Tag Archives: teeth grinding

Protecting Lumineers

I’m considering getting a smile makeover with Lumineers. Can you tell me how hard they are to take care of?

Marilyn

Dear Marilyn,

Advertisement with Lumineers including a woman smiling and a single veneer being held by a tool

It’s great that you’re getting a smile makeover. However, I want to caution you against choosing the brand. Instead, you should carefully choose the dentist and let them choose the brand.

While some dentists place Lumineers. Others prefer different brands. What you want is an expert cosmetic dentist who knows the pros and cons of each brand and can create a stunning smile for you.

Caring For Your Lumineers

Whatever brand of porcelain veneers you get, there are things that are important for you to know to keep them in great shape.

  • Make sure your hygienist understands cosmetic dentistry: Not all hygienists are familiar with cosmetic work. It is important during your checkup and cleanings that your hygienist doesn’t use anything like a Prophy Jet or acidulated fluoride. Either one of these will damage the glazing and cause your veneers to pick up stains.
  • Keep up with your home care: Being stain-resistant doesn’t mean you can get away with not taking care of your teeth. You’ll have to brush regularly as well as floss. Some dentists recommend you use Supersmile toothpaste, which is specifically designed for cosmetic work.
  • Protect your teeth from grinding: If you grind your teeth, you’ll want to make sure you get a night guard. Consistent grinding can cause your veneers (and natural teeth) to chip. A night guard protects them.

Finding that Expert Cosmetic Dentist

Cosmetic dentistry isn’t a recognized specialty. Because of that, any dentist can call themselves a cosmetic dentist regardless of their skill level. There are countless cosmetic dentistry horror stories by patients who’ve thought they were getting a gorgeous smile with a qualified cosmetic dentist only to leave heartbroken and disappointed with the results.

Because of that, Dr. Hall, who runs the mynewsmile.com website, decided to make a recommended list of skilled cosmetic dentists. He screens them for both technical training as well as their artistry. Anyone he recommends can give you a gorgeous smile you’ll be thrilled to share with the world.

This blog is brought to you by New Orleans Dentist Dr. Duane Delaune.

does tmj mean surgery?

I’m 27 years old and have been dealing with a significant amount of jaw pain. I did some research online and it sounds like I may have TMJ. Everything I read says the treatments for this are jaw reconstruction or having all your teeth re-made. That sounds terrifying to me. In fact, I’m a little too scared to see a dentist about it in case they say that is what I need. Are there any other options? What happens if I just don’t treat it and just deal with the pain with medications?

Morgan

Dear Morgan,

close up of temporomadibular joint
TMJ disorder has various causes and solutions

Before you panic, let me assure you there are many causes and solutions for TMJ Disorder. As you can see from the image above, your TMJ joint is similar to your knee joint. It has movable parts and a disc which serves as a buffer. There are also lots of muscles that help with the various movements requisite to good jaw function. This is known as the temporomandibular joint (hence the TMJ).

Treatments like full-mouth reconstruction or jaw surgery are for the most severe cases, usually after years of going without treatment or a tragic accident. It doesn’t sound like that is what you’re dealing with.

The first step to any treatment is a diagnosis of what is causing the problem in the first place.

Two Causes for TMJ Disorder

One common cause for this is pressure you’ve put on the jaw joint. This is done through clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth. This often happens without a patient even realizing it because they do it in their sleep.

If you get treatment for this early on, before too much damage is done, there is no invasive treatment. It can often be handled simply by wearing a night guard to protect your teeth and add some cushion to assist with the pressure on your jaw.

Another cause is misalignment of your bite. Our teeth shift over time. It could be that yours have shifted in a way that has caused pressure on your jaw.

In some cases, this can be fixed with orthodontics such as Invisalign. Other, more severe cases, will require a full-mouth reconstruction. This latter treatment can also happen if you don’t get teeth grinding under control and your teeth get worn down to nubs.

Full-Mouth Reconstruction

With this procedure a dentist has to crown all of your teeth. This is either because they are too worn down from grinding or your bite is so far out of alignment this is necessary to repair it.

This is quite an advanced procedure and would require a dentist with significant training in TMJ Disorders as well as cosmetic dentistry.

Look for a dentist who trained at one of the following:

  • Dawson Academy
  • J.D Pankey Institute
  • The Las Vegas Institute of Advanced Dental Studies

This will take care of their TMJ qualifications. To find out if they’re also a great cosmetic dentist, go to the mynewsmile.com website to see if they’re recommended . They pre-screen cosmetic dentists for both their technical skill and artistry.

This blog is brought to you by New Orleans Dentist Dr. Duane Delaune.

Custom mouthpiece for grinding because of meds?

My dentist is trying to convince me to get this custom-fitted device to sleep with. He says I’m grinding my teeth because of the medicine I take. First, wouldn’t I know if I happened to be grinding my teeth and second, can medicines really make you do that? Does it even matter?

Clark

Dear Clark,

custom-fitted trays
Custome-fitted mouthpiece’s will protect your teeth.

I promise your dentist isn’t trying to pull one over on you. Everything he said is based in fact. Most patients doen’t realize they are grinding their teeth, because it happens at night while they’re sleeping.

The Consequences of Grinding and Clenching

Griding and clenching your teeth is known as bruxism. When you do that habitually, whether intentionally or not, your teeth begin to wear down. In some cases, I’ve seen them worn down to nubs and the patient had to have all their teeth crowned. This is known as a full-mouth reconstruction and is very costly.

In addition to wearing down the teeth, you can also end up chipping or even cracking them . Cracked teeth will also have to be crowned in order to save them.

A nightguard protects your teeth from the force of these motions. Even though you likely won’t be able to stop doing them, your teeth won’t bear the consequences.

Be on the Lookout for TMJ Disorder

With constant motion of your jaw in grinding, you’re in danger of another kind of problem. You could wear down your temporomandibular joint, leading to TMJ disorder.

Here are some symptoms to look out for:

  • Jaw Pain
  • Clicking in the Jaw
  • Migraines, especially in the morning

If any of these pick up, you’ll want to see a dentist who has some special training in TMJ.

This blog is brought to you by New Orleans Dentist Dr. Duane Delaune.

Did I Make a Mistake Getting Porcelain Veneers?

I’m wondering if I made a mistake getting porcelain veneers. My teeth have been getting shorter and shorter recently and it was really beginning to bug me. My dentist suggested I get porcelain veneers. They were expensive but my dentist said they could make my teeth longer. I was excited about that. I went forward. I wasn’t crazy about how they turned out. While they are longer, they look a bit boxy. Plus, two of them have popped off. My dentist always puts them back on for free, but it does take time off work. I’m wondering if this was a mistake. I kept thinking for that much money they’d be beautiful, not just longer. Did I have unrealistic expectations?

Melanie

Dear Melanie,
A single porcelain veneer being placed

Porcelain veneers are a great way to remake your smile. I think the mistake is simply allowing your family dentist to do it instead of an expert cosmetic dentist. I have another concern aside from your dentist’s cosmetic skill. You mentioned your teeth have been getting shorter. That combined with your veneers popping off, makes me think you’ve been grinding your teeth at night. Your dentist should have recognized these signs.

It’s important this is dealt with or your teeth will continue to grind down until they’re nubs. Then, you’ll be forced to get a mouth full of porcelain crowns in order to chew. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was concerned about your dentist not bringing this up.

There is a simple solution. You just need to wear a night guard and then it will protect your teeth and your porcelain veneers from being damaged any further.

Getting Gorgeous Porcelain Veneers

Getting a smile makeover is a bit like commissioning an artist to do your portrait. You want to research the artist carefully. They need to have post-graduate training. But, like any art, there also has to be some natural skill there. Your dentist needs an artistic eye. So, how is a patient to research all of that? Well, you could check their credentials, research their smile gallery, check their reviews, etc.

Fortunately, the mynewsmile.com website does all of that for you. If you go to their site and click on “Find a cosmetic dentist”, you simply input your zip code along with how far you’re willing to travel to get a beautiful smile and they’ll list all the expert cosmetic dentists within that range.

Best of Luck to you.
This blog is brought to you by New Orleans Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Duane Delaune.

Can My Dentist Treat My TMJ?

I was talking to my dentist about some jaw pain. He asked me a few questions and said he thinks I have TMJ disorder. We scheduled a follow-up appointment to run some additional tests and discuss treatment. After I got home I started wondering if instead of just going to my general dentist about this I should schedule an appointment with a TMJ Dentist. What do you think? Is it safe to stay with my dentist for this?

Miranda W.

Dear Miranda,

A woman holding her jaw from TMJ pain

Your doubts are based on a common misunderstanding about TMJ. There isn’t really such a thing as a TMJ Dentist. By that I mean there isn’t a recognized TMJ specialty with the American Dental Association (ADA). All TMJ dentists are just general dentists. That being said, it doesn’t mean every general dentist is qualified to treat TMJ. It does require specialized training. So how do you know if your particular dentist has what it takes?

The first thing I’d do is check their website. If they have a TMJ page, check to see if they list any specific training. If they don’t have a page, check their bio. They should list some respected institute where they did post-doctoral studies in TMJ diagnosis and treatment. For instance, Dr. Delaune trained at the esteemed Dawson Academy. Other respected institutes would be among the following:

  • The Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies (LVI)
  • The Kois Center
  • The Pankey Institute
  • Spear Institute

There are others, but these are among the best.

Warning Signs about TMJ Dentist

One thing to be aware of is aggressiveness in treatment. Dentists with expertise in TMJ will start with the least invasive treatment options first. If your dentist goes straight to suggesting a full mouth reconstruction, I’d quickly get a second opinion. Those are only necessary in severe cases and other solutions are tried first.

Often jaw pain can be caused by teeth grinding or clenching. Patients may not even recognize they’re doing it, especially if it only occurs while they’re sleeping. In that case, wearing a simple custom-fitted night guard is all you need to solve the problem.

This blog is brought to you by New Orleans Dentist Dr. Duane Delaune.

Is there an over-the-counter fix for TMJ?

My mom and dad have both recently suffered some major medical issues that have caused a lot of stress both physically and financially for our family. There’s just not a lot of extra money right now. I have TMJ and all the stress has caused a flare-up and I literally can’t open my mouth. My jaw has been locked for several weeks. I’m in so much pain! I’ve seen those mouth appliances you can buy at the drug store for about $20. Would one of them help? — Sasha

Dear Sasha,
Sorry to hear that you’re going through so much right now. Hopefully things will get better from here on out. As for the TMJ, there are a couple of things you can try at home to help with the inflammation:

  1. Alternate between heat and ice packs (for about 10 minutes at a time) on your jaw joints
  2. Take 800mg of Ibuprofen three times a day

If the dentist is simply out of the question right now, try the store-bought mouth guard as it will be better than doing nothing. If you’re grinding your teeth a lot, just be careful and check that you’re not wearing it through. Hopefully, though, it will help protect your teeth for now. They come in small, medium, large or one-size-fits-all, but regardless of what you buy, keep in mind that it won’t be a perfect fit since it’s not custom made.

For moderate to severe temporomandibular joint dysfunction like you are experiencing, a custom night guard made by your dentist is really the best way to go. If you have dental insurance they may cover all or even a portion of the cost. Make a call and find out. Another option would be to see if your dentist offers CareCredit. It’s a no-interest medical card you can apply for if you don’t have insurance, but have adequate credit. Check into both of these options since your TMJ is fairly severe – it will be worth it in the end if you can get a custom-fit appliance and get this flare-up under control.

This post is sponsored by New Orleans cosmetic dentist Dr. Duane Delaune. Read more about why many consider Dr. Delaune to be the best dentist in New Orleans.

Will dentist fix my cracked veneer?

I grind my teeth at night, but I was happy to find out that I could still be a candidate for porcelain veneers. I just got them done a couple months ago and I have been wearing a night guard. Last night, I was so exhausted that I feel asleep and didn’t get the night guard put in. I woke up because I noticed something in my mouth – it was a piece of one of my veneers that broke off! Do you think my dentist will replace it for free since I’ve had the veneers for such a short time? — Josh

Josh,
This is a tough one. While I’m sure you didn’t intend to fall asleep without your night guard, things happen and whether or not your dentist will fix it is completely up to him. If he prescribed the night guard and told you to be sure to always wear it, he really has no obligation to you.

Maybe he’ll offer to replace it this time if you cover the laboratory charge. You can be sure that it will be full price if it happens again. However, it’s best to have him look at it because there’s also a chance that he could repair it. If it split cleanly into two pieces that fit back together, he could re-bonded it to your tooth and the crack will be nearly invisible.

This post is sponsored by New Orleans cosmetic dentist Dr. Duane Delaune. Read more about why many consider Dr. Delaune to be the best dentist in New Orleans.

Is tooth pain caused from grinding my teeth or something else?

I’m a teeth grinder at night. I’ve been doing it for as long as I can remember, but up until now everything has been fine with my teeth (at my check-up and cleaning several months ago there were no issues).  But something has changed in the last month or so and I am noticing a dull pain (almost like a pulling sensation) in my lower back teeth. It doesn’t last for long periods of time, but it comes and goes on both sides. I thought maybe it could be a cavity, but I’ve never had one before so don’t know what kind of pain is associated with them. I am also concerned that it could it be related to grinding and clenching my teeth? What should I do?  — Marissa

Marissa,
If you grind your teeth, everything is not fine. It’s hard to say what exactly is causing this pain you are experiencing without seeing x-rays or examining your mouth. What is concerning is it sounds like your recent check-up and examination with your dentist may not have been very thorough. Unfortunately, there are many dentists who are just looking for the obvious issues like cavities, fillings, etc. There are other important things they should be looking for during this examination such as TMJ symptoms or periodontal disease.

As for the pain you are experiencing, it does not seem consistent with a cavity. It could be from gum disease or a result of your teeth grinding. But to be sure, you need to get a proper diagnosis. If it’s grinding, you could get a night guard. If it’s something more serious, you need to start treatment right away.  A second opinion from someone other than your regular dentist might be in order.

This post is sponsored by New Orleans cosmetic dentist Dr. Duane Delaune. Read more about why many consider Dr. Delaune to be the best dentist in New Orleans.