• Does Anxiety and Stress Affect Your Dental Health?

    Anxiety and stress may be damaging your dental health, but probably not how you think it is. Most of us know someone who refuses to visit the dentist due to dental phobia and fear. Lost dental hygiene visits can cause damage related to neglect, however, physical stress can actually affect the health and quality of your teeth as well.

    Bruxism Bruxism, commonly referred to as teeth grinding, affects many Americans during both waking and sleeping hours, and is often related to stress. Bruxism can contribute to tooth fractures, enamel loss, ground down teeth, and, in severe cases, tooth loss and cavities due to lack of enamel or root damage. People associate tooth grinding with sleeping, but chewing on hard objects or clenching your teeth can also be linked to Bruxism.

    TMJ TMJ is frequently linked to Bruxism, and is caused by tensing the jaw and causing strain in the muscles in the jaw and neck. TMJ manifests itself through joint pain, inability to open your mouth, or popping when the mouth is opened.

    Gum Disease Patients who experienced high levels of stress over the previous year showed more aggressive levels of gum disease. Stress factors such as a spouse, children, finances, work, or lack of companionship can impact gum disease levels.

    Higher Risk for Cavities Anxiety can cause a dry mouth due to mouth breathing, acid backup, dehydration, or internal fluid changes associated with severe anxiety. The link between anxiety, dry mouth, and cavities is strong, but can be helped with special mouthwashes.

    Canker Sores Canker sores pop up due to over-aggressively brushing your teeth, biting your cheek, or just through stress alone.

    Managing stress can help prevent dental damage, which can keep your teeth healthy between dental visits. If your teeth have suffered from stress, Maple Avenue Family Dentistry can help! Contact our office today at 401-237-4324.

  • 5 Tips For Healthy Tips for Teeth and Gums This Holiday Season!

    Of Couse this is not just for the holiday season but year round!

    1) Diet
    A great way is a diet rich on vegetables, nuts and fruits. A strong immune system is very important to help fight inflammation and bacteria. Essential vitamins and antioxidants found in fruits, vegetables and nuts help protect gums and teeth as well as keep them clean and give the breath some freshness.

    2) The Obvious – Do not Smoke or the use of Tobacco.
    The single worst thing one can do for their oral health is smoking. Using tobacco causes not only oral cancer but also cancer of the throat and lungs. It can also put one at higher risk for gum disease, recession, tooth decay and staining that is difficult to remove. Smokeless tobacco is particularly risky when it comes to oral cancer.

    3) Light alcohol intake
    The consumption of alcohol is associated with increase in oral cancer risks especially if associated with smoking. It has been reported that it also promotes gum disease. Patients who consume excessive amounts of alcohol usually have poor oral hygiene.

    4) Proper flossing and brushing.
    Good homecare habits help maintain one’s overall heath. It is important to floss at least once a day and to brush twice a day at minimum. Without consistent oral hygiene, plaque and tartar will build up quickly and harmful bacteria will start colonizing the gums and teeth causing decay and gum disease.

    5) Regular dental visits
    See the dentist for routine checkup and dental cleanings at least twice a year or more often if recommended by your dentist. Some patients who have oral conditions such as gum disease or patients who are under orthodontic treatment generally need to have a cleaning appointment every three or four months to maintain the health of their gums and teeth.

    Following the above recommendations will keep you healthier and possibly help avoid the need for major dental treatment.
    If you are looking for more information on how to take better care of your gums and teeth call Maple Avenue Family Dentistry at (401) 237-4585 We look forward to speaking with you!

  • Oral Hygiene and Dental Implants

    Good oral hygiene is important for everyone, but for people with dental implants, it is even more important. A dental implant procedure is an alternative to dental bridges or dentures for people who are missing teeth. They can be used with dental crowns, dental bridges or dentures to replace one missing tooth or several missing teeth.

    What Is A Dental Implant?

    A dental implant is a titanium screw that is surgically placed into the jawbone and used to anchor prosthetic teeth. Implants are designed to function much like the roots of your own natural teeth, and they can last for many years. The success rate is extremely high, particularly when patients follow post-procedure instructions.

    Oral Hygiene

    Accumulation of plaque or tartar around your dental implant can irritate the gums. Gingivitis, which is caused by poor dental hygiene, can inflame the gums around the implant. If the condition advances to the underlying structures, it can affect the bone that anchors the dental implant and ultimately lead to your implant failing. Implant failure is more likely to occur in those who have poor dental hygiene, certain health conditions or who smoke heavily.

    Patients with implants need to establish a conscientious habit of effective oral hygiene. Daily removal of bacterial plaque from teeth surfaces through brushing and flossing greatly reduce the risk of infection and subsequent inflammation. It is also important to monitor the condition of your gums, especially around implants. If you begin to notice bleeding, red or swollen gums, or other signs of possible gum disease, you should contact your dentist as soon as possible for an assessment.

    If you would like more information on hygiene practices with implants, please contact Maple Avenue Family Dentistry today to schedule a consultation at 401-237-4038.

  • Dealing with TMJ Disorders

    Temporomandibular disorder affects the joint that runs along the side of the face and connects the jaw to the skull. This joint allows the jaw to move from side to side or up and down fluidly and comfortably. The TMJ, which is considered one of the most important joints in the body, can begin to deteriorate as the cartilage discs experience wear, shift or slip out of place. As the joint becomes inflamed and the nerves irritated, you may experience pain, discomfort and a wide variety of symptoms. TMJ disorder not only causes pain and difficulty opening the jaw, but can eventually lead to cracked and worn teeth as they sustain an enormous amount of pressure each night.

    Risk Factors

    Repetitive motions such as those associated with eating are not enough to increase your risk of developing TMJ disorders. However, they can increase vulnerability. Misaligned teeth, arthritis, bruxism, car accidents and a direct hit to the jaw can also increase your risk of TMJ disorders.

    Symptoms

    Pain in the jaw joint may be the most noticeable symptom of TMJ disorders. The jaw joint may also pop loudly when the mouth is opened. Ear pain, headaches, facial pain, neck aches and shoulder pains can also indicate problems with the TMJ. A jaw that locks, loose teeth, worn teeth or a suddenly misaligned bite may be symptoms as well.

    TMJ Treatment Options

    If you are diagnosed with TMJ disorder, we can help lessen the symptoms of this debilitating disorder. Depending on the severity of your TMJ symptoms warm compresses, anti-inflammatory drugs and a soft diet can help reduce pain. TMJ symptoms see marked improvement from slight to moderate realignment of bite, made possible through Invisalign. An added benefit is the cosmetic appeal of these patients’ smiles is also simultaneously improved. To combat the main components of TMJ disorder, namely muscle strain and nerve pressure, we have seen great success from the use of night guards. These customized mouth guards work to gently relax muscles and lessen the effects of teeth grinding.

    Learn More About TMJ Disorders

    Contact Maple Avenue Family Dentistry to schedule an appointment and begin your journey towards finding relief. We offer a wide range of cosmetic, restorative, and family dentistry services to help you manage the health of your smile. Call us today at 401-237-4038.