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Bruxism is one of the lesser known, but still very common, threats to your smile. Keep reading to learn more about what bruxism is, and how it can negatively affect your oral health.

And remember, our Saint Louis dentists offer effective treatments for bruxism, so that you can protect your smile from long-term damage.

Bruxism is a condition that is characterized by chronic dental grinding and clenching. You may find that you are clenching your teeth during the day, especially during times of stress. Alternatively, many people grind their teeth when they are asleep at night. Nighttime bruxism sufferers often discover that they are grinding their teeth because their sleeping partners hear them grinding, or because they start waking up with sore or painful jaws.

Bruxism is not only inconvenient; it can also cause very serious health problems:

· Chronic dental grinding weakens dental enamel. Without treatment, you are likely to suffer from dental cracks or chips.

· Weakened enamel is also more susceptible to dental decay. If your enamel develops micro-cracks, these weak spots can become hotbeds of bacteria accumulation.

· Bruxism also puts an unhealthy amount of pressure on your temporomandibular joint. The TMJ is the joint that connects your skull to your lower jaw. When you grind and clench your teeth you strain this joint. Bruxism sufferers are prone to developing TMJ dysfunction: jaw pain/stiffness, popping sensation in the jaw, limited jaw mobility.

There are a number of ways to address bruxism. Our team may recommend that you wear a protective mouth guard at night. We may also suggest that you refine your bite—either using bonding or orthodontics—so that your bite comes together in a comfortable way (poorly aligned bite is a common cause of bruxism).

Call our Saint Louis dentists to get more information and to schedule your personal consultation with our team!

Many dental patients find that their teeth become more sensitive as time goes on. And, in fact, every year as the weather turns colder our Saint Louis dentists hear from people who are experiencing new or increased dental sensitivity.

You may feel dental discomfort when you walk out and your teeth meet a cold burst of air. Your teeth may also react to cold beverages and ice cream. Alternatively, you may experience sensitivity when your teeth are cold and they are exposed to something warm, like coffee.

So why does this happen?

Generally, this type of dental sensitivity occurs because your dental enamel has changed in consistency and/or thinned. Dental enamel is the outermost layer of your tooth—when you look in the mirror and see white and shiny teeth, what you’re really looking at is your dental enamel. Enamel is designed to protect the more sensitive, inner layers of your tooth—the dentin and the dental pulp.

Many things can cause your enamel to become weaker and thin. Acidic substances, for example, cause dental enamel to demineralize and wear down. Oral bacteria can also infiltrate your dental enamel and bore holes into the inner tooth structure. Alternatively, if you suffer from bruxism—chronic dental grinding—the pressure that this condition puts on your enamel leads to dental deterioration.

When enamel thins, it may leave dental nerves too exposed. Thus, changes in temperature, and extreme temperatures in general, can activate these nerves and cause dental discomfort.

The good news is that there are treatments that can strengthen and fortify your enamel, and there are treatments that can cover your enamel with a strong and resilient restorative substance. If you want to learn more about how our team addresses insufficient enamel, reach out to our Saint Louis dentists for more information. You can always reach us by phone or by using the Contact Us page on our website.

Sleep apnea is a harmful condition that can take a toll on your sleep quality and overall wellbeing. More and more people are learning about sleep apnea, which means that more and more people are able to seek treatment for this chronic problem. Today our Saint Louis sleep apnea dentists are answering some of the questions that we commonly hear from sleep apnea patients.

Q: How do I know if I have sleep apnea?
A: The best way to know for sure is to complete a sleep study. A sleep study allows our team to understand what, precisely, is happening with your breathing during the night. Prior to a sleep study, there are some key red flags that can indicate sleep apnea: obstructive snoring, fatigue, headaches, dry mouth upon waking, and daytime concentration problems.

Q: How do I make sleep apnea go away?
A: There are some lifestyle changes that you can make in order to decrease your likelihood of suffering from sleep apnea. If, for example, you care currently overweight, your sleep apnea may abate as you get in better shape. However, for many people, sleep apnea is a condition that requires professional medical treatment. The traditional treatment for obstructive sleep apnea is a CPAP machine, which helps to force air through your airway during the night. Our team treats sleep apnea with small, easier to use oral appliances, which help to position your jaw in such a way as to facilitate healthy airflow.

Q: What happens if I don’t do anything about my sleep apnea?

A: We can’t say for sure, but generally this isn’t recommended. You will probably continue to suffer from inconvenient problems like memory issues, headaches, fatigue, and loud snoring. More alarmingly, there is mounting evidence that sleep apnea patients are at a greater risk of suffering from a wide range of whole-body health issues including diabetes, high blood pressure, heart problems, and stroke.

If you think that you may be dealing with sleep apnea related health issues, our Saint Louis dentists are here to help you in any way that we can. Please call our helpful team in order to set up a consultation!

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