Alcohol and Oral Health: A Guide for Patients

Alcohol Oral Health

A visit to the dentist’s office is a great opportunity to ask questions about the best ways to care for your teeth, but what sort of advice should our healthcare professionals be giving us? There are some areas where the best advice is very clear cut, such as cutting down on added sugars, for example, which are proven to cause cavities, and brushing regularly to remove plaque build up and keep the mouth fresh and clean. There are other areas, however, which are a little more unclear, such as alcohol consumption.

Alcohol: Good or Bad?

The main dilemma surrounding alcohol consumption from a health perspective is that there are both advantages and disadvantages. On one side of the coin, wine and beer are shown to contain a number of different vitamins and minerals which can be beneficial to the body, and moderate alcohol consumption could even help to protect against heart disease. Research studies have also been published which strongly suggest that moderate alcohol consumption could reduce the risk of certain types of cancers, including colon cancer, ovarian cancer, and prostate cancer, and also minimize the risk of stroke.

It appears that, from a general well being point of view, moderate alcohol consumption can be beneficial, but what about from an oral health standpoint? Unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be any well documented evidence suggesting that alcohol could provide any benefits to oral health. In fact, around 75 percent of upper aerodigestive tract cancers are thought to be related to alcohol and tobacco use, alcohol has been shown to damage oral tissue, and it could also increase the risk of cavities because of the high sugar content. Overall, excessive drinking could wreak havoc on general oral health.

Everything in Moderation

So what sort of advice should your dentist be giving you regarding alcohol and oral health? Ultimately, there’s no right or wrong answer here, although many dentists will come back to the old saying ‘everything in moderation’. Due to the large number of health benefits associated with moderate alcohol consumption, it would be irresponsible to suggest that an otherwise healthy adult abstain from drinking alcohol completely. However, it would be equally irresponsible to advocate drinking, due to the substantial risks to oral health. ‘Everything in moderation’ appears to be a sensible middle ground.

Looking After Your Mouth

If you do decide to consume alcohol, make sure that you pay special attention to your everyday oral health. While the sugars in alcohol are bad for the teeth, you can help to minimize the effect by ensuring you brush regularly – at least twice a day – as well as floss, and, if necessary, use a mouthwash. This type of oral care routine can help to get rid of sugars from the teeth and lower the risk of decay. If you’re out on the town and don’t have access to toothpaste after drinking alcohol, even a swish with plain water is better than nothing, and it might be worth carrying some sugar-free gum with you at all times, too.

Fun (and Healthy!) Ideas for Halloween

Halloween

Tooth decay is something that can affect us all, whatever our age is, but the effects on children can often be much more severe than the effects on adults. While a cavity may cause us to experience pain in the area, for children the symptoms can be much worse, and they may find that tooth decay causes problems with eating, speaking, learning, and playing. Unfortunately, tooth decay in children is very common, with around 20% of 5 to 11 year olds in the United States suffering with at least one cavity.

The good news is that there are many ways we can help to reduce the risk of tooth decay in our children, such as purchasing fluoride-enriched toothpaste, for example, and taking them to visit their dentist regularly. However, with Halloween – a holiday traditionally filled with sweet treats – we want to ensure that we’re not encouraging little ones to overindulge in sugary snacks.

The Risk of Sugary Treats

Added sugars in foods and drinks are very closely associated with tooth decay in children, and at this time of year it’s hard to avoid the candies on sale in the grocery stores. According to American Heart Association guidelines, children aged between 4 and 8 years should be having less than 3 teaspoons of sugar per day, or less than 12 grams. A fun size bag of Skittles contains 11 grams of sugar, and 8 pieces of gummy bear candy contains a whopping 21 grams of sugar – way above the recommended amount.

Healthy Halloween Alternatives

If you’re trying to stay away from added sugars and their risks this Halloween, then here are a few healthier alternatives that you can whip up at home that the kids are sure to love:

Fruit

Compared to Halloween candy, fruit might seem a little boring, but there are lots of different ways you can add the spook factor. A bit of black food coloring can help to transform a regular clementine into a miniature Jack-o-Lantern, for example, or how about dipping strawberries into thick, Greek-style yogurt and freezing to make ghoulish ghost figures? You could even use some Halloween-themed cookie cutters to make fun fruit shapes, like watermelon bats and apple witches hats. The possibilities are endless.

Not-Candy-Corn

If your kids simply can’t get through the holiday without a little candy corn, why not make them a healthy alternative? Before you put your popsicle molds away for the winter, use them to make “not-candy-corn” popsicles; a sweet yet healthy Halloween treat. Pour in some Greek yogurt first and freeze until firm, then add a layer of orange juice and freeze, and finally a layer of pineapple juice. Once the final layer has been frozen, you’ll have yourself a healthy popsicle that looks just like the real thing (but even bigger!)

Trick or Treat

If you’re looking for something to hand out to Trick or Treaters in your neighborhood, then you really want something that’s the perfect combination of tasty and healthy. A great idea is to melt some dark chocolate and drop teaspoon-sized portions onto some baking parchment. While still wet, sprinkle with some dried fruits, nuts, and ‘superfoods’ like goji berries, and leave to set in the fridge. You may wish to make some nut-free versions of these treats, too, so that everyone can enjoy your healthy snacks.

Halloween Treats – What’s Really Bad for Your Teeth & Some Better Choices

halloween-candy-dentist.jpg

Time to ruin Halloween for kids by telling them what they can and can’t eat during this holiday. Don’t worry, your kids and you (I know you take a candy or two when you think no one is looking, so don’t try denying it lol) still have plenty of tasty treats to enjoy on Halloween, without having to go to the dentist the next week.

Take a look at the worst and best candy a trick-or-treater can bring.

Worst Halloween Candy

These candies are an absolute menace for your teeth. But they are so hard to resist! Unfortunately, they are also the ones a kid yelling “trick or treat!” hopes for when ringing on your door.

  1. Taffy and candy with nuts, coconut or caramel. These are a true menace for your teeth as they can get stuck anywhere in your mouth. Even between teeth, yuck! The longer the food is stuck to the teeth, the more time bacteria has to feed and create cavity acid.
  2. Sour candy. Because of their high acidity these are able to quickly break down tooth enamel. On the positive side, saliva in the mount acts to slowly restore the acid balance.
  3. Sugary snacks. Not all cavity problems are caused by industrial candy. Cookies and cakes are all high in sugar amounts and may lead to tooth decay.

Best Halloween Candy

Ugh, so what are we supposed to munch on on Halloween? Surely there is something in the Halloween basket we can eat? Yes, and here is what:

  1. Sugar-free gum. This treat contains xylitol, which is a natural sugar bacteria can’t create plaque on. Also, sugar-free gums leave no sticky residue like other candy and increases saliva. This way it prevents tooth decay and neutralizes mouth acid.
  2. Sugar-free lollipop and hard candy. These two stimulate saliva and prevent dry mouth. Plaque can build up faster in dry mouth, which increases risk of cavities.
  3. Chocolate with no fillings. Chocolate on its own is not only incredibly tasty, but you don’t have to worry much about cavities either. Without fillings to get stuck on or in your teeth, this is a much better option when you’re looking for something sweet.

There you go! Three types of candy you and your kids should avoid on Halloween and three that you can enjoy without getting a toothache tomorrow. Happy Halloween, everybody!

To Floss or Not to Floss?

Image result for floss

When it comes to our health, there’s always more than one opinion about what’s right. It sounds ironic, but sometimes science isn’t always a science, and there seems to be a lot of wiggle room and opportunity for debate regarding best practices. Alcohol, for example, is said to be bad for us, although red wine is believed to have many health benefits. A similar dilemma, and perhaps more interesting to dentists, is that flossing is said both to spread bacteria around the mouth, and remove it. Which is it? Should we be flossing or not?

Two Sides to the Coin

If you were to ask two different dentists whether or not you should be flossing, you’d probably get two different answers. There’s a lot of confusion – even among the experts – when it comes to flossing, and that’s because there are studies that demonstrate evidence both for and against the technique.

Let’s see what these studies say…

* For Flossing

There are two significant arguments for flossing. The first, of course, is cosmetic, as regular flossing helps to remove trapped foods, especially in people with mild diastema. The second argument is that flossing has been shown to be effective at reducing the frequency of bleeding between the teeth. In fact, in this capacity, flossing could actually be twice as effective as a standard toothbrush. Flossing alongside toothbrushing has also been shown to reduce the risk of gingivitis (a form of periodontal disease).

* Against Flossing

There are some dentists who advise against flossing because of the risk of spreading bacteria around the mouth and increasing the risk of infection. While this can happen, we need to remember that bacteria can be spread around the mouth even without the use of floss, simply during our day-to-day activities. Some also say that flossing is ineffective. As we can see from the research above, it’s not, but it may not be the most effective solution. Antimicrobial mouthwashes, for example, are usually much better.

Time to Toss the Floss?

Whether or not a person wishes to floss should be their own personal decision. There is no right or wrong answer here. Flossing isn’t dangerous or painful when done correctly, and although flossing alone isn’t enough to maintain excellent oral health, it can be effective when used alongside other techniques, such as brushing and rinsing. If a person wishes to floss, dentists should advise that they…

  • brush and then floss, rather than the other way around. This is more effective overall.
  • use around 45 cm of floss, with approximately 2.5 to 5 cm of floss inserted between teeth.
  • gently curve the floss so that it is adjacent to the tooth, and tension can be felt.
  • see a dentist if flossing causes bleeding. This could be a sign of gingivitis or other disease.
  • use floss holders if flossing is difficult, to make the process much more simple.

Vaping and Oral Health

Image result for vaping

It’s official: vaping is in. Everywhere you look, e-cigarette stores are opening and film and TV characters (not to mention real life celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio) are ditching their regular smokes in favor of top-of-the-line vaporizers. Perhaps most noticeable, though, is the debate raging between medical experts over whether or not the practice is safe enough as an alternative to smoking.

The Safety Argument

While some experts claim that the risks associated with e-cigarettes are too high for it to be condoned, others argue that compared to smoking, it’s the safer option by a long way. We’ve heard the experts discuss cancer risks and lung health, but a subject that far fewer people are discussing is the direct impact vaping could have upon oral health.

Mouth Irritation

One common complaint about e-cigarettes is that frequent use can lead to dryness, irritation and soreness of the mouth, throat and tongue. This is in some cases caused by an allergy to propylene glycol, an ingredient found in most e-liquids.

Vapers can also develop canker sores in the mouth; however, this is thought to be a side effect of quitting smoking. Canker sores aren’t typically a cause for concern but they can be unpleasant and unsightly, and can deter people from their normal oral hygiene practices due to the pain and heightened sensitivity.

The Effects of Nicotine

Nicotine – the addictive ingredient in tobacco and e-cigarettes – is a chemical which can cause a whole host of oral health issues. Nicotine is a vasoconstrictor, which means it reduces the amount of blood flowing into your gums. This can cause gum recession and bad breath (as it limits the production of mouth-cleaning saliva). Nicotine is also a stimulant, which means it can cause you to grind your teeth more.

The key point to make here is that both regular cigarettes and most e-cigarettes contain nicotine – and in fact, e-cigarettes tend to contain less. However, because e-cigarettes can generally be used in more locations, it is possible that nicotine consumption from vaping could be the same as (or higher than) smoking for certain people.

Further Studies Needed

At the moment, not enough is known about how vaping affects the health of the mouth or body in the long term. Further studies are needed to firmly establish the risks associated with this practice.

However, when weighed against normal cigarettes, e-cigarettes do seem to pose less of a direct risk to oral health. This is largely because e-liquids contain much lower levels of toxic chemicals than normal cigarettes.

Oral Hygiene Tips for Vapers

Until more is learned about the association between e-cigarettes and oral health, vapers who are concerned about keeping their teeth and gums healthy should keep up good hygiene practices. This means brushing with fluoride toothpaste twice a day, flossing and visiting your dentist for a check up at least once a year.

You can also combat the mouth dryness that vaping can cause by drinking more water, cutting out caffeine and using a mouthwash such as Biotene.

Hey sorry everyone but you probably keep flossing

Couple weeks ago the Associated Press dropped news that pretty much everyone has been waiting for: Little evidence exists that flossing actually does anything. And so the people collectively threw their minty-fresh, waxy threads into the trash and muttered, “Gobdanged dentist.”

But please, let’s all cool off for a moment, reach down into the trash can, and retrieve our floss. Because while it’s true that evidence in favor of flossing is lacking, you should probably still do it. Many dentists have known all along the research isn’t there, and they kept on recommending flossing anyway. Just hear me out—their intentions are pure. (Full disclosure: I was briefly a copy editor at a marketing firm for dentists. It was awful, and it in no way clouds my judgment with this story.)

Dentists tell their patients that flossing removes plaque from between teeth—gunky stuff that can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. That’s the story, anyway. As the AP pointed out in their piece, studies haven’t confirmed flossing prevents decay and disease. And the ones that have shown some sort of benefit have been flawed, relying on too few subjects over too little time. Indeed, because the evidence just isn’t there, the feds last year stopped recommending flossing to the public.

Here’s the thing, though. The lack of evidence for the benefits of flossing is nothing new. “To be honest, many of us in the dental public health community have known for years that the information was sparse,” says Scott Tomar, editor of the Journal of Evidence Based Dental Practice.

So why keep propagating the myth? Why force the public to stick their hands in their mouths? Well, because while the effectiveness of flossing isn’t proven, it’s also not disproven, at least not yet. Scientists are still gathering string—and it’s proving difficult.

Dental Bonding – A Solution to Chipped, Stained OR Gapped Teeth

Dental bonding is a type of cosmetic dental procedure. In which, the plastic materials called composite resins are used on person’s teeth to enhance aesthetic oral appearance. This substance is applied, shaped and polished according to individual’s own teeth tone and size and adapted to remaining teeth structure. It is mainly maneuvered to cure stained/discolored or chipped teeth improving one’s smile.

dental-bonding

When should I consider dental bonding?

Dental bonding needs to consider one’s right candidacy at first.

If you are with the following dental issues, you owe a consultation to your dentist:

  • Decayed tooth
  • Minor chips, cracks on teeth
  • Discolored/ugly teeth
  • Teeth gaps (spaces between teeth)
  • Poorly sized and shaped teeth (shorter in line with other teeth structure)
  • Receding gums (enhancing teeth structure to prevent loss to teeth root)

It fixes above oral issues and greatly beautifies facial look!

How is dental bonding performed?

The dental bonding is a special preparation that usually does not require the patient to undergo anesthesia. Fillings for tooth decays or sort of repairing may need it. To create the materials that can match one’s teeth color and tone very closely is the first step.

Next is a bonding process in which, the teeth surfaces are roughened to ensure material’s nice attachment to them. The resins that are specially prepared matching one’s teeth are then applied and shaped as planned. This material will now need to be hardened using special light or laser. Following is a final trimming, polishing and shaping until it looks quite adapting to the remaining structure of teeth.

Dental bonding usually takes from half an hour to an hour to complete.

What are the benefits of dental bonding?

The advantages of dental bonding are tremendous. As compared to other cosmetic dental surgeries, it is less expensive. Bonding will probably not require lab work to be created. They are made easily in offices except there are more teeth involved needing bonding.

Being most advantageous, it mainly does not require much of enamel scratching unlike some procedures like dental veneers or crowns.

Although the dental bonding treatment has some limitations like not too long durability or more vulnerability to cracks and breaks, many people choose it depending on their timely requirements and results. For minor cosmetic requirements, it’s a perfect oral solution.

Is dental bonding long-lasting?

Usually up to 4 years to 10 years span. At the same time, how you care for it will also decide its healthy life. Oral hygiene, prevention from harmful habits/materials is advised. In future, it can also be replaced or repaired with additional touches.

What is post-op care for dental bonding?

Not much, typically! Better oral hygiene, dental care with appropriate teeth brushing and flossing can preserve it well. Regular followup to your dentist for teeth cleaning is a preventive step for any discrepancy.

As we know it’s susceptible to cracks easily, avoid some habits like chewing hard foodstuffs or materials that can cause damage to bonding. If you notice something unusual with it, see your doctor immediately to have it corrected before further worsening.

How much dental bonding cost?

Not much costly against cosmetic dental treatments alike! As demography will vary, the costing will also. One can compare the prices of dental bonding city to city and country to country. Dental tourism is a face that is, at present, in high demand for its lower prices and quality treatments accessible worldwide!

3 Things Everyone Should Know About Their Dental Insurance

1) There are MANY different types of policies out there!
There are a lot of options when it comes to Dental Insurance, and what type of policy you or your employer has chosen will affect where you can go and whom you can see. The most common types of dental insurance are:


DHMO (Dental Health Management Organization):This type of policy requires you to stay within your insurance carrier’s contracted network of dentists. While often the most affordable, it is also the most limiting of the different policy types.

PPO (Preferred Provider Organization):There are two types of PPOs. Overwhelmingly popular is the variety that allows the patient to see doctors in or out of network with set percentages for each type of provider. There also exist PPO policies that require you to stay inside their network of doctors, though this is less common.

Fee for ServiceOften known as Dental Indemnity of Direct Reimbursement plans, this type of plan allows the patient to go in or out of network and pay a specific percentage for each procedure regardless.

Of the above, the Dental PPO is probably the most prevalent. Let’s take a look at what that typically comprises (you’ll see a lot of similarities in break-down here with DHMO and Fee for Service plans).

2) How a Dental PPO policy typically breaks down:
While every policy is different, there are some over-arching similarities in PPO dental insurance policies. Insurance companies will almost always break your coverage down into four major categories:

PreventativeThis will include services like cleanings, exams and often xrays.

BasicYou usually see fillings, root canals and periodontal work (dealing with your gums and bone) in this category.

Major: Crowns, bridges, dentures and other extensive work appear here.

Orthodontics: Insurance carriers may add orthodontic coverage to their policies, though often when they do it is limited to children. This varies WIDELY, so if it’s something you are interested in pursuing, make sure to call your carrier and check what benefits you have!

Each category will be covered at a different percentage by your policy, and may or may not be subject to a deductible. While this varies quite a bit from plan to plan, a typical policy will have:

Preventative:           80 – 100%, deductible does not apply

Basic:                            60 – 80%, deductible applies

Major:                           40 – 60%, deductible applies

A typical deductible will be between $25 and $100, with an annual maximum benefit of $1000 – $2000.

There are a few other key features of dental insurance that are worth noting when choosing a policy or examining your existing one. They are:

Waiting Periods: Some policies will institute waiting periods, either as a general rule or due to late entry to an existing group policy. These are typically in the 6 – 12 month range and usually only apply to basic or major services.

The Missing Tooth Clause:  Plans will either provide benefits for teeth you’ve lost before you had the policy or not. This is called the missing tooth clause. Some plans will put one in effect for only the first year or two that your coverage is in effect, creating a specific kind of waiting period.

Preventive FrequenciesMost plans will limit the number of times you can get preventative services within your benefit year (which may be different from a calendar year!). Typically you’ll see cleanings and exams allowed either twice a year or once every 6 months. These are not the same! One allows the cleanings to be anywhere in the year where the other dictates how far apart they must be. You’ll see a similar situation with xrays, which may need to be separated by anywhere from 1 to 5 years depending on the type. Make sure you and your dentist are paying attention to when these services are performed to get the most out of your benefits!

3) You may have Out of Network Benefits you’re not using!
A lot of people think that the benefits they have only work for them if they stay in network. Not necessarily true! What we see in our office most often is out of network benefits that equally match in network for preventative services, and match or cost only 5 – 10% more for more serious work. Many times the only difference comes in how the insurance companies determine their allowable charge (what they’ll pay for each procedure). When going in-network, allowable charges are based on contracted rates determined by the insurance company. When outside of the network, these charges are based on the Usual, Customary and Reasonable fee (UCR) for the geographical area you are receiving service in. If your dentist bases their charges similarly on what is common in the area, you may see very little difference in these out of network rates.

If you have a fee for service or PPO policy and the dentist you want to see is not in your network, all is not lost. Check with your dentist or with your insurance company directly for the lowdown on what your plan offers; you may have more benefits than you think!

Prevention is the best medicine

We have all heard the saying, prevention is the best medicine.  As true as this saying is with many things in life, it is also very accurate when applied to oral health. We know that brushing and flossing is good for our teeth and gums, but do we really know why or how these help? Also, are we aware that there are other things we can do to that will allow us to reap great oral health rewards? Helping to educate patients on ways to keep their winning smile is our passion here at Dr. Villalobos office.

Individualized Home Care Recommendations

Brush and floss your teeth twice a day to maintain a healthy smile. We have all heard this advice from the time we are quite young and it is good advice. However, how you brush and floss makes a difference and is really just the beginning. Choosing the right toothbrush, toothpaste and mouthwash are important factors and makes a big difference in helping or harming your teeth and gums. Proper technique and frequency also can be the difference between doing a good thing for your mouth or causing unintentional damage. At Dr. Villalobos office, we are firm believers in the benefit of using an oral irrigator daily as well as brushing and flossing. Our hygienist experts in gently guiding you to the right home care routine for your specific dental needs.

Genetics Do Matter

Just as some of us are born with a genetic predisposition to certain medical conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure or high cholesterol, we can also be at a genetic disadvantage when it comes to the health of our teeth or gums. Decay (or cavities) and periodontal disease (or gum disease) are both caused by specific types of bacteria. Every person has a certain susceptibility to these types of bacteria which contributes to your overall risk of developing cavities or gum disease throughout your lifetime.

Good vs. Bad Bacteria

Every day, our mouths are a constant battlefield for healthy and unhealthy bacteria fighting for dominance. Our natural pH plays a role as does our diet and daily habits. Unhealthy bacteria thrive in a more acidic environment while healthy bacteria flourish in a more basic or neutral pH environment. Your natural pH level combined with what you eat and drink throughout the day help tip that balance. Most of us have heard about soda being bad for our teeth and this is true. However, sometimes we erroneously think it is only the sugar that is bad when, in actuality, the acid plays a significant role in causing the damage to our oral health. This change in understanding of the dental disease process illuminates the fact that even some otherwise healthy foods and drinks may have a harmful impact on our dental health. Our staff at Dr. Villalobos office is uniquely qualified to help you identify things you are doing that may increase the acidity in your mouth thereby increasing the potential for the unhealthy bacteria to cause problems to your oral health. We can also recommend products that can help you lower the acidity in your mouth if we determine you are in need of such products.

Let Us Help You Achieve a Healthy Smile

Give our office a call today to schedule your appointment and start a conversation about how you can prevent dental health problems before they begin.

What is a occlusal guard and do you need one?

    

Odds are great, that indeed you do need a custom occlusal guard. We seem to be replacing dental decay with broken teeth as the leading problem in dentistry. Improved education, access to healthcare, utilization of fluoride and an increased value placed on attractive, healthy teeth are all playing a role in drastically reducing the rate of dental decay, or cavities. At the same time, increased stress appears to be increasing the number of people we see with evidence of premature wear on their teeth.  When you come in for an exam, we evaluate your teeth to see how much of your tooth’s enamel is missing and if you have any evidence that your teeth are beginning to crack so we can determine your risk of breaking your teeth. Although it is not yet the number one problem we treat, it is quickly becoming one of the most common problems we see.

Enamel is the hardest substance in our entire body. It is expected that one will lose approximately one millimeter of enamel every 100 years with normal wear and tear. Clenching your teeth and/or grinding, or bruxism, is the cause of abnormal wear to your teeth. Either or both of these habits can occur when awake or asleep and can happen consciously, although, most often it is an unconscious tendency. Many times patients are unaware of these habits until we show them the destruction in their mouth and explain to them how it happens. Although we are unable to “cure” clenching or bruxism, we can create a protective guard you wear to prevent additional destruction. Our goal is to catch it early before there is significant wear or breakage. This habit has the potential to destroy teeth to the extent that very little tooth structure is visible in the mouth and chewing becomes impossible. If left untreated for long enough for this scenario to develop, we may only be able to extract the remaining roots and provide dentures. It is far preferable to seek treatment before there are so few options available.
Headaches, TMD and sore jaws
Not only does clenching or grinding destroy our teeth, it also can cause headaches, create or exacerbate temporomandibular joint disorder and can make us wake up with a very tight or tired jaw. We have extremely powerful jaws so that we are able to eat a wide variety of foods. However, if these muscles and joints are working when we are not eating, we can begin to have undesirable side effects from this unhealthy habit.
Causes of Worn Teeth:

– Parafunctional habits: bruxism (grinding), clenching, or object biting (ice, nails, pens).  These can occur for a number of reasons, including:

Stress
Medications: levodopa, fluoxetine, lithium, citalopram, etc.
Habits
– Bite interference due to:
Natural tooth position
Restorations that are “high” or unpolished porcelain rubbing against natural tooth structure.
Shifting tooth position from periodontal disease
– Missing teeth – spaces in your dentition will put more pressure than normal on the remaining teeth. This is most noticeable with your molars and other posterior teeth.
– Diet
Nuts, ice
Excessive gum chewing

– Systemic/Neurological
Sleep apnea
Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease
Down syndrome
Autism
– Developmental dental defects –enamel is thin or weak

Occlusal guards

An occlusal guard is a clear, rigid oral appliance that fits snugly on your top teeth and feels similar to an orthodontic retainer. Most often, it is worn only at night as this is usually when most clenching and bruxism happens. The process of creating an occlusal guard for you is a fairly simple process. We take an impression of your upper and lower teeth for our laboratory specialist to create the custom fitted guard specifically for you. When we receive the guard back from our lab, you have a brief appointment with Dr. Villalobos to make any necessary modifications to the device. It is important to note that attempting to address this problem with an over-the-counter mouth guard can actually create more problems than it will solve. Therefore, we do not recommend you use this type of mouth guard. When you receive your occlusal guard, there may be an adjustment period when you begin to sleep with the guard since it prevents you from unconsciously doing what your brain has developed a habit of doing. Persistence is important during this time and many patients ultimately report that they feel strange if they try to sleep without wearing it once they do make that adjustment.
An investment in your health
Although many insurance companies do not provide coverage for this type of device, some will if we find evidence of premature wear to your teeth. Even if you do not have coverage, the cost of the occlusal guard is less than half the cost of one crown and less than 1/8th the cost of one implant. We think that you’ll agree that this is money well spent in a time when we are literally breaking our teeth while we sleep.
 Proper care
If you do choose to invest in protecting your teeth in this way, please take note that our pets love to chew up these guards at an alarmingly high rate. If this happens, it will almost certainly be the most expensive chew toy you ever provided for your pet. Please keep the guards tightly shut in the case provided and have a designated storage site that your pet cannot reach. It is recommended that you brush the outside and inside of the guard with a soft toothbrush and water every time you take it out of your mouth. Please don’t soak the guard in any solutions or use toothpaste on your toothbrush during cleaning. If brushed thoroughly with water after ever use, there is no need for any additional care. If you know or suspect you have excessive wear on your teeth, please contact us so we can help you preserve your teeth.