How Cancer Treatment Affects Your Mouth

 

As we head into the month of October, we tend to see pink ribbons everywhere in support of breast cancer research and breast cancer patients. Cancer is one of those scary words nobody wants to hear, and it can cause feelings of uncertainness and weariness of what treatment will bring. While there are sure to be many thoughts racing through your mind following any cancer diagnosis, there’s one thing you may not immediately think of — seeing your dentist in Reno. However, this visit, and follow up visits, can actually help make cancer treatment more successful. 

 

Chemotherapy

The cancer treatment we tend to be most familiar with is chemotherapy. Chemotherapy has been used for many years and can help kill cancer cells. However, it certainly doesn’t come without side effects. While these side effects can affect any area of the body, there are certain ones that directly affect the mouth. Sometimes these side effects are so serious that your medical team may decide to temporarily stop treatment until the side effects are resolved. To help avoid this, it’s important to see your dentist in Reno prior to starting chemotherapy. 

Chemotherapy and Oral Health

As we’ve mentioned, chemotherapy can be really effective at killing cancer cells. But it can also harm healthy cells in the process, including cells in the mouth. This damage can affect any part of your mouth from your teeth to the soft tissues such as your gums and the glands that create saliva. Some common oral health side effects of chemotherapy include: 

  • Pain with eating or talking
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Dry mouth
  • Sores or ulcers
  • Peeling, burning tongue
  • Infection

These side effects can happen to anyone, and they do tend to vary from person to person. Make sure you talk with your cancer treatment team as well as your dentist in Reno during treatment so any side effects are caught and treated early. If they’re not, some infections or side effects can be so severe they’ll cause a delay or pause in your cancer treatment. 

The Importance of Regular Dentistry

Seeing your dentist every six months is recommended for everyone, but those undergoing cancer treatment may need to visit more often. After all, your dentist in Reno is a key part of your cancer treatment team, and seeing them regularly can help avoid or keep serious side effects at bay. Additionally, if you see your dentist before treatment begins, you can rest assured that you’ll start treatment with an already healthy mouth, reducing the risk of complications. If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with cancer, schedule an appointment with your dentist, ideally one month prior to beginning treatment.

How to Fix a Gummy Smile

Having a gummy smile can affect someone’s self-confidence, and if you’re someone who sees more gum tissue than teeth when smiling or talking, you may know exactly what we’re talking about. In fact, it’s not uncommon for your dentist in Reno to hear patients say they’re embarrassed by their smiles, and some even avoid smiling as much as possible because they’re so worried about their appearance. This is no way to live, especially when there are treatments available to fix a gummy smile. 

The Best Way to Fix a Gummy Smile

If you’ve been bothered by your gummy smile for a while, you may have been searching for a solution for quite some time. But fixing a gummy smile isn’t as easy as a one-size-fits-all solution. Your dentist in Reno will first need to perform an exam and oftentimes x-rays and other photos in order to get an accurate picture of what’s causing your gummy smile and determine the best way to fix it. Depending on your specific situation, some of the potential treatments to fix your gummy smile may include:  

  • Scaling & Root Planing

Sometimes a gummy smile is caused by an infection of the gum tissue. This infection can cause gums to become swollen and inflamed, covering more of your white teeth than you’d like. If this is the case, your dentist in Reno will most likely want to start with a deep teeth cleaning called scaling and root planing. A scaling and root planing treatment removes bacteria up under the gum line and can help remove infection, inflammation, and the gummy look. However, if this treatment alone doesn’t resolve the infection or give you the appearance you’re looking for, additional gum disease treatment or cosmetic dentistry treatment may be appropriate.

  • Gum Lift & Crown Lengthening

Many times a gummy smile is the result of the way our teeth erupted, and genetics may be to blame. As our adult teeth are forming and erupting, sometimes there’s just too much gum tissue covering the teeth. The good news is often there’s healthy enamel hiding just under the gum overgrowth all we have to do is uncover it. This is when a gum lift or crown lengthening comes into play. A gum lift procedure does exactly what it sounds like — lifts and removes the excess gum tissue to reveal more of each tooth. Now, when there’s an overabundance of tissue, your dentist may recommend a crown lengthening. This procedure removes and restructures the gum tissue as well as the bones around the teeth. The result of both procedures is fewer gums and more teeth. 

  • Lip Lowering

Another likely cause of a gummy smile is a hyperactive upper lip which occurs when the muscles of the upper lip are too active. This can cause the upper lip near the nose to protrude up too high and show off more of the gums than normal. The best way to fix a hyperactive upper lip is through lip lowering treatment. During this procedure, a small section of the gum tissue under the upper lip is removed, and then the remaining top and bottom are reconnected, ultimately shortening the lip and making it impossible for the upper lip to rise as high as it used to. 

  • Orthodontics

Orthodontics, including traditional metal braces as well as invisible aligners such as Invisalign and ClearCorrect, may also be the best way to fix a gummy smile, especially if you have a bad bite. You see, a bad bite occurs when the top jaw and bottom jaw don’t align properly. This can cause several oral health problems, including jaw pain, and when the top jaw protrudes out farther than it should, a gummy smile. Fixing the bite can resolve a gummy smile and give you super-straight teeth at the same time — bonus! 

Nobody should have to live a life where they are embarrassed to smile and laugh. They should feel confident about the way their smile looks so they can truly share their emotions with the world. If you’re embarrassed by your gummy smile, don’t wait any longer. Schedule an appointment with your dentist in Reno today and start living a life full of confidence and smiles!

4 Things That Cause Teeth to Fall Out

 

 

When many of us think about losing our teeth, we may assume that this is something that just happens as we get older. But, according to the American Dental Association, more Americans are keeping their teeth longer than ever before, which is great news! However, this doesn’t just happen naturally and there are things we need to do to increase our chances of keeping all of our teeth for life. Because of this, your dentist in Reno wants to share some of the most common things that cause teeth to fall out so you can do everything you can to avoid them. 
 

Gum Disease

The number one cause of tooth loss in American adults is gum disease, also known as periodontal disease. Gum disease occurs when bacteria work their way up under the gum tissue and settle in, causing an infection. This infection can be treated if caught early, but if it’s not taken care of, it will begin to destroy both the gum tissue and the jaw bone — both of which help hold teeth in place. Without this support structure, teeth will become loose and eventually fall out. 

Cavities

Almost all of us have experienced at least one cavity and know the discomfort that can come along with it. The reason cavities hurt is that a cavity is essentially a tiny hole in a tooth that may affect the inner workings of the tooth where the nerves and roots are held. The result is the all too familiar zing of tooth pain. Cavities can be treated quickly and easily by your dentist in Reno if they’re caught early. However, when they’re left untreated, cavities can destroy a tooth from the inside out and either require a root canal or result in a lost tooth. 

Accidents or Trauma

Even if you take perfect care of your teeth you may still experience tooth loss as a result of an accident or trauma. Tooth loss is an incredibly common side effect of many sports injuries and even car accidents or falls. While we can’t do much to completely avoid accidents or trauma to our teeth, we can take certain preventive measures such as wearing a mouthguard every time we play a sport. 

Whole-Body Health Concerns

Other common causes of tooth loss in adults don’t initially appear to have anything to do with the mouth and actually originate and directly affect other areas of the body. However, there is a strong correlation between what happens in our bodies and what happens in our mouths. Therefore, there are several whole-body health concerns that can increase the risk of tooth loss, such as: 

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Poor Diet
  • Arthritis

Nobody wants to experience tooth loss, but the good news is there are some simple things you can do to give yourself the best chance of keeping your teeth for life. Make sure you brush and floss your teeth every single day, avoid smoking or using tobacco products, and of course, see your dentist in Reno at least every six months for regular checkups and cleanings

Is Getting a Root Canal Really That Bad? 

When someone tells you that they need to have a root canal, do you immediately grimace and start thanking your lucky stars that it’s not happening to you? You’re not alone. Many people who hear the words “root” and “canal” together shudder in fear. After all, this dental treatment doesn’t have the best reputation. But we’re here to tell you that all the horror stories, all of the overdramatic representations of root canals on television, and all of the terror surrounding them are unnecessary. That’s right, your dentist in Reno wants you to know that getting a root canal isn’t really all that bad.  

Why Are People Scared of Root Canals? 

Historically, and before the dental technology that we have now, getting a root canal may have been a bit different than today. That, paired with how root canals are represented in entertainment, has created a long-standing assumption that root canals are terrible, horrible, and super painful. However, thanks to advances in technology, root canal treatment is very similar to that of having a cavity filled. 

What Does a Root Canal Do for Someone? 

A root canal may be recommended by your dentist in Reno if decay or infection has moved deep into the inner workings of the tooth and a filling alone won’t fix the problem. This level of decay or infection also tends to come along with tooth pain, but a root canal will successfully remove the decay and actually ease the pain. So thanks to a root canal, your pain will be relieved and your tooth will be saved.

What’s Involved in a Root Canal Treatment? 

Understanding a root canal treatment can really help decrease fear or anxiety and overturn old assumptions of what treatment is like. Let’s take a closer look at how a dentist in Reno performs a root canal. 

  • First, your dentist will completely numb the area so you won’t feel a thing. This makes a root canal virtually pain free. 
  • Next, a tiny hole is made in the affected tooth which allows your dentist to access the inside where all the roots and nerves are located.
  • Then, the area is thoroughly cleaned out. Your dentist will empty out the tooth canals and remove everything inside including, any infection, pulp, and nerves. This completely eliminates that tooth’s ability to feel anything, alleviating the pain you had prior to treatment. 
  • Finally, the canals are sealed and capped off with a dental crown to keep anything from getting back inside the tooth. 

Do You Need a Root Canal? 

Besides tooth pain, there are other signs that you may need a root canal including: 

  • Increased pain while chewing or with applied pressure
  • Sensitivity to heat or cold that doesn’t go away quickly
  • A small raised bump on the gums near the tooth that hurts
  • Tooth discoloration 
  • Gum inflammation  

Any of the above or any combination thereof may indicate that you need a root canal. However, not every case of tooth pain, sensitivity, or inflammation automatically means a root canal is in your future. Talk with your dentist in Reno to find the source of these problems as well as the best treatment for your specific situation. 

If you think you may need a root canal, schedule an appointment with your dentist sooner rather than later. Getting treatment earlier can make all the difference in saving your tooth. And if you do need a root canal, remember that it’s to help make the pain go away, not to cause it.

Why Are My Teeth Discolored? 

When we picture a healthy smile, we all tend to envision bright, white teeth. So as your dentist in Reno, we can certainly understand why it may be concerning if you notice some discoloration in your smile. We’re also here to help by sharing some things that can cause tooth discoloration, as well as how to fix it. 

Poor Brushing Habits
The most common explanation for tooth discoloration is improper brushing or poor brushing habits. Daily brushings help remove plaque and bacteria on teeth that have built up throughout the day that otherwise could cause teeth to appear discolored. In fact, poor brushing habits can cause teeth to take on a yellowish or gray appearance, or even show orange or green spots. It’s important that you brush your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes each time to effectively remove this buildup and to protect yourself from the risk of decay, as well as discoloration. 

An Accident or Trauma
A single tooth that seems to suddenly appear darker in color can indicate a sign of tooth trauma. Perhaps you experienced a sports accident, a fall, or you bonked your mouth on a hard surface and you didn’t think much of it. Yet a day or two later your tooth starts to look gray or dull. Chances are, the tooth experienced some level of trauma and you should have your dentist in Reno check it out. 

Too Much Fluoride
Fluoride is something that many dentists use on both baby teeth and adult teeth to help strengthen enamel and protect against decay. It’s a mineral found naturally in many foods and drinks, and even in most public water supplies. However, there is such a thing as too much fluoride, and one of the most common signs of it are small white streaks or spots on the teeth known as fluorosis. 

Medications or Illness
A certain antibiotic known as tetracycline can also cause tooth discoloration if a pregnant or nursing mom takes it around the same time teeth are developing and growing. This can cause teeth to appear bluish-gray or brownish-yellow. Additionally, an illness that results in high fever and even some infections may cause discoloration. Babies who have had hyperbilirubinemia, a condition that occurs when there’s too much bilirubin in the blood and the condition that causes jaundice, may experience teeth that look blue, green, red, or brown.

Diet
A diet that contains too many acidic foods and drinks can wear down tooth enamel and cause teeth to appear dull, dark, gray, or yellow. Furthermore, a diet high in sugary foods and drinks can increase the risk of tooth decay which can present itself as dark or brown patches. Some of the most common foods and beverages that are known to cause tooth discoloration include wine, coffee, tea, berries, and even pasta sauce. 

Any discoloration in your teeth should be a sign that you should see your dentist in Reno to determine the cause as well as the best treatment. Call us to schedule an appointment today.

Can You Fix Receding Gums?

Have you ever wondered why your teeth are extra sensitive, especially when drinking something cold or even when you touch your teeth? There’s a chance that you may have receding gums. If left untreated, gum recession can cause even more sensitivity, an increase in tooth decay, and tooth loss. To make matters worse, once gum recession occurs, it can’t be reversed. However, your dentist in Reno can still help. 

What’s It Mean If You Have Receding Gums? 
Receding gums, or gum recession, essentially means that your gum tissue has started to pull away from your teeth, exposing the roots. Once tooth roots are exposed, they’re left unprotected from the elements including hot and cold beverages – and maybe even your toothbrush. The result is shooting sensitive tooth pain. Gum recession also makes it easier for bacteria to settle into these newly created crevices and cause decay. Lastly, healthy gums are responsible for holding teeth sturdy in place, but receding gums weaken that hold and can result in tooth loss. As we’ve mentioned above, once gum recession starts, there’s no way to regrow lost gum tissue. However, there are still treatment options available, and your dentist in Reno can help you find the best way to treat gum recession.  

How to Treat Receding Gums
Gum recession treatment is highly dependent on the individual case, what caused the recession in the first place, and the severity of the recession. While the effects of gum recession can’t necessarily be reversed, there are ways to prevent further damage and strengthen remaining tissue. Some treatment options include: 

  • Scaling & Root Planing: If gum recession is in the early stages and you seek care quickly, your dentist will probably recommend a scaling and root planing. This deeper dental cleaning focuses on both the tooth surfaces as well as under the gum line and the tooth roots. It helps remove plaque and tartar that brushing or a regular dental cleaning just won’t touch and smooth out tooth roots to help prevent bacteria from latching on and sticking around. This procedure is often done with a local numbing anesthetic. 
  • Antibiotics: Another treatment option for gum recession is the temporary use of antibiotics. This treatment is typically used in conjunction with scaling and root planing and helps rid the mouth of any bacteria that may still be lurking. 
  • Surgical Techniques: The final treatment for gum recession that we’d like to cover today is gum surgery. Please note that just because you’ve been told you have receding gums – doesn’t mean you’ll automatically need surgery. This treatment is often reserved for the most severe cases. There are several gum surgery techniques available and your dentist in Reno will be able to help you determine if surgery is appropriate for you and which type of surgery will be best. 

Causes
There is a multitude of things that can cause gum recession, and this is probably why it’s an incredibly common dental problem that affects many people. Some causes of gum recession include: 

  • Brushing Your Teeth Too Hard
  • Grinding and Clenching
  • Gum Disease
  • Trauma

Even though there is no way to reverse gum recession, there are ways to treat it effectively. There are also some easy ways to help prevent receding gums in the first place. To best protect yourself, brush and floss every day (but don’t brush too hard!) and see your dentist in Reno twice a year.

Stay Hydrated, Help Your Teeth

Our bodies are made up of about 60% water, so it’s fair to say that we absolutely need to drink plenty of water each and every day to help our bodies perform at their optimal level. In fact, drinking water and staying hydrated helps organs function properly, aids in digestion, keeps joints well lubricated, and can even help fight off illness. But your dentist in Reno wants you to know there are also oral benefits to staying hydrated.

Fights Off Damaging Acids

Everyone naturally has mouth bacteria, but not everyone knows that some of these bacteria are some of the most harmful things for our teeth. As we eat throughout the day, mouth bacteria are getting a feast of their own through the food particles left behind in our mouths. The longer the food is left lingering around, the more the bacteria will consume. As a byproduct of this feeding frenzy, bacteria will give off an acid. This acid, if not removed, will attack the protective layer of teeth and cause decay and cavities. However, if we choose to drink water as we eat, we can help lower this risk. Water helps wash away the source of the bacteria’s meal and without these leftovers to feed on, no acid is produced by the bacteria. Additionally, drinking water immediately after our meals will neutralize any acids that may already be at work attacking the enamel. 

Keeps Mouths Moist

Drinking water throughout the day will also help keep our mouths moist, which is key to maintaining good oral health. If our mouths are too dry it means that not enough saliva is being produced. Without saliva, bacteria are able to flourish, feeding on anything we eat and releasing acids over and over. This increases the risk of developing decay and cavities which may require dental treatment from your dentist in Reno. But that’s not all, dry mouth can also feel uncomfortable and cause chronic bad breath. Keep in mind, dry mouth can be caused by dehydration, but it can also be a result of certain medications, mouth breathing, or smoking. While not all cases of dry mouth are easily solved by drinking plenty of water, it’s not a bad habit to pick up and it certainly can’t hurt. 

Builds Strong Teeth

Drinking water, specifically fluoridated water, can further protect teeth through a process called remineralization. Our teeth’s protective layer of enamel gets worn down over time, whether as a result of too much acid, tooth grinding, or simply time. But drinking water containing fluoride can help remineralize, or rebuild, the lost enamel for better protection. Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that’s organically found in some foods. Over time, researchers have found that higher levels of fluoride resulted in lower levels of tooth decay. That’s why fluoride has been added to many public water systems. Patients can also get fluoride from their toothpaste, through foods or drinks that have been fortified with fluoride, or from their dentist in Reno.  

Water is such a simple thing, but it’s one that can make a big difference in both overall and oral health. Make sure each member of your family drinks at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water each and every day.

June is All About The Men

The month of June has always been dedicated to the men in our lives, particularly our dads. June just so happens to also be Men’s Health Month, a time for all of us to encourage the men closest to us to focus on their overall health, including their oral health. After all, as your dentist in Reno knows, there’s a strong connection between what goes inside the mouth and the rest of the body. So this June, let’s take a minute to talk about why dental care is so important, especially for men. 

Men Are More Likely To Avoid The Dentist
A study conducted by the Academy of General Dentistry showed that men are less likely than women to see their dentist in Reno regularly. In fact, many men don’t go to the dentist at all unless they’re experiencing a dental emergency. However, the truth is, if men were to see their dentist twice a year, they may be able to avoid those emergencies altogether. Regular preventive dental visits do just that — prevent problems from occurring in the first place. Professional cleanings remove plaque buildup that regular brushing and flossing at home can’t touch. This alone helps lower the risk of dental problems. 

Top Dental Concerns for Men 

  • Gum Disease. Years of research by both the American Dental Association and the Academy of General Dentistry concluded that men are more likely to develop gum disease than women. One study found that 34% of men between the ages of 30-54 have gum disease compared to 23% of women. If untreated, gum disease can cause tooth loss. In fact, on average, a man will lose more than 5 teeth by the time he reaches age 72. But that’s not all. Gum disease can also affect more than just your oral health and has been tied to overall health problems such as heart disease, respiratory problems, certain cancers, and poor prostate health. If diagnosed early, gum disease can be treated before it has a chance to affect the rest of the body. This is just one reason why seeing a dentist in Reno every six months is so important. 
  • Oral Cancer. More than 53,000 people will be newly diagnosed with oral cancer this year alone. Of those, nearly 10,000 will die from the disease. Oral cancer can be found in any of the soft tissues in the mouth, including the tongue, lips, cheeks, or way back into the throat (oropharyngeal cancer). Men are twice as likely to develop oral cancer than women, and four times more likely to develop oropharyngeal cancer. However, oral cancer can be treated and cured if it’s caught early. Again, one more reason everyone should see their dentist regularly. 
  • Necessary Advanced Dental Treatments. When we avoid our dentist in Reno, we put ourselves at risk for the serious oral health diseases above. But skipping dental appointments can also cause problems to teeth and the need for advanced dental treatment. For example, when plaque is allowed to build up on teeth over time, it greatly increases the risk of decay. Now, when a small area of decay is caught early it would only require a small filling. But if the decay is not treated, it will only get bigger and deeper into the tooth. If this happens, your dentist will need to perform a root canal to remove the infected area of the tooth. Afterward, your dentist may also need to place a dental crown to cover up the treated area. If the decay is left untreated for even longer, it can lead to a lot of pain and perhaps be too damaged to save a repair. At this time, the tooth would need to be extracted and ideally replaced with a dental implant or dental bridge. 

There are many ways that poor oral health can affect overall health and require the need for advanced dental treatment. The best way to avoid that is to see your dentist regularly and to encourage every member of your family, especially the men, to do the same. 

P.S. Don’t forget Father’s Day is June 21st!

What’s It Mean When Your Tongue is Black? 

We all know that dentists are responsible for overseeing the health of our teeth. But the truth is, your dentist in Reno is actually responsible for much more than teeth alone. Your dental team is dedicated to protecting your overall health, and one area that’s of particular interest to your dentist is your tongue. Believe it or not, your tongue can say a lot about your overall health and can show early warning of signs of some serious health conditions. 

What We Look For 

At your bi-annual dental checkups, your dentist and hygienist will take a close look at your tongue. But what exactly are they looking for? First, your dental team will look for any changes in your tongue’s texture since your last appointment, paying particular attention to any bumps or lumps. Next, your dentist in Reno will look for any tongue discoloration. A healthy tongue will be pink and covered in teeny tiny bumps called papillae. An unhealthy tongue or one that may be showing signs of a bigger problem may have any of the following:  

1) Black and Hairy – Looking into the mirror and seeing a black, hairy tongue can certainly cause someone to panic. But, however scary and gross this may seem, chances are that a black, hairy tongue is nothing to fear and is usually temporary. It may also help to know that the hairy appearance isn’t actually hair. It’s often a buildup of dead skin cells on the papillae, which causes the normally tiny bumps to take on a long, stringy appearance. 

  • Causes: Poor oral hygiene, tobacco use, excessive alcohol use, dry mouth, changes in the number of bacteria or yeast in the mouth. 
  • Symptoms: Bad breath, change in taste or a metallic taste, hairy or furry appearance, black, yellow, brown, or green coloration. 

2) A Sore, Bumpy Tongue – Every tongue naturally has a bumpy texture, and not every bump is worrisome. However, when a new bump appears and lasts for more than two weeks, or is accompanied by pain or soreness, it may be time to see your dentist in Reno. A lump or bump that doesn’t go away may be an early warning sign of oral cancer, and it’s best to get it checked sooner rather than later.

  • Causes: While anyone can develop oral cancer, there are some things that increase the risk including tobacco use, alcohol, too much sun on the lips without protection, or HPV. 
  • Symptoms: Lumps, bumps, or painful sores that don’t go away, chronic bad breath, changes in voice, difficulty chewing or swallowing, numbness of the tongue. 

3) Ridges – Changes in tongue texture may initially be concerning, but ridges or a scalloped appearance on the edges of the tongue are typically harmless. 

  • Causes: Teeth grinding, pushing the tongue against teeth either during periods of stress or even during sleep, sleep apnea, smoking, nutritional deficiencies such as vitamin B-12, riboflavin, niacin, or iron. 
  • Symptoms: Ridges, ripples, indents, or scalloped edges on the sides of the tongue.  

4) White Spots – When your tongue appears to be coated in white spots, you may be experiencing oral thrush or leukoplakia. Oral thrush is an infection caused by Candida yeast while leukoplakia is a result of tobacco use or alcohol use. Sometimes, leukoplakia can develop into oral cancer. 

  • Causes: Poor oral hygiene, tobacco use, alcohol use, dehydration, dry mouth, mouth breathing. 
  • Symptoms: White patches or spots or a white coating on the tongue. The white spots or coating can show up either on the entire tongue or just in select places.  

We always recommend that you keep a close eye on your tongue’s health in between your visits, too. If you notice any changes in texture or color or develop sores, contact your dentist in Reno as soon as you can. 

De-stress and Protect Your Oral Health

During these times of change and uncertainty, it’s only natural to feel stressed out. After all, we’ve all been thrust into staying at home and figuring out our new, temporary norm. Your dentist in Reno understands. We’re in this together, and we’d like to help by talking about how stress can affect your oral health while also providing you a few tips on how you can lower your stress during stressful times.

How Our Bodies React to Stress
Stress affects different people in different ways, and what happens to one person may not happen to another. Knowing that, let’s take a look at some of the ways our oral health tends to respond to stress.

  • Teeth Clenching & Grinding – One of the most common correlations between stress and oral health is our body’s often subconscious response to clench and grind our teeth. Most of the time, we may not even know we’re doing these things until we start to experience the side effects. The pressure of repeated teeth-on-teeth clenching can be too much for our teeth and may lead to some serious concerns including chipped, cracked, broken, or worn down teeth. But that’s not all. Constant clenching or grinding can put unnatural stress on our jaw joint and jaw muscles, which can cause jaw pain and the development of TMJ disorder. TMJ disorder and jaw pain can often be treated successfully, so if you recognize any clicking or popping in the jaw joint, jaw pain, or occasional jaw locking call your dentist in Reno.*
  • Gum Disease – Gum disease is a serious oral health problem that can contribute to other whole-body health concerns such as the increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, respiratory disease, and some cancers. Usually, gum disease is a result of inadequate oral hygiene, not seeing your dentist regularly, or tobacco use. However, recent studies have also shown a connection between increased stress and the occurrence of gum disease. Gum disease can be treated if caught early, so if you notice bleeding gums, bad breath that doesn’t go away, or swollen, painful gums, see your dentist.

De-Stress to Protect
Your dentist in Reno wants to encourage you to try different things to help you de-stress, for your overall health, mental health, and yes, your oral health. Some things you can try include:

  • Sleeping Well. Getting enough sleep is important to help lower stress and keep your overall body functioning well. Having trouble sleeping? Avoid blue light at least an hour before bed, listen to calming music or relaxing sounds, and keep a regular sleep schedule (yes, even on weekends).
  • Exercising Daily. Hop on the treadmill or stationary bike, go for a walk, do some yoga, but whatever you do, do some sort of exercise daily. Regular exercise naturally lowers stress by giving your body and brain a surge of endorphins, which make you feel happy and more relaxed.
  • Meditating. Believe it or not, simply focusing on your breath and practicing some deep breathing techniques can lower your heart rate and blood pressure and help you feel more relaxed. Look for a free app on your phone or videos online to help guide you through breathing exercises or full meditation sessions.

It’s more important now than ever before to work on decreasing stress levels. We hope some of the tips above help. As we’ve mentioned before, stress is different for everyone, and that also includes stress management. Try to find the method that works best for you.

*At the time of publishing, the ADA recommends that all preventive dental appointments and non-emergency consultations be postponed. Please check with your local regulations.