You may not even realize it, but it’s possible that you are grinding your teeth during the day and especially while sleeping at night. Teeth grinding, also called bruxism, is often a subconscious behavior which places unusual force on your teeth and jaw. It is smart to know the signs to help you recognize if you are grinding your teeth, and what to do if you do have symptoms.
What are the symptoms?
Some people may experience only one or two symptoms, and others may encounter many problems from teeth grinding. Some common signs include:
• Sore jaw or facial muscles
• Muscle tightness or pain in the morning after sleeping
• Stiff or painful shoulders
• Clicking or popping sounds when you open or close your mouth
• Difficulty opening or moving your jaw
What are the consequences?
Teeth grinding can have both short and long-term effects on your health. If you begin to experience symptoms and ignore them, the likelihood of long-term consequences rises. Your teeth may become worn down and crack, which may require more complex and costly dental treatments in the future. Also, your teeth can become overly sensitive because of nerve endings becoming exposed through wear. Pain is another outcome of teeth grinding, and sometimes temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder develops.
Is there treatment for it?
Visit your dentist if you notice symptoms, and you may be able to determine together what is causing your bruxism. This bad habit is often linked to anxiety, so limiting stress in your life as much as possible may help. If teeth grinding continues, your dentist may suggest you wear a mouth guard that helps prevent grinding movements. Counseling, physical therapy, and muscle relaxants are sometimes also recommended.
Sherman Oaks Orthodontics
If you’re hesitant to get braces because of how they affect your appearance, you might want to consider that even celebrities wear braces to perfect their smiles! There’s nothing wrong with getting orthodontic treatment in an effort to align your teeth, straighten your smile, and dazzle those around you with the beautiful results.
Who are some of the rich and famous who have worn braces to improve the appearance and function of their teeth? Some celebrities who have worn braces over the years include Tom Cruise, Nicholas Cage, Gwen Stefani, Danny Glover, and Dakota Fanning. Note that a number of celebrities opted for adult braces, such as Tom Cruise at age 39, Eva Longoria at age 36, and Katherine Heigl at age 28. Emma Watson, Dakota Fanning, and Drew Barrymore are all examples of celebrities who wore braces during their teen years.
It may surprise you that celebrities are willing to be seen with a mouthful of braces. It stands to reason that they must believe it’s worse to smile with crooked teeth. The good news is that, whether you’re a celebrity or not, you have several less noticeable options for braces today. Lingual braces fastened to the backs of teeth, clear brackets, and Invisalign clear removable trays are all practical solutions to conceal braces while undergoing treatment.
So if you’re longing for a Hollywood smile, take a cue from celebrities and consider orthodontics to enhance your smile and improve your self esteem. If they can do it, so can you!
The spookiest night of the year is drawing close, and your little ghouls and goblins will be heading out to scare the neighbors and score some treats. You probably already know most of the safety rules when it comes to trick-or-treating, such as carrying a flashlight and wearing light-colored or reflective costumes. Another big one is inspecting the treats before your kids dig in, to make sure all the candy is safe. However, have you thought about looking at the candy for the purpose of making sure it’s acceptable for your child’s braces-clad teeth?
Your child’s orthodontist probably warned you to steer clear of certain foods that are known to commonly break or bend braces. Some of these items are pretty easy to avoid most of the time, but a jack-o-lantern full of candy can be very tempting. Many of the popular treats that your child may collect when trick-or-treating fit the guidelines of being hazardous to teeth undergoing orthodontic treatment. Here are some items to avoid:
• All hard candies
• All chewy candies
• Jelly beans
• Hard pretzels
• Caramel and candy apples
This may seem like a list that will take all the fun out of Halloween, but there are still many treats that your child can enjoy. Some braces-friendly examples are plain chocolate candy, peanut butter cups, sliced apples, and soft cookies and cupcakes. Just remember to look for treats that aren’t sticky, chewy, hard, or crunchy. Also, most parents tend to give their children a free pass about indulging in sweets on Halloween, but don’t forget your regular brushing and flossing routine. Maintaining healthy teeth will help you have a hauntingly good time on Halloween, and throughout the year!
It’s not unusual for a portion of your braces to become loose at some point during treatment. Whether it’s a wire or a bracket or some other piece, it is not likely to go unnoticed. Loose pieces can poke the insides of your mouth, or affect your eating or speech.
The most frequent reasons for your braces becoming loose include:
• eating foods from the restricted list that your orthodontist provided
• a poor bond between the tooth and the bracket
• bad habits like biting your fingernails or chewing ice
• mouth trauma or injury
• change in your bite
Contact your orthodontist
The first thing you should do is discuss the problem with your orthodontist’s staff. The orthodontist may be able to recommend a temporary fix until your appointment. If an injury caused the problem, get help as soon as possible so that your orthodontist can evaluate the damage.
• If a bracket or wire is poking you and causing discomfort, place a piece of orthodontic wax over the item as needed. If you don’t have any wax, try using a piece of sugarless gum instead.
• If the small rubber elastic around a bracket has come off, try to avoid disturbing the bracket or touching it with your tongue.
• If something is extremely loose, remember that there is a risk of accidentally swallowing it. See your orthodontist if you feel that this might happen.
Once you’ve gotten your braces on, your orthodontist will probably give you a list of foods to avoid. Your goal while wearing braces should be to prevent damage to the brackets, bands, and wires, not to mention keeping your teeth healthy and clean during treatment. Try to stick to the following food guidelines while wearing your braces so that you reach the best results at the end of treatment.
Veggies like raw carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower are hard to bite into while wearing brackets on your teeth. Cut vegetables like these into bite-sized pieces that can be chewed easily with your back teeth. Or, cook your vegetables before eating them.
The brackets on your teeth also may break by biting into hard fruits, such as apples and unripe pears. Cut hard fruits into smaller pieces to be chewed with your back teeth.
Meat causes problems for braces patients because it may be fibrous and hard to chew. Stringy meat gets stuck in your braces or between your teeth. Tough meat may loosen the bands around your molars. You can pop off a bracket by eating meat from the bone, like ribs or chicken wings. Select tender, lean cuts of meat, cut it into bite-sized pieces, and remove meat from the bone before eating it.
Hard crusted breads like bagels can be very hard to bite. Either break breads into small pieces or soften them by warming them before eating.
Nuts and seeds
The problem with nuts and seeds is that they can be hard and small, both problems for braces patients. You might break a band or bracket, or bend a wire that can delay your treatment.
Avoid both hard and sticky candy. Biting or chewing hard candy can break your braces, and sticky candy like gummies or caramel can get stuck in your braces or bend wires. Also, any type of candy is sugary and should be avoided because your teeth are more susceptible to decay while in braces.