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 Lawrenceville 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 Lawrenceville.*
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 Lawrenceville 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.
As of March 18, 2020, the American Dental Association has recommended a nationwide postponement of all elective dental procedures and encouraged dentists to provide emergency services only. But how do you determine the difference between a dental emergency and a non-emergency? The ADA is helping out there, too and released important information and guidance to help both you and your dentist in Lawrenceville during these unprecedented times.
What Are Dental Emergencies?
According to the ADA, dental emergencies are “potentially life-threatening and require immediate treatment to stop ongoing tissue bleeding [or to] alleviate severe pain or infection.” The guide released to dentists back in March goes into even more detail to give specific examples of potential dental emergencies. Let’s take a look.
- Uncontrolled bleeding
- Cellulitis or soft tissue infection with swelling that can affect breathing
- Trauma to facial bones that may reduce someone’s ability to breathe
Urgent Dental Care
There is also a subset of the ADA’s guidelines to emergency dental needs called urgent dental care. These problems may still require dental care quickly and include:
- Severe dental pain caused by pulpal inflammation
- Third-molar pain
- Tooth fractures with pain or resulting in soft tissue trauma
- Post-op complications such as dry socket
- Abscess or localized bacterial infection with swelling
- Dental trauma that results in a lost tooth
- Lost or broken temporary restoration or if a restoration is irritating the gum tissue
This is not an all-inclusive list of all dental emergencies that may require immediate treatment. Other situations may include defective restorations that cause pain, extensive cavities or decay that cause pain, needed adjustments to dental appliances when they aren’t functioning properly, or the replacement of temporary fillings where the patient is in pain.
At this time, dental offices are discouraged from having preventive, routine appointments or seeing patients with non-urgent needs such as:
- Initial consultation for cosmetic procedures
- Restorative dentistry such as fillings if there is no pain
- Extractions of teeth that are not causing pain
- Dental cleanings, x-rays, and routine checkups.
Please note, while your dentist in Lawrenceville is here to help you in any way possible, there are some limitations as to what we can and cannot do at this time. The best thing to do if you think you’re experiencing a dental emergency is to call your dentist.
*As information about COVID-19 changes regularly both at the state level and on a national scale, please check your local area for the most recent updates regarding dental care.
It’s always good to get out and get some exercise. When you’re participating in any sport, your dentist in Lawrenceville will always remind you to protect your smile. All too often, we talk about avoiding sweets or sports drinks, food, and beverages that can damage your enamel and break down teeth. We forget about what’s happening on the field, the court, or the ice that may be putting your teeth in far greater danger than a piece of candy.
We’re going to break down the top 4 most dangerous sports for smiles. (We’re willing to bet you can’t guess what number one is… it fools a lot of folks!)
#1 – Sports That Rely on Sticks, Bats, Etc.
There’s a reason this is number one on our list. Sports involving the combination of a ball and a stick or bat are a big danger to your smile. Think about what it’s like for your teeth to be on the receiving end of a stick or a bat. Not too fun right? Some popular pastimes that fall into this category include:
– Field Hockey
– And More
One of the most damaging things about these sports is that athletes (we’re talking to you, hockey players) tend not to wear mouthguards. We don’t know if it’s wanting to appear tougher, etc. but it can have a significant impact on your smile and your wallet if your teeth get knocked out by a fastball or slapshot.
(And don’t think football should be left off this list. Football players wear mouthguards for a reason, whether it’s contact or even a football to the face, there’s damage to be done on the gridiron.)
#2 – X-treme Sports
This one goes out to all of our thrill-seekers and fans of alternative-type sports. There’s certainly nothing wrong with:
– Shredding some pipe on your skateboard
– Enjoying corduroy conditions on your snowboard
– Doing some freestyle tricks on your BMX bike
You may think these sports are reserved for the pros you see killing it at the X-Games, but in all reality, they’re still pretty popular recreational activities. Sometimes you take a tumble or suffer a fall that impacts your smile. This can spell big trouble for teeth, both big and small. Your Lawrenceville dentist reminds dads, moms, and kids to protect your teeth with a custom sportsguard!
#3 – Boxing, MMA, Martial Arts
Sports such as martial arts, mixed martial arts, boxing, and others shouldn’t be overlooked when taking teeth. On the professional level, most of these types of sports require a participant to wear some form of mouthguard or sportsguard. But that still doesn’t mean that accidents can’t happen when you take a kick or a punch straight to the face.
#4 – Basketball
Even though it’s number four on our list, basketball actually ranks at the top for being dangerous for your smile. This is simply because many players, whether on the court at the local gym or suiting up for the NBA, don’t wear a mouthguard or sportsguard. Despite how it might appear sometimes, basketball can get pretty physical, and it’s easy for an elbow to go flying and smack you right in the mouth. Players are often exerting a lot of force to gain position or control of the ball to get that game-changing shot. Believe it or not, basketball can be bad for your smile!
We hope you always give it your all, no matter what you do. Remember that it only takes a few seconds to do damage to your teeth, whether they’re broken or completely knocked out when you’re playing the sport you love. Your smile is yours for the rest of your life, so you want to make sure you’re taking all of the necessary steps to protect it both on and off the field, court, or ice.
Don’t forget to take your mouth or sportsguard with you when you’re suiting up. We want you and your smile to be part of the action for years to come. Stay safe and always remember to have fun.
If, for whatever reason, you ever find yourself in a dental emergency, please don’t hesitate to call our Lawrenceville dental office right away. There’s always someone ready to listen and help you get out of pain, fast. Call us today to learn more or to schedule an appointment for you and your smile.
Nobody ever wants to experience the pain and discomfort of a toothache. But the truth is, toothaches can happen to anyone, and they can come without warning. While the best way to treat a toothache is to see your dentist in Lawrenceville as quickly as you can, there are some things you can do before your appointment to help ease the pain.
5 Ways to Ease a Toothache
Toothache pain can come with a lot of discomfort. But this pain doesn’t necessarily stay only in the affected tooth. You can get a headache, your gums may pulse, and your entire mouth can feel the effects. Try these tips to help.
- Salt Water Rinse – Gently swish a solution of warm water and salt around your mouth a few times a day. This will help dry out fluid in the affected area and ease pressure on the nerves. Just make sure not to swallow the concoction.
- Ice – Just like any other injury, ice can help reduce inflammation and pressure on the nerves. Put an ice pack or a cold compress on the side of your face where the pain is coming from. Don’t put anything cold directly onto your skin. Use a cloth as a barrier.
- Anti-inflammatories – Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications may also ease toothache pain. Read the label on the bottle to determine how much should take. Remember, swallow the medication and do not apply it directly to the gums or tooth.
- Floss – If a piece of food stuck between two teeth may be causing the pain it’s ok to take a piece of floss and gently try to wiggle it out. The keyword here is gently. Too much pressure or roughly flossing can cause damage and more pain.
- Anesthetic – Many pharmacies and grocery stores carry over-the-counter oral anesthetics for tooth pain relief. They will temporary numb your mouth so you can get a little relief. However, these gels or liquids are not meant to be a permanent solution.
What Causes Toothaches Anyway?
There’s no one thing that can cause a toothache. Many things ranging from decay, cavities, or a dental injury may be to blame. While usually caused something minor which is easily treated at our Lawrenceville dental office, there are times when a toothache may be a sign of gum disease, infection, or chronic tooth grinding. Whatever is causing your toothache, it’s best to get it checked as soon as you can to avoid the need for in-depth treatment.
What You Can Do to Reduce Your Risk
Although toothaches can happen to anyone at any time, there are certain precautions you can take to reduce your risk of getting one. First, make sure to keep up with your dental appointments every six months. These dental cleanings and exams can catch potential problems before they have a chance to turn into an unwanted toothache. Second, practice good oral hygiene habits of brushing and flossing every day to remove food particles, bacteria, and plaque from teeth that could otherwise cause decay.
You don’t need to continue to suffer from toothache pain, and often times they’re easily treated. Try these at-home remedies and schedule an appointment at our dental office in Lawrenceville as soon as you can. We’re always happy to help.