooth discoloration is not something that can be outgrown, but will likely last a lifetime. However, there are some steps you can take to treat teeth discolored by tetracycline.

These teeth stains develop on permanent teeth while they are forming under the gums. Since they are formed within the teeth, removing the stains is difficult. Unlike stains caused by food or smoking, professional teeth cleaning doesn’t successfully remove the brown or gray tetracycline discoloration. Teeth whitening usually doesn’t greatly improve the appearance of these stains either.

So what can you do about these embarrassing tooth stains? First, talk with your dentist about your case to find out what treatments might work for you. If your stains are light, repeated laser whitening sessions or deep bleaching products may be helpful. More often, veneers are your best chance for restoring your smile. Created from thin shells of porcelain, veneers are cemented to the fronts of your teeth and provide a permanent solution. Porcelain veneers are durable, stain-resistant, and natural in appearance. Also, if a back tooth is noticeably dark, a dental crown may be used to completely cover the tooth.

If you suffer from tetracycline staining, don’t hesitate to consult your dentist for help. It’s better to remedy the problem instead of feeling self conscious about your teeth, because it’s likely that your smile can be beautiful with the restoration options available today.

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Bruxism: A Fancy Word for Teeth Grinding

When you grind or clench your teeth, it is called bruxism. It means that you clamp your top and bottom teeth together tightly, or that you rub them together. It often happens while you sleep. Most of the time this is something you do without even knowing it, and it’s left up to your dentist or family members to notice the problem.

Symptoms include:
Noises that may be loud enough to awaken others
Worn, chipped, or flattened teeth
Worn tooth enamel
Tooth sensitivity
Jaw pain or tired jaw muscles
Earache due to jaw muscle contractions
Headache
Facial pain
TMJ (temporomandibular joint problems)


Causes include:

Stress or anxiety
Aggressive, hyperactive, or competitive personality
Suppressed anger or frustration
Misalignment of upper and lower teeth
Sleep problems
Complications to another medical problem like Parkinson’s disease
Side effect of psychiatric medicines, including some antidepressants

Diagnosis
Your dentist will look for signs of bruxism during your regular checkups. This may include unusual wear on your teeth, breakdown of dental restorations, and tooth sensitivity or fractures. If you have any symptoms, your dentist will monitor your teeth over several visits to determine if treatment is needed.


Treatment

Mild bruxism may not require treatment, but more serious cases call for therapies and medications. This could include stress management techniques, splints or mouth guards to prevent tooth damage, correction of misaligned teeth, and behavior therapy to control how you hold your mouth and jaw.

If you are experiencing symptoms of bruxism, don’t ignore them. Dr. Leana Thanos will provide a custom treatment plan for you – Schedule an appointment today!

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Dental Fears and Phobias

It is estimated that 80 percent of Americans fear going to the dentist. That fear stops many people from getting the regular oral care needed to maintain a healthy smile. If you are one of these people, it is helpful to identify those fears and ways to overcome them.

The most common fears about a dental visit include getting injections or other painful procedures, dental office sounds, a sense of having no control, a feeling of being smothered or confined, worries of financial loss, and embarrassment about dental conditions.

 How can your dentist help you handle your fears?

Always tell your dentist about your concerns, so measures can be taken to help relieve your anxiety. Most dentists are familiar with these issues and can help make your visit less stressful.

Dentists may use topical anesthesia before performing injections, and employ smaller caliber needles when possible to ease the pain of injections. Your dentist can go slowly and speak in calming tones to alleviate injection worries also.

Distressful sounds can be minimized when dentists provide distractions such as music headphones, televisions in treatment rooms, and water fountains providing the sound of trickling water. Also, newer equipment is often designed to be quieter than previous models.

Dental offices may have calming color choices, artwork portraying soothing scenes, and large windows to minimize feelings of confinement.

Medications can be provided for severe anxiety cases. You and your dentist can decide together if either oral or intravenous medicines that have proven to be safe and effective would be helpful in your situation.

 How can you prepare yourself for dental treatment when you’re anxious?

Minimize your need for extensive treatment by practicing good oral hygiene, eating a healthy diet low in sugar, and maintaining routine checkups so that small problems can be caught early.

Maintain a positive attitude. Remember that advances have been made in dentistry to improve procedures and increase patient comfort.

Always use a dentist who makes you feel comfortable and you have a good rapport with, so that you are most likely to continue seeing your dentist.

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Diabetes and Your Oral Heath

Diabetes impacts oral health more than many people recognize. The management of your blood sugar can affect your teeth, gums, and entire mouth. Let’s examine why oral care is so important for diabetics.

Experts have discovered a definite link between diabetes and gum disease, with diabetics being at higher risk for gum disease than non-diabetics. This is due to high levels of blood sugar making you more prone to bacterial infections. When bacteria are present, the gums get irritated and infection can result. Gingivitis is the mildest level of gum disease, but if not treated the problem will worsen. Once gum disease occurs, it can be hard to control because infections usually heal more slowly in diabetes patients. Gingivitis can easily progress in diabetics to the most serious level of gum disease, or periodontitis.

Dentists have suggested ways to avoid dental problems associated with diabetes. These include:

Controlling your blood sugar. Increased levels of blood sugar create more sugar in your saliva, rapidly causing tooth decay and infection if you’re not careful.

Brushing at least twice daily with a soft bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. It’s also helpful to brush your tongue to remove bacteria there too.

Flossing daily to remove plaque between teeth.

Seeing your dentist for checkups every six months, or sometimes more if your dentist recommends it.

Providing your dentist with a list of medications you’re taking, because some of them have side effects such as dry mouth that can affect your oral health.

Waiting to have non-emergency dental work done only when your blood sugar levels are acceptable. This will help you heal quicker and decrease your risk of infection.

Consulting the doctor who handles your diabetes before having oral surgery or other significant dental treatment.

Diabetes and gum disease act like a viscous cycle, directly affecting each other if either is not treated or controlled. There can be serious repercussions from either of these diseases. It’s important to take control of your health in both areas, and maintain close contact with your physician and dentist in order to maintain the best level of your overall health.

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