Bruxism, or grinding of the teeth, is a fairly common condition that affects a majority of the adult population (estimates range up to 85%). It usually occurs while sleeping and the individual is completely unaware that he or she is grinding his teeth. Unfortunately, this bad habit can lead to a host of other dental problems.
How would I know if I grind my teeth?
- Teeth appear worn down or damaged
- Enamel has been worn down exposing a yellow layer (dentin)
- Experience headaches or migraines in the morning or right after waking up
- Frequent earaches
- Ringing in the ears, especially in the morning
- Sensitive teeth
- Have a loved one observe you in your sleep, grinding of the teeth will occur quite frequently throughout the night
- Facial Pain
What causes teeth grinding [bruxism]?
Causes of bruxism are still under investigation. However, the most common causes are as follows:
- Sleep disorders
How can I treat bruxism?
Effective treatment is still in the research phase. The best way to prevent and control grinding of the teeth is to wear a nightguard. This can be purchased over the counter or provided by your dentist. Also, try to find ways to reduce the amount of stress in your life. Activities such as deep breathing and yoga have found to be successful in reducing one’s stress level.
Please do not hesitate to visit the dentist if you suspect brusixm. Grinding of the teeth can lead to several other dental problems including TMJ issues, the need for fillings, crowns, root canals, bridges, and even extractions. Eventually, once the grinding becomes bad, the teeth can loosen and will need to be removed. This is definitely not an issue to take lightly.
Have more questions? Feel free to leave a commit or submit a question to be included in our FAQ’s.
Canker sores, known in the medical world as recurrent aphthous stomatitis, are fairly common mouth ulcers that have various presentations. Not to be confused with oral herpes, these lesions only present inside of the mouth. According to medical texts, around 20% of the general population suffers from this ailment.
How do canker sores appear in the mouth?
Canker sores can appear as small (ranges from 3 mm to 3 cm in diameter) gray or white round lesions surrounded by a red border. Its appearance is due to an actual destruction of the mucosa by the immune system, primarily T lymphocytes. These lesions can appear on the inside of the cheek, floor of the mouth (under the tongue), roof of the mouth (palate), or on the tongue only.
What are the symptoms?
A burning, tingling, or itching sensation may occur in the area before the sore appears. Once present, the lesion is usually painful when eating, drinking, or even talking. Any type of movement may initiate the pain. Depending on the classification of the ulcer, a fever or swollen lymph nodes may also appear.
What causes the sores?
Though one definitive cause has yet to be identified, several factors can contribute to the appearance of canker sores including:
- Family history (can possibly be hereditary)
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Direct trauma or agitation
- Major hormonal changes (i.e. puberty)
- Can be associated with major systemic disease
Which type of canker sore do I have?
There are several types of canker sores. The charts below summarize the three types of clinical variants and two types of classifications.
Usually leave no scar when healed
Have burning or itching sensation
1-5 lesions per episode
|Usually appear for 7-14 days
Begins in childhood or adolescence
Surrounded by red border
Women affected more than men
|Major||1-3 cm in diameter (larger than the two other forms)
1-10 lesions per episode
|Usually associated with hormonal changes and may develop shortly after puberty
Can last from 2-6 weeks
Heals with no scar
|Many lesions (up to 100) per episode||Begins in adult life
Lasts 7-10 days
|Has the most frequent occurrences of all 3 forms|
Types of Canker Sores
- Usually associated with pain
- Heals in 1-2 weeks
- Few lesions
- Doesn’t occur that often
- Associated with severe pain
- Never completely heals. Lesions always present.
- Numerous lesions present
Treatment for Canker Sores
- If mild, the doctor or dentist may prescribe topical corticosteroid cream to apply to the area.
- If in a hard to reach area, like on the tonsils, a beclomethasone dipropionate may be prescribed.
- Anti-virals such as acyclovir
- Vitamins, especially zinc sulfate
Many cold sores are minor and will disappear on their own. However, if your cold sore does not resolve on its own, or is reoccurring, please visit your dentist or physician for assistance.
Do you Have a Bump on the Lip or Inside the Mouth?
Cold sores (Fever Blisters), better known as herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), are small, irregular shaped, yellow or white ulcerations/sores located in the mouth, lips, or surrounding skin. The sores typically start off as red, then collapse to form a yellowish ulcer. These lesions are usually painful.
The first breakout of HSV-1 is more severe than recurrent episodes. The initial breakout is oftentimes seen in children between 6 months and 5 years and is known as acute herpetic gingivostomatitis.
Recurrent breakouts usually appear on the lip or surrounding skin and are known as herpes labialis. 15-45% of the population has a history of herpes labialis.
What are the symptoms of Cold Sores?
The following symptoms will occur 6-24 hours before a breakout:
- Redness of the skin
Shortly after, multiple small red lesions will appear. The sores rupture within 2 days, crust over, and generally fully heal in 7-10 days.
If this is an initial breakout, the following symptoms may also occur:
- Sore throat
- Muscle pain
What causes cold sores?
The sores are caused by a DNA virus known as herpes simplex virus. Unfortunately the virus remains in the system even when no breakout is present. Breakouts can also be provoked by the following factors:
- Ultraviolet light
- Respiratory illnesses
- Other diseases
Is there treatment for cold sores [herpes labialis]?
Unfortunately there is no known treatment that can completely cure the disease. However, there are several treatments that can be used to decrease or temporarily alleviate the symptoms of herpes. These treatments include:
- Anti-viral medications such as Acyclovir
- Nonsteriodal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen, to alleviate the pain
- Over the counter topical anesthetic gels can also help to decrease pain and discomfort