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Were you just advised a Nightguard?

Were you just advised a Nightguard?

Were you just advised a Nightguard?

Did your dentist just tell you that you need a nightguard? Yet, You don’t see anything wrong with your teeth?

“Yes. No cavities. No discolorations. Perhaps a little hypersensitivity once in a blue moon? Or an unexplained neck stiffness? Oh, but that has nothing to do with my teeth!! The pillow wasn’t in the right place! And those occasional sensitive teeth? Who doesn’t have those? Conclusion: I know my body better than the dentist. I definitely don’t need a nightguard.”

Now let’s see what a nightguard is advised for. The condition is called BRUXISM. The American Academy of Orofacial Pain defines it as “diurnal or nocturnal parafunctional activity including clenching, bracing, gnashing, and grinding of the teeth.”

How did the dentist know you are a bruxer;(when you are absolutely sure you are not)?

A very simple answer – BY LOOKING AT YOUR TEETH.

Still not sure if you are a teeth clencher?

Here is a picture of symptoms and signs present in your entire face, neck, head and jaws that you might have never thought to be related to this habit of yours! Take a look.

Other than these general symptoms, look out for these specific ones too

1. In your head
  • Migraine/Sinus type headaches
  • Shooting pain at the back of the head
  • Hair & scalp painful to touch
2. In your eyes
  • Pain behind eyes
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Sensitive to sunlight
3. In your ears
  • Clogged/itchy ears
  • Vertigo/dizziness
4. In your throat
  • difficulty in swallowing
  • Contant coughing/clearing of throat
  • Feeling of foreign object in the throat
5. in your jaws
  • Pain in cheek muscles
  • Morning jaw pain/stiffness
  • Difficulty in opening the mouth
  • Clicking sounds in the jaw joints
  • Can’t find the bite
6. In your neck
  • Pain and stiffness
  • Shoulder aches/ back aches
  • Arm/ finger numbness

By now if you have understood that you do have bruxism, lets move on to see why does it happen and what is the role of a nightguard.

Causes of Bruxism:

This condition has a multifactorial etiology. I have attempted to depict below the usual causes. Sometimes it’s because of a single constant stimulant, sometimes its because of all of these creating a cumulative effect.

By looking at the image above if you feel that you might have bruxism, lets move on to see why does it happen and what is the role of a nightguard.

Finally, the role of a Nightguard:

Nightguards put a barrier between your teeth. 

When you clench your jaw, the night guard helps to distribute the pressure and give cushion to the muscles in the jaw. This cushioning not only helps to prevent face and jaw pain, but also protects the enamel of your teeth from getting further worn down and getting chipped off.

While a nightguard will not reverse the physical wear down of your teeth, it will definitely give relief from the pain and stiffness. it might not undo what’s been done, but it will definitely not let it worsen.

I hope, after reading this, you will pick up that nightguard kept on your nightstand and wear it.

I hope, you go back to your dentist and get that pending nightguard made.

I also hope, for those of you who have had these symptoms, but were never really sure where they were coming from, you will make an appointment with your dentist and go get yourself checked today.

It might start with a small chipping of the teeth, or perhaps a mild soreness in facial muscles, but don’t let it make your old age full of painful jaws and stiffer neck! Get your teeth checked; Today.

Finally, before you think that bruxism is only prevalent in kids, think again. Look for signs of grinding in your 1 year old, or wait, you, in your 11 years old kid too and wait for my next blog where I will shed some light on how bruxism might be affecting your tiny tots.

Feel free to get in touch with me if you have any queries!

Dr. Chetna Kumar

BDS, MDS, FAGE

Certified Invisalign Provider

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Warning signs that my child needs braces!

Warning signs that my child needs braces!

Warning signs that my child needs braces!

“Sir/Ma’am, your child needs to get braces for their teeth. If you don’t get braces now, so many things can happen…more dental decay, tooth pain, asymmetry of jaws, facial contour……” and then what follows are a series of questions, online searches, asking friends and colleagues!

Recently, I have come across so many parents asking me about what are those warning signs that they must look out for. Getting braces is a treatment that burns a decent hole in your pockets. Naturally, everyone wants to get their facts right before plunging into that kind of a pool of investment.

Here I will try to give you a very brief, yet, a very insightful take on how to judge for yourself if you need to start worrying about your child’s dental and facial structure or not.

Now moving on to the warning signs. For your understanding I have divided it into two groups:

  1. For children who still have some of their milk teeth(PRE-TEENS)
  2. For children/teenagers with all permanent teeth(TEENAGERS)

You should know that while some of these problems like the Deep bite and Spacing are considered normal for a child of perhaps 6-9 years, they are a definite warning sign in a teenager and MUST be treated.

FOR CHILDREN WITH MILK TEETH (FOR PRE-TEENS)

If your little one’s teeth look anything like these you might have to get an orthodontic treatment for them as they grow older

Openbite

If the upper and lower teeth do not close (open bite) it could be because of persistentthumb sucking or tongue sucking.

Crossbite

If upper and lower teeth criss-cross with each other, this is an indication that they would require braces.

Protrusion

Normally upper teeth should be a little ahead of the lower teeth. If you notice that the difference is more than 5-6 mm you should visit

Crowding

Permanent teeth erupting out of line with other teeth.

Reverse bite

Lower teeth are either ahead of or edge to edge with the upper teeth. NOTE: This condition requires the treatment to be started by the time the child is 7 to 8 years old.

FOR CHILDRENWITH ALL PERMANENT TEETH (TEENAGERS)

Apart from the above discussed features, here are some more to look out for in your teenager’s teeth to assess their need for braces.

Crowding

Permanent teeth erupting out of line with other teeth, overlapping with each other shows there is not enough space in the mouth for all the teeth to erupt in their proper places.

Spacing w/wo openbite

Spaces between the teeth should not be ignored either. Problems like tongue thrust, speech problems, loosening of teeth occur in people with such teeth.

Deepbite

Upper teeth completely covering the lower teeth or more than half of the lower teeth is again a warning for futuredental problems like hypersensitivity, and shortened facial height etc.

Protrusion

Upper teeth protruding forward or both upper/lower teeth protruding forward causing the face to look protruded or lips to not close completely.

Reverse bite

Lower teeth protruding ahead of upper teeth. This is a progressive malocclusion and increases further with age. The lower jaw keeps growing forward and the lower part of the face looks elongated horizontally. After attaining adulthood, this condition requires surgery to restore the cosmetic and functional attributes of the face and the jaws. Early treatment with braces can prevent that and channel the facial growth to make the face look symmetrical.

I hope these images draw a somewhat better picture in your minds so as to what to notice when you see your kids smile the next time.

Don’t let them hide their smiles in pictures!

Don’t let them be camera shy!

Visit an orthodontist and give them the gift of a dazzling smile!

Dr Chetna Kumar
BDS, MDS(Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopaedics), FAGE & Certified Invisalign Provider

If you have any more queries that you might want to ask, this is where you will find me!

Email: chetnakr4@gmail.com

 

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