Are You Grinding Your Teeth While You Sleep?

June 13, 2018  |  by James Sampson  |  News
No matter how diligently you care for your teeth during the day, you might be harming your teeth overnight. Are You Grinding Your Teeth While You Sleep?

No matter how diligently you care for your teeth during the day, you might be harming your teeth overnight. Are You Grinding Your Teeth While You Sleep? Many people experience teeth grinding and jaw clenching, while they sleep or in stressful situations.

Over time, these actions can wear on your mouth and cause permanent damage if they are not addressed.

Causes and Symptoms of Grinding Your Teeth

The most common reasons for teeth grinding and jaw clenching are stress and anxiety. This can occur during the day or while you are sleeping. Even if you are wide awake, you might not even realize that you are doing it.

Bruxism, also known as teeth grinding, is one of many ways that our body physically manifests stress even if our minds aren’t aware of it. The next time you are in a high-stress situation, pay attention to what’s happening in your mouth. Are you clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth around?

Other risk factors for teeth grinding include substance abuse (drugs, alcohol, caffeine), sleep apnea, and bite and alignment issues.

You might notice that your teeth begin to wear down in odd patterns over time. These changes might not be obvious at first since many people grind their molars and back teeth that are not always very visible.

Long-term jaw clenching can lead to earaches and headaches. You might think that you have an ear infection or a migraine, but the cause is actually the jaw because of how closely it’s related to the other parts of your face.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Teeth Grinding

No matter how diligently you care for your teeth during the day, you might be harming your teeth overnight. Are You Grinding Your Teeth While You Sleep?The best way to confirm whether or not you are grinding your teeth, is to mention your symptoms to your dentist at your next appointment. Your dentist can review the wear patterns on your teeth and examine your jaw to determine whether you’ve been grinding or clenching without realizing it.

From there, your dentist will likely prescribe a mouth guard, which will prevent your teeth from touching while you sleep and give you something to bite into if you clench your jaw. It won’t take long before you are waking up pain-free and more refreshed as a result of better sleep.

The mouth guard will probably take some getting used to, but it’s important that you stick with it and continue wearing it. Your mouth will adjust over time and you’ll soon be wondering how you ever slept without one.

How to Get the Help You Need

If you’ve been waking up with an unusual feeling in your mouth or jaw, you might be suffering from bruxism.

Our team at Sampson Dentistry will work with you to develop a customized treatment plan based on your specific symptoms and lifestyle

Dental X-Rays Safe During Pregnancy?

May 28, 2018  |  by James Sampson  |  News
Dental X-Rays Safe During Pregnancy?

Are dental x-rays safe during pregnancy? Pregnancy is an exciting time and, it does not mean that you should abandon your dental care routine.

One question we often receive at Sampson Dentistry is whether dental X-rays are safe during pregnancy. The short answer is yes, dental X-rays are safe to have during pregnancy. But there are some other factors you may want to consider as you are planning your dental care during this time.

Dental X-Rays Safe During Pregnancy?

The amount of radiation used in a dental X-ray is very low and, according to both the American Dental Association and the American Pregnancy Association is not enough to cause any harm to a pregnant woman or her baby.

If you’ve had dental X-rays in the past, you probably remember the dentist or hygienist placing a heavy apron over you before turning on the X-ray machine. This is a leaded apron that is designed to minimize exposure to radiation during the X-ray process.

The apron is long enough to cover the abdomen, which means a baby is protected during the X-ray process. It might seem like a nuisance, but this is definitely one of those situations where it’s better to be safe than sorry.

The apron will feel heavy when your dentist or hygienist puts it on, but it is safe to use at all stages of pregnancy.

Making the Best Dental Care Decisions For Mothers To Be.

Even though the dental X-ray process is safe to undertake throughout pregnancy, some women make proactive choices to limit their exposure to X-rays and other procedures during this time.

You should notify your dentist as soon as possible after you become pregnant. You can work with your dentist to develop a treatment plan that will work for you and your baby.

Some women choose to postpone X-rays until after the end of the first trimester. This is because, it is the most crucial time for the baby’s development. This is not medically necessary but may help provide peace of mind.

Routine dental X-rays can also be postponed until after the baby is born, but this is not something we recommend. X-rays are critical to detecting dental issues that could become serious if they are not detected and treated.

Start the Conversation

Sampson Dentistry works with moms-to-be to develop treatment plans that meet their dental health needs. We will always look out for the health of our patient’s babies.

Dental care should not stop just because you are pregnant and dental X-rays are no exception. If you have additional questions or would like to discuss your specific situation with one of our dentists, please don’t hesitate to make an appointment.

Tips to Help Your Kids Practice Good Dental Hygiene

May 25, 2018  |  by James Sampson  |  News
Tips to Help Your Kids Practice Good Dental Hygiene

Sampson Dentistry believe strongly in providing tips to help your kids practice good Dental Hygiene. We strive to make sure that all of our children have the healthiest smiles they can, but we can’t do it on our own.

Practice Good Dental Hygiene: Tips for Kids

We need help from parents and caregivers to continue the good habits our dentists recommend. Here are a few good dental hygiene tips for kids and easy ways you can help us help them:

Watch Those Drinks

While fruit juices and sports drinks can be a healthy alternative to soda and other artificial drinks, drinking too much can end up doing more harm than good in the long run.

The sugar in these drinks can quickly eat away the enamel on your child’s teeth, especially if he or she is consuming them all day long from a sippy cup or a refillable bottle. These drinks taste good and might be one of the only sources of sugar your kids have so weeding them out will not be easy, but it’s the best thing for their teeth in the long run.

Begin the balancing process by moving toward a 50/50 juice or sports drink to water ratio. The water will help wash out some of the sugar left over from the other drinks and help move your child’s palate away from sweet tastes. And, drinking more water is a great thing for all of us!

Lead by Example

When it comes to brushing and caring for your teeth, your children take more cues from you than you might think. This is one area where you really do need to practice what you preach.

Make brushing and flossing a family activity each morning and evening, or maybe only in the evening if your mornings are hectic. Either way, this will allow you to make sure that your child isn’t cutting corners and allow him or her to see that you are doing the same thing.

Brushing should last for at least two minutes and cover all surfaces of the teeth and tongue. Flossing should include every tooth every time, no matter how tempting it is to cut corners.

Remember that if your child is under age 2, then you should be brushing and flossing for them.

Again, this is an opportunity for you to establish a routine that your child will continue when it’s time for them to brush and floss on their own.

You can even make a game out of brushing and flossing each day. Create a chart to track progress and reward good behavior along the way. Eventually, the habits will become so routine that the rewards are no longer needed as an incentive.

Don’t Skip Dentist Visits

If you have anxiety about going to the dentist, you may be passing down those fears to your children without realizing it. Starting dental appointments as soon as the first teeth appear (around age 1) will help establish going to the dentist as a positive experience, rather than one that’s plagued with fear about cavities or other problems.

The more your child sees a dentist, the more we’ll be able to help reinforce the dental hygiene maintenance you are doing at home. We can catch problem areas before they become serious and create a plan for addressing them.

Establishing a partnership between parents and your local dentists ensures healthy teeth for kids. Visiting a dentist provides an opportunity to check in on that partnership.

Sampson Dentistry offers a wide range of pediatric dental services. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation for your child.

Do I Need to Replace a Missing Tooth?

May 23, 2018  |  by James Sampson  |  News
Do I Need to Replace a Missing Tooth?

If you’ve lost a tooth, especially one that’s not visible to others when you speak or smile, you may be thinking that you can slide by without replacing it. Sure, it will feel weird for a while, but you’ll get used it — or will you? Do I Need to Replace a Missing Tooth?

Not replacing a missing tooth can have serious physical and mental consequences. The replacement process is not as difficult as you might think and will pay off in the long run.

Consequences of Not Replacing a Missing Tooth

Having a missing tooth can lead to long-term problems inside and outside your mouth.

Over time, the teeth next to the missing tooth will shift toward each other in an attempt to fill in the gap. This leads to a condition called malocclusion, which means the teeth are not aligned properly.

Malocclusion can cause serious problems like an overbite or crossbite that result in extra strain on the jaw, difficulty chewing, and even an increased risk for tooth decay. The treatment for this larger issue is braces or even surgery, which will likely end up being more expensive than a single tooth replacement would be.

The increase in tooth decay will also lead to problems with other teeth.

Missing teeth can result in not chewing your food properly (consciously or unconsciously). Not chewing your food properly can lead to digestive issues like acid reflux and malnutrition from nutrients not being absorbed properly in the digestive tract. While it may seem like a back molar hidden from view that does not need to be replaced, remember that those teeth are essential for proper chewing and digestion.

Missing teeth can also cause bone loss along the jawline, which leads to a sagging appearance around the mouth. The bone tissue no longer receives support from the tooth, so it weakens over time. Sagging faces are common among people who wear dentures. While it may be inevitable for some, you can do something about it before the sagging begins.

Restoring Your Smile

Replacing a missing tooth is no longer the ordeal it was in your parents’ generation.

The most common treatment is a dental implant. Implants consist of a titanium post covered by a crown or denture.

The dental implant process typically takes about three months from start to finish. The implant and temporary crown can be applied on the same day, allowing you to return to normal activities while the permanent crown is made.

The end result is a tooth that looks and feels just like the one you lost. Financing options are available to ensure that you can restore a broken smile without breaking the bank.

A dental implant is a smart investment of time and money. Given the serious consequences associated with not replacing a missing tooth. Consult with your local dentist!

Why A Missed Local Dental Appointment Can Be Detrimental

May 7, 2018  |  by James Sampson  |  News

There are times that we all have to reschedule a dental appointment. Why a missed local dental appointment can be detrimental. Even if it’s just one appointment missed, the health of your teeth and overall condition could in fact suffer.

So, why is it important to attend all your dental appointments?

Your cavities can be spotted quickly before they cause other oral problems.

Many people believe that the worse a cavity could do is cause a bit of oral pain and sensitivity. But cavities, if left untreated for even a few months too long, can cause a lot of harm.

Leaving a tooth to decay is not only painful, but it could also lead to infection and tooth loss. Cavities don’t just sit there; they get deeper, uglier, and more painful over time.

Potential oral cancers and other diseases can be diagnosed and treated ASAP.

While oral cancers and other diseases aren’t per say common in dental patients, they still have a very real possibility of developing.

With gum disease and oral cancers, these are important to detect as soon as possible as these are not curable, at least not in the late stages.

Your dentist can get rid of your plaque before it turns into hard-to-remove tartar.

This may not seem very important to some patients, however, keep in mind that plaque is a type of dangerous oral bacteria that can cause gum disease, cavities, and other health problems.

With that being said, imagine how damaging tartar is, which is a more permanent, hardened form of plaque. Looking at the short-term effects, tartar is visible in comparison to a microscopic plaque.

 

Your body will thank you in the short and long run.

The goal of having good oral standing isn’t always about having perfectly straight, white teeth and fresh breath. It’s also about keeping your oral bacteria levels down.

The less oral bacteria you have, the healthier the rest of your body will be and the less bad bacteria that will be present in the rest of your body. In general, bad bacteria can cause a distorted digestive system and gut flora and in turn cause other body-related problems and diseases.

Top 3 Reasons To Whiten Your Teeth

March 26, 2018  |  by James Sampson  |  News
Top 3 Reasons To Whiten Your Teeth

Thousands of Birmingham Alabama residents get their teeth whitened every year. At Sampson Dentistry, here are the top 3 reasons to whiten your teeth. Teeth whitening from Sampson Dentistry can provide you with a gorgeous smile that’s up to 10 shades whiter.

Top 3 Reasons To Whiten Your Teeth

Prepare for that special event.  

Do you have a special event like an anniversary, wedding, or presentation coming up? Consider all the people you’ll see or meet, and the pictures that will be taken. You’ll want your best smile to be the focus so you can look back on the memories fondly. Get your teeth whitened, and you’re sure to be more confident during your next special event.

Make a good first impression.

First impressions are everything. And a bright smile can help you make the right one. Whether you’re dating, interviewing for a new job, or meeting important clients at work.

Feel confident about your smile!

Your smile says so much about who you are. But if you have stained or yellowed teeth, you may feel too self-conscious to express yourself to the world.

Does Cold Temperatures Make My Teeth Hurt?

March 19, 2018  |  by James Sampson  |  News
Does Cold Temperatures Make My Teeth Hurt?

Does Cold Temperatures Make My Teeth Hurt? Yes, cold temperatures can make your teeth hurt. In response to extreme heat and cold, your teeth expand and contract. Over time, this can lead to cracks in your teeth, exposing the vulnerable microscopic tubes beneath your enamel. This is the same tooth pain you feel because of cavities, gum disease, and other bad oral habits. Therefore, any problems with your enamel or gums, such as periodontal disease, could leave you vulnerable to cold temperature pain.

Weather sensitivity can occur regardless of how well you care for your teeth, but you’re at greater risk if you don’t practice good oral hygiene and live in an area that has extreme temperature swings.

To minimize sensitivity, you should learn about the common causes for sensitive teeth and what you should do when you notice pain because of the cold temperature.

Individuals often wear down their enamel or suffer from receding gums and tooth sensitivity because of one of the following reasons:

  • Periodontal disease: Diseases of the gums can expose the dentin and cause sensitivity. Gingivitis is one of the earliest stages of periodontal disease.
  • Brushing too hard: You may think that you need to bear down hard to remove surface stains, but brushing with too much force can start to wear down your enamel.
  • Grinding: Some individuals may clench or grind their teeth in their sleep. This can wear down tooth enamel and lead to sensitivity.
  • Tooth decay: Sensitivity to cold is an early sign of an undetected tooth decay problem. If you start to experience tooth pain, go see a dentist.
  • Tooth whitening applications: Have you started using a new tooth-whitening agent? The ingredients that make your teeth whiter may strip past surface stains and start wearing down your enamel. If the agent starts hurting your teeth, stop the treatment and consult with your dentist.
  • Acidic drinks: Sodas, coffee, tea, and other drinks with a high concentration of acid, such as juices, can erode your teeth and expose the dentin layer.
  • bad lifestyle habits: Other bad oral health habits, such as using tobacco products or not brushing or flossing properly, can cause your gums to recede. When this happens, the dentin at the base of the gums is exposed and can lead to temperature-sensitive teeth.

Possible Solutions for Sensitive Teeth

  • A fluoride application: Fluoride strengthens the enamel and thus prevents sensitivity because of exposed dentin.
  • Covering root surfaces: A dentist can apply a sealant to fix problems with receding gums.
  • Mouth guards: If you grind your teeth, a dentist can make a mouth guard to prevent you from damaging your teeth in your sleep.
  • Root canal procedure: This is recommended to fix issues with deep decay or a cracked or chipped tooth.

Today’s Porcelain Veneers In Birmingham AL

December 20, 2017  |  by James Sampson  |  News
Today’s Porcelain Veneers In Birmingham AL

Today’s Porcelain Veneers In Birmingham AL

In recent years, Birmingham Alabama residents have had two options to choose from in regards to today’s porcelain veneers through Birmingham dentist.  Birmingham residents can choose from traditional veneers and no-preparation veneers.

traditional veneers

With traditional veneers, your dentist will remove a very small amount of enamel from the tooth or teeth that will be receiving the veneer. Then, your Hoover Alabama dentist takes an impression of your slightly shaved tooth, so a veneer can be crafted for it. It’ll take between two and four weeks to receive the veneer. In the meantime, you can get temporary veneers during the interim.

No-preparation veneers

Take in consideration that with no-preparation veneers, there is no removal or shaving your natural teeth required.  Veneers fit over your existing natural teeth.

Before placing veneers permanently, your dentist checks the final veneer’s fit and appearance in your mouth. If the veneer doesn’t fit perfectly, the dentist can trim it down. After cleaning, polishing, and etching your tooth, your dentist will bond the veneer to your tooth.

Your local Hoover dentist can make a bite and fit adjustment after the veneer has been placed and cemented. Today’s veneers last for between 10 and 30 years, which is a huge improvement over the old style that barely stayed in place.

Porcelain veneers have been around since the late 1920s, and it should be no surprise that they began in Hollywood. A California dentist came up with a way to enhance the smiles of his Hollywood star patients. The stars would wear the caps during movie scenes, then remove them. Though this is a long way from the porcelain permanent veneers we think of today, it’s the beginning of using veneers to perfect someone’s smile.

Headaches and Teeth

December 13, 2017  |  by James Sampson  |  Blog
Headaches and Teeth | Birmigham Alabama Dentist

Headaches and Teeth! Did you know that many headaches are actually linked to your teeth? Bruxism is a term to describe the clenching and grinding of teeth. When a person clenches or grinds their teeth together, muscles that control the movement of the jaws work overtime.

The muscles (in particular the temporalis and masseter muscles) become very sore and cause painful tension-type headaches. Facial pain is also frequent symptom with bruxism.

In addition, bruxism is sparked by a number of scenarios.  These variables include: stress, anxiety, and bite abnormalities.

Headaches and Teeth

Treatment can significantly reduce the frequency or severity of the headaches and/or facial pain. The most common form of treatment is a dental appliance that can control your bite and jaw position. This will help protect the teeth, distribute the forces of bruxism, ease tension off of the muscles, and in some cases stop the bruxism habit all together.

Although dental devices can really help the symptoms, sometimes stress management and/or therapy can be very beneficial to get to the source of the problem. In addition, if the source is a bite abnormality, it is worth investigating if and how that can be corrected.

Make dental visits a part of your lifestyle. Maintaining dental visits early on in life is recommended. Continuing dental visits throughout the early part of your life is a great way to start a good oral hygiene.

Energy, Health, Smiles, & White Peach Tea

December 6, 2017  |  by James Sampson  |  Blog
General Dentistry In Birmingham, AL

Energy, Health, Smiles, & White Peach Tea.  Sodas, energy drinks, and coffee are being consumed in record-breaking numbers. Our society absolutely craves energy boosts to get us through our “lives on the go”. Let’s face it…most of us are addicted to caffeine and will consume it in one way or another at some point every day!

So here’s the question: Is there a way to obtain your caffeine fix that’s actually good for you?

Actually….Yes. Ever thought about a good cup ah’ tea?

Energy, Health, Smiles, & White Peach Tea

Tea typically contains more caffeine than a coke, but less than a brew of coffee. It is also sugar-free, unless you choose to add some. Tea has long been known to have many systemic health benefits including: decreasing your risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, and boosting your immune system. More recently though, tea has been linked to GREATER ORAL HEALTH.

White tea is the least processed form of tea. Basically, the leaves are picked, dried, and that’s it. Because of this, it is the most antioxidant-rich tea there is, even more antioxidants than green tea. Recent research has found that consuming white tea can help prevent cavities and periodontal disease by suppressing the growth of cavity causing microbes and interfering with the bacteria’s ability to stick to teeth. People who drank a cup of tea or two between meals were found to have lower bacterial counts and less plaque than those who did not. A caffeine fix that promotes oral health….a dentist’s dream! The other great news is that white tea is not going to cause erosion of the teeth and unlike coffee and darker teas, white tea will cause minimal to no staining of those pearly whites.

There are many options for obtaining that small boost throughout your day. Consider replacing some of your other options with a nice cup of white tea. Not only will it give you a dose of caffeine, it will promote overall systemic and oral health.