Smileboston Cosmetic and Implant Dentistry

The Tooth About Teeth Grinding

Bruxism is a common oral condition that affects most people at some point in their lives. The two main characteristics of this condition are the grinding of teeth and clenching of the jaw. Grinding and clenching usually occurs while a person is sleeping and occasionally while awake.

Bruxism is one of the most common known sleep disorders. Chewing is a neuromuscular activity controlled by a subconscious process, but more highly controlled by the brain. It is thought that during sleep, the subconscious process may become active while the higher control is inactive (asleep), resulting in bruxism. The most common symptoms are earaches and headaches, increased tooth pain and sensitivity, jaw, neck or face pain and soreness. And while we don’t completely know what causes Bruxism, it is likely due to a number of psychological, genetic and environmental factors. Stress, anxiety, medication and substance use, mental health and medical conditions can all contribute to Bruxism.

Should I seek treatment for Bruxism?

Gum Recession – Bruxism is a leading cause of gum recession and tooth loss. Grinding teeth can damage soft tissue  and lead to loose teeth and deep pockets where bacteria are able to colonize and decay the supporting bone.

Facial Pain – Grinding shortens the teeth and can lead to facial muscle pain and headaches.

Broken Teeth – The abnormal wear patterns on the chewing surfaces of the teeth can lead to fractures, which if left untreated, may require restorative treatment.

Arthritis – In the most severe cases, Bruxism can eventually lead to painful arthritis in the temporomandibular (TMJ) joints that allow the jaw to open and close smoothly.

Bruxism Treatment Options

Custom sleep guards are a long term solution and can prevent damage from teeth grinding during sleep. Additionally, Botox, widely known for smoothing facial wrinkles, can be injected into the muscles responsible for bruxing (clenching). Botox treatment works by disabling these muscles enough to prevent grinding and clenching incidents while not disrupting normal functions like speaking and chewing.

Are you experiencing facial pain or headaches? Smileboston can help. Call 617-277-4100 to schedule an appointment.

The Scoop on Tooth Sensitivity

HAVE YOU EVER FELT a painful jolt through your teeth when you bite into ice cream or take a sip of hot coffee? If so, then you’re familiar with the woes of tooth sensitivity, and you’re not alone. More than half of adults age 20-50 experience some degree of sensitivity, and children’s teeth can be sensitive too.

Why does this happen? In order to understand tooth sensitivity, it helps to learn a bit about the structure of a tooth and how its various parts function.

The Anatomy Of A Tooth

The crown is the white portion of the tooth that can be seen above the gum line. Each tooth is covered in a thin layer of hard enamel. Beneath the enamel is dentin, a bony substance with thousands of microscopic tubules that run through it. These tubules are how the nerves in the pulp at the core of each tooth detect what’s going on at the surface.

Causes Of Sensitivity

Most often, tooth sensitivity occurs when the hard enamel wears away. This happens for a variety of reasons, teeth grinding, erosion from acid, or even improper brushing. With the enamel compromised, the tubules in the dentin become exposed. Once that happens, eating or drinking anything hot or cold — sometimes even sweet or sour — will give the tooth a nasty shock.

Another major cause of sensitivity is root exposure. Because teeth roots don’t have that layer of enamel, their main defense is the gums. When gum recession occurs, which can also be caused by teeth grinding or improper brushing, the roots of the tooth are vulnerable. Other causes of sensitivity include cavities or having a chipped or fractured tooth.

How You Can Protect Your Teeth

If you do have sensitive teeth, there are several ways to fight back. First, use a soft-bristled toothbrush. Hard bristles can further damage tooth enamel and gum tissue. Another measure is switching to toothpaste that is specifically formulated for sensitive teeth. Finally, avoid sugary or acidic foods and drinks, particularly soft drinks.

Smileboston Can Help!

If you are experiencing tooth sensitivity be sure to come see us – even if your next scheduled appointment is still months away.  The professional team at Smileboston can strengthen your teeth with a fluoride varnish, perform restore areas with enamel loss, prescribe a desensitizing toothpaste or address any areas of gum recession with the Pinhole Surgical Technique.  Visit Smileboston online for more information or give us a call at 617-277-4100.

Taking Care of Your Pet’s Teeth

Many well meaning pet owners assume that furry friends don’t need dental care like we do. After all, animals can’t exactly brush their teeth, and that doesn’t seem to be a problem for them. However, it turns out that our pets’ teeth are very different than the teeth of wild animals. And they need our help to stay healthy.

Animal Teeth In The Wild

There are two main reasons that wild animals don’t need dental care. The first is diet. Unlike humans and our pets (especially cats and dogs), wild animals don’t consume a lot of sugar or carbs – which feeds bacteria causing tooth decay. In fact, wild animals are more likely to wear their teeth down than they are to get cavities.

The second reason wild animals don’t seem to get tooth decay as often is that their teeth essentially outlive them. They don’t live long enough for their teeth to rot before they die. If a wild animal’s teeth do rot, it won’t survive much longer in the wild. Unlike domesticated animals, wild animals don’t have a friendly human to feed it after it can no longer eat its usual food.

What Dental Problems Are Pets At Risk For?

While our pets have teeth that look a lot different from ours, they can get cavities and gum disease just like us! In fact, a whopping 85 percent of dogs and cats will suffer from gum disease by age three. As diligent pet parents, it’s important to keep an eye out for symptoms like difficulty chewing, tooth loss, and bad breath. Other warning signs are loose teeth, swollen or bleeding gums, and loss of appetite. In some ways, dental problems are even more serious for our pets than they are for us. While we can take care of our own teeth, and can describe how our teeth and gums feel like to our dentists, our pets can’t do any of that.

Tips For Pet Dental Care

Don’t wait for your pet to start showing symptoms of dental problems to begin a dental hygiene routine for them. Whether you’re keeping their teeth healthy or helping ward off against existing problems, you’ll be making your furry friend’s life so much better. Here are a few things you can do:

  • Brush their teeth daily.
  • Only use toothpaste made for animals, if any. (Your toothpaste will make them sick.)
  • Give them vet-approved dental treats to help clean their teeth.
  • Have their teeth professionally cleaned! Some vets offer dental services, but if your vet doesn’t, they can probably recommend a veterinary dental specialist in your area.

Do It For Those Happy Doggy And Kitty Smiles!

Pets are family members and there’s nothing better than seeing them happy and full of life. Taking good care of their oral health a great way to make sure your pet’s Smile Always!  If you have any questions about what to do for your pet’s teeth or if you’re having trouble getting them used to a dental hygiene routine, ask about it at your next visit to Smileboston. Need to schedule your next hygiene appointment? Call 617-277-4100.

Repeat After Us: Teeth Are Not Tools

OUR TEETH ARE pretty amazing, and there’s a lot they can do. They chew our food, they provide structural support for the lower third of our faces, they help us speak clearly, and they give us our beautiful smiles. However, many people also find other uses for their teeth, which can be harmful. Teeth are not tools!

Teeth Are Not Bottle-Openers

Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, so it might seem like that makes teeth perfect to use when you don’t have a bottle opener handy, right? Wrong. Tooth enamel isn’t just hard, it’s brittle, and it is not designed to win a fight against materials like metal and glass.

Using your teeth as a bottle opener can easily chip, crack, or break them, as well as risking damage to the soft tissues of the lips and gums if you slip. If you do this repeatedly, you can even cause your teeth to shift out of their proper alignment and wear down unevenly. It isn’t worth it.

Teeth Are Not Nutcrackers

Similar to opening a bottle, trying to crack a hard walnut, pecan, or even pistachio shells and popcorn kernels between your teeth increases your risk of chipping or cracking your teeth. And Teeth that are already weaker due to decay or a filling are at even greater risk of damage.

Teeth Are Not An Extra Hand

When your hands are busy, it may be convenient to hold a pencil, sewing pins, or maybe a few nails between your teeth. However, making a habit out of doing this can have a number of consequences. If you trip, the items in your mouth could cause a serious injury. If a yawn or hiccup catches you by surprise, you might even end up swallowing or choking on the object. And over time, you can wear down your enamel. Pencils would be better off behind your ear, pins in a cushion, and nails in a utility belt until you’re ready to use them.

Teeth Are Not Scissors (Or Nailclippers)

A particularly common way people use their teeth as tools is to bite through packing tape instead of using scissors, and some people even try to use their teeth to cut through wire. It takes much greater biting pressure to cut through non-food items than it does to chew food, and cutting things requires grinding the teeth together. This seemingly benign action ultimately wears down chewing surfaces increasing your risk for chipping and fracturing your teeth.

A nail-biting habit is particularly bad, both for the teeth and for the nails. The germs from the nails increase the risk of tooth decay, teeth will become worn down more quickly and shift out of alignment, and pieces of fingernail can damage the gum tissue, all while the nails themselves are left ragged and misshapen.

Protect Your Teeth By Using Them Right

Did you know that cracked and fractured teeth are the third highest cause of tooth loss? Please don’t take any unnecessary risks with your teeth by using them as tools. Save yourself an expensive emergency dental visit and use your teeth only for what they are meant for – eating & smiling!  Continue your daily brushing and flossing routine to keep them healthy.

We want to help our patients Smile Always! Call 617-277-4100 to schedule an appointment or visit Smileboston online for more information.

 

Botox – More than Wrinkle Relief!

In its original form, botulinum toxin or Botox is widely known as a cosmetic solution to address fine lines and wrinkles. It is less widely known that Botox can also be used in many dental procedures. It provides relief from jaw pain, helps to retrain muscles around the mouth and as an enhancement to many dental treatments. Smileboston Cosmetic & Implant Dentistry offers Botox treatment and put together a brief guide to explain how it can be used to compliment your oral health goals.

What Is Botox? Botox is a protein that is injected into the muscles to create a more relaxed and less rigid appearance. In dental applications, Botox uses the same principle to relieve pain from oral health conditions and is used in number of therapeutic procedures. Botox can enhance dental treatment plans as well as help some serious disorders. While Botox might not often be associated with tooth repair, Botox was first created to help relax muscles in medical procedures. Likewise, it has many useful applications in dentistry.

What Can It Be Used to Treat? If you experience TMJ, jaw pain and compromised movement of the jawbone, Botox can help relax muscles and alleviate the pain and discomfort associated with this common condition. Botox can also be used to complement aesthetic dentistry and is a minimally invasive alternative to surgically treating a high lip line. Additionally, Botox is beneficial for patients having trouble adjusting to new dentures, lip augmentation, and in dental implant and orthodontic cases where it is necessary to retrain facial muscles.

What Are the Benefits? Because Botox is a minimally invasive procedure, patients can return to their normal activities almost immediately. The most common benefit is the reduction in the number of tooth clenching events and their intensity. It also helps reduce damage to teeth, the jaw and gums and helps to lessen discomfort in the teeth and jaw. Other benefits include the elimination of tension headaches and migraines and the smoothing of facial wrinkles.

Smileboston is a full-service cosmetic dentistry practice with services ranging from general and cosmetic dentistry to dental implants and complete smile makeovers. If you are interested in learning more about Botox for pain or wrinkle relief or to schedule an appointment at our newly renovated Brookline office, call us today!

Click here to read what our patients are saying about Smileboston’s amazing team!

Our Favorite Quotes About Smiling

Working in the dental industry, one of our favorite things to see is our patient’s smiling faces. So today, we thought we’d celebrate those smiles we love so much by sharing some of our favorite quotes about smiling!

Smile For Yourself

“Lighten up, just enjoy life, smile more, laugh more, and don’t get so worked up about things.” –Kenneth Branagh

“Smile, smile, smile at your mind as often as possible. Your smiling will considerably reduce your mind’s tearing tension.” –Sri Chinmoy

“Smiling is definitely one of the best beauty remedies. If you have a good sense of humor and a good approach to life, that’s beautiful.” –Rashida Jones

“A smile is the best way to get away with trouble, even if it’s a fake one.” –Masashi Kishimoto

“Life is like a mirror. Smile at it and it smiles back at you.” –Peace Pilgrim

“I love those who can smile in trouble.” –Leonardo da Vinci

“You’ll find that life is still worthwhile, if you just smile.” ― Charlie Chaplin

Smile For The People Around You

“A simple smile. That’s the start of opening your heart and being compassionate to others.” –Dalai Lama

“A warm smile is the universal language of kindness.” –William Arthur Ward

“Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful.” –Thich Nhat Hanh

“Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.” –Mother Teresa

“Smile at strangers and you just might change a life.” –Steve Maraboli

“Share your smile with the world. It’s a symbol of friendship and peace.” –Christie Brinkley

“It was only a sunny smile, and little it cost in the giving, but like morning light it scattered the night and made the day worth living.” –F. Scott Fitzgerald

“Nothing you wear is more important than your smile.” –Connie Stevens

Our All-Time Favorite Smile Quotes

“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” –Thich Nhat Hanh

Smiling is so closely linked to happiness in our minds that we can actually trick ourselves into feeling happier by smiling. See if you can make your day better just by smiling, even if no one else can see you.

“Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been.” –Mark Twain

We Love Seeing Your Smile

At Smileboston Cosmetic & Implant Dentistry, we believe that whether you believe that have frown lines or laughter lines is completely up to you! We also know that having less than optimal oral health can make you want to hide your smile. The professional team at Smileboston is here to help you achieve the healthy and beautiful smile you’ve always dreamed of. From teeth whitening and veneers to a complete Smile Makeover, we’ve got you covered! Read more about what our patients are saying about the Smileboston Experience. Call 617-277-4100 to schedule an appointment today!

 

Defeating Bad Breath

We’ve all been there — sitting in the middle of a job interview or a first date and realizing that our breath is far from minty fresh. Even when everything else is going well, bad breath can be enough to ruin your confidence and sour a good experience. So why do we get bad breath, and what can we do to stop it?

Oral Bacteria & The Food We Eat

In order to effectively fight bad breath, it’s important to figure out the root cause (no pun intended). The simplest and most common cause of bad breath is leftover food particles that get stuck between teeth after a meal. The naturally occurring bacteria in our mouths break down these particles and the end result is not pleasant smelling. The good news is that oral bacteria can be combated with a good daily hygiene routine. This includes daily flossing, twice-daily brushing, using a tongue scraper, and chewing sugar-free gum between meals.

Causes of Chronic Bad Breath

Chronic bad breath, also called halitosis, may not be solved by good oral hygiene practices alone. Halitosis can be caused by:

  • Chronic conditions including diabetes, liver or kidney disease, and acid reflux.
  • Medications can cause dry mouth. Without saliva to wash away food particles & neutralize acid, bad breath can occur.
  • Mouth-breathing tends to dry out the mouth which can lead to the same problems described above.
  • Mouth, nose, & throat infections. Bad breath can be the result of increased mucous from a cold or a sinus infection.
  • Pregnancy. Morning sickness and nausea can cause bad breath due to extra acid in the mouth. This can also be a problem for people struggling with bulimia.
  • Tobacco in any form leaves smelly chemicals in the mouth and can also dry it out. In addition, it increases the risk of oral cancer and gum disease, which negatively impact breath as well.
  • Tooth decay and gum disease. Poor oral health often goes hand-in-hand with chronic bad breath. In fact, cavities and periodontitis are caused by the same bacteria that produces bad breath.

Keeping Your Breath Fresh

Even if a regimented oral hygiene routine isn’t enough to keep bad breath completely at bay, it will certainly help to manage it. And working with your dentist to treat the underlying cause you may be able to eliminate chronic bad breath all together. For example, quitting smoking (in case you needed another reason to quit) will eliminate a major cause of bad breath. If dry mouth is a problem, chewing sugar-free gum and sucking on mints can help to stimulate saliva production.

Smileboston Can Help

We want all our patients to feel confident about their breath. Discovering the cause of bad breath is a crucial step in fighting back and the professionals at Smileboston Cosmetic & Implant Dentistry are your best allies. Call us at 617-277-4100 to schedule an appointment and find the answers you need to Smile Always!

What is a Prosthodontist?

A Prosthodontist is an Americal Dental Assocation (ADA) specification for a dentist who specializes in the replacement and restoration of teeth, gums and jaw structures. A highly trained restorative and cosmetic dentist, a Prosthondontist plays a crucial role in helping people achieve and enjoy a natural and healthy smile. Smileboston Cosmetic & Implant Dentistry is fortunate to be led by an accomplished Prosthodontist, Dr. Steven D. Spitz who received his advanced degree from the Harvard School of Dental Medicine. In honor of National Prosthodontics Awareness Week, help us in thanking Dr. Spitz for integral part he plays in helping our patients achieve optimal oral health.

A Prosthodontist undergoes an additional three years of training after earning their dental degree, as well as at least one additional residency. This means they are well-equipped to work on crowns and are experts in the placement of dental implants, and other procedures related to the replacement or repair of teeth. Because they are entirely focused on tooth repair and restoration, they are well suited to identify which treatment methods work best for each unique situation.

A Prosthodontist can also deal with more complex tooth and jaw structure issues thanks to their advanced training and technological expertise. They design bridges, crowns, and other restorative items that fit perfectly in your mouth, or they can recommend other, more advanced procedures when needed.

By leveraging his years of training and his commitment to cutting-edge procedures, Dr. Spitz and the Smileboston team are successful in helping patients eliminate any pain, chewing problems, and other issues associated with damaged or missing teeth. Best of all, treatments will leave you with a healthy and confident smile!

For more information, please visit Smileboston online or call 617-277-4100 to schedule an appointment.

Dental Treatments That Make a Difference

Here at Smileboston Cosmetic & Implant Dentistry, we know that “Confidence Begins with a Great Smile!” And thanks to advancements in modern dentistry, having a healthy smile is now more attainable than ever. Whether you suffer from receding gums or discolored and/or misaligned teeth, the experts at Smileboston can help!

How to Treat Four Common Dental Issues

Gum Recession – Gum recession occurs when the gum tissue is pushed back to expose more of the tooth or the tooth’s root and causes sensitivity and pain. Gum recession becomes a health concern when the roots are exposed and teeth at risk for infection or tooth loss. When diagnosed with gum recession, your dentist will recommend treatments that can help to slow its progression. One of these, the Pinhole Surgical Technique, can replace traditional gum grafting. Smileboston is one of the only practices in Greater Boston to offer this minimally invasive procedure.

Discolored Teeth – A whiter smile is one of the easiest ways to refresh your look. At Smileboston Cosmetic & Implant Dentistry we offer professional in office or at home teeth whitening that can remove surface stains to reveal a brighter smile. And now, through the end of June, Smileboston is participating in the Smiles for Life campaign. There’s never been a better time to whiten your teeth as 100% of all whitening proceeds will be donated to children’s charities. Call us today, to schedule your whitening treatment.

If the discoloration of your teeth is not superficial, it may be the result of age, certain diseases, medication, or trauma. In these cases, porcelain veneers are an option that can help to restore the shape and color of your teeth.

A Crooked or Misaligned Smile – There are a number of ways to repair crooked or misaligned teeth. Smileboston proudly offers Invisalign clear braces that can straighten teeth without the use of traditional “wire and bracket” braces. Invisalign works through a series of invisible, removable and comfortable clear aligners that transforms your teeth and smile. Depending upon severity, porcelain veneers may also be an option. Veneers are often an ideal solution for problems such as spaces between teeth, and chipped or broken teeth.

Missing or Damaged Teeth – Successfully replacing missing or damaged teeth depends on a variety of factors including the tooth’s location and the health of any surrounding teeth. Possible options include dental implants, dental bridges, crowns, and dentures. A dental implant with a restoration that includes a crown, bridge or denture, is the closest thing to your natural teeth and are designed to last a lifetime with proper care.

Steven D. Spitz, DMD, the founder of Smileboston Cosmetic & Implant Dentistry, is one of a limited number of prosthodontists in the Boston area who has the necessary education and training to surgically place an implant and restoration.

Smileboston Cosmetic & Implant Dentistry is a full-service cosmetic dentistry practice located in Brookline, MA. Smileboston specializes in cutting edge technology, optimal oral health and patient care. Visit Smileboston online to learn more about our team & the services we offer or contact us to schedule your next appointment!

Root Canal Myths Dispelled

Have you ever heard someone say, “I’d rather have a root than…”? The common and negative portrayal of root canal treatment isn’t just a cliche, it’s a myth! Root canals save teeth and that’s why we’re using this blog post to dispel the most common root canal myths that exist.

Myth 1: “Root Canal Treatment Is Painful” – It’s a fact that many adults struggle with dental anxiety. For these individuals, the prospect of going to the dentist may fill them with dread, even for a simple cleaning appointment, so we understand why a patient might expect something horrible and painful when they get the news that they need root canal treatment. However, thanks to modern technology and anesthetics, root canal treatment can be performed quickly and comfortably. And the best part is that the pain of your infected tooth will be gone immediately after treatment.

Myth 2: “If My Tooth Doesn’t Hurt, I Don’t Need Root Canal Treatment” – A common assumption people make is that if their teeth aren’t hurting then their teeth are healthy. Unfortunately, this isn’t always accurate. In some serious cases, the tooth may already have died, but it still needs root canal therapy in order to prevent a dangerous infection.

Myth 3: “Root Canal Treatment Is Only A Temporary Fix” – Some patients are skeptical of root canal treatment because they think the benefits won’t. This is not true. A restored tooth after root canal therapy can last a lifetime with proper care and regular checkups. While forces from grinding, chewing and talking may cause the crown on the tooth to break, this is only a problem with the restoration, not the root canal itself.

Myth 4: “It’s Better to Just Pull The Tooth” While technically it may be easier to yank a problem tooth rather than carefully remove the infected pulp, fill in the root, and place a new crown, that doesn’t mean it’s betterOur natural teeth are nearly always preferable to any kind of false teeth.

The Root Canal Reality – The “tooth” is root canal therapy is a great way to save a tooth, and modern dentistry has made the process comfortable and pain-free. If you’re having pain or if you’ve been avoiding root canal treatment, do the best thing for your oral health and schedule an appointment at Smileboston today!

Smileboston Cosmetic & Implant Dentistry is a full service dental practice in Brookline, Massachusetts with services ranging from general and cosmetic procedures to root canal therapy and full smile makeovers – all under one roof! Call 617-277-4100 and check out the Smileboston experience, first hand. We love our patients’ healthy smiles!