Many parents are concerned that their child grinds their teeth at night. Grinding (or bruxism) is common in children with baby teeth. While it may be loud and sound uncomfortable it generally does not lead to any problems and most children will out grow the habit. The cause of grinding in the primary dentition is unknown. As children grow and their jaw grows their teeth tend to move and slightly shift position. One theory is that the baby teeth move slightly out of alignment and the child grinds to return to a stable position. Another thought is that as the jaw is growing the child feels some discomfort in that area (similar to growing pains elsewhere in the body) and the child involuntarily grinds. Finally, stress or hyperactivity may play a minor role in kids who grind. If you find your child waking up from the grinding or having restless nights, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) has the following suggestions to help your child sleep better.
- Follow a consistent bedtime routine. Set aside 10 to 30 minutes to get your child ready to go to sleep each night.
- Establish a relaxing setting at bedtime.
- Interact with your child at bedtime. Don’t let the TV, computer or video games take your place.
- Avoid TV programs, movies, and video games that are not right for their age.
- Do not let your child fall asleep while being held, rocked, fed a bottle, or while nursing.
- At bedtime, avoid foods that contain caffeine such as chocolates and sodas. Some cough medicines also have stimulants that may make the child more active. As far as the grinding goes, in most cases the teeth will fall out before the child develops any sensitivity or any other grinding related issues. Children generally tend to stop grinding by about 7-8 years of age. If it continues beyond that it may be related to other issues and it is good to inform your dentist.
Many times, we encounter teeth have that either have been filled multiple times before or that have the old, large silver fillings. This causes a problem with tooth integrity, or strength. The more fillings a tooth has and the larger the filling, the weaker the tooth becomes as more of its material is removed. For many years, we routinely replaced full-coverage, porcelain-fused metal crowns to restore and strengthen the tooth, and this is still the best option in many cases, although the process requires reducing the size of the tooth to make room for the crown.
However, in many other cases we are able to take advantage of the advances made in dentistry by using new adhesives and bonding cements to perform porcelain inlays and onlays. Rather than remove additional material from the tooth, we are able to place a bonded porcelain restoration into the area of the tooth that the old filling used to occupy. The immediate benefits and advantages are three-fold. First, there is much less removal of tooth structure from drilling, leaving the tooth stronger. Second, bonding the restoration in place actually strengthens the tooth, as opposed to drilling for a large filling. And, last but not least, inlays and onlays look fantastic and aesthetically enhance your smile. If you are a candidate for an inlay or onlay, seriously consider it. It’s a smart choice!
It is not so much the sugar that causes tooth decay as it is plaque. Sugar combines with the bacteria in plaque and produces acids. This acid is what dissolves the enamel on your teeth. Since sugar is part of many of our food – even some nutritious ones like apples and oranges – additional dental hygiene measures must be taken. Brush daily with an accepted fluoride toothpaste. The American Dental Association also recommends the use of an over-the-counter fluoride dental rinse for children over the age of six.
Tooth knocked out: Always hold tooth by the crown. Carefully rinse the tooth. DO NOT rub or scrub the tooth. It will remove tissue. Place the tooth in a cold cup of whole milk. Use water if milk is not available. Immediately head to the dentist or an emergency room.
Tooth broken: Clean the area with warm water. Place the broken piece in a clean container. To keep the area from swelling, use a cold compress. Immediately head to the dentist or an emergency room.
Bitten lip or tongue: With a clean cloth, add pressure to the wound to control the bleeding. To keep the areas from swelling, use a cold compress. Head to the emergency room if the bleeding is still severe.
Jaw pain/broken jaw: To hold the jaw inplace, tie a piece of fabric over the crown of the head and around the jaw. To keep the area from swelling, use a cold compress. Immediately head to the dentist or the emergency room.
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