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The fast-paced world of sports and entertainment isn’t all glitz and glamour. These high-profile industries create a unique kind of emotional and mental stress on celebrities. For many of them, a way to “let off steam” is an oral habit known as teeth grinding.

Teeth grinding is an involuntary habit in which a person bites and grinds their teeth outside of normal activities like eating or speaking. It’s common among young children, who usually grow out of it, but it can also affect adults, especially those who deal with chronic stress. If not addressed, teeth grinding can eventually wear down teeth, damage gum attachments or fracture weaker teeth. It can even contribute to tooth loss.

A number of well-known personalities in the spotlight struggle with teeth grinding, including actress Vivica Fox, model and TV host Chrissy Teigen, and star athletes Tara Lipinski and Milos Raonic of ice skating and tennis fame, respectively. The habit represents not only a threat to their dental health, but also to one of their most important career assets: an attractive and inviting smile. Fortunately, though, they each use a similar device to manage their teeth grinding.

Besides seeking ways to better manage life stress, individuals with a teeth-grinding habit can protect their teeth with a custom mouthguard from their dentist. Made of slick plastic, this device is worn over the teeth, usually while sleeping, to minimize dental damage. During a grinding episode, the teeth can’t make contact with each other due to the guard’s glossy surface—they simply slide away from each other. This reduces the biting forces and eliminates the potential for wear, the main sources of dental damage.

Chrissy Teigen, co-host with LL Cool J on the game show Lip Sync Battle, wears her custom-made guard regularly at night. She even showed off her guard to her fans once during a selfie-video posted on Snapchat and Twitter. Vivica Fox, best known for her role in Independence Day, also wears her guard at night, and for an additional reason: The guard helps protect her porcelain veneers, which could be damaged if they encounter too much biting force.

Mouthguards are a prominent part of sports, usually to protect the teeth and gums from injury. Some athletes, though, wear them because of their teeth grinding habit. Tara Lipinski, world renowned figure skater and media personality, keeps hers on hand to wear at night even when she travels. And Milos Raonic, one of the world’s top professional tennis players, wears his during matches—the heat of competition tends to trigger his own teeth-grinding habit.

These kinds of mouthguards aren’t exclusive to celebrities. If you or a family member contends with this bothersome habit, we may be able to create a custom mouthguard for you. It won’t stop teeth grinding, but it could help protect your teeth—and your smile.

If you would like more information about protecting your smile, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Teeth Grinding” and “When Children Grind Their Teeth.”

By Cynthia A. Bolton, DDS
January 14, 2021
Category: Oral Health
Tags: dental sealants  

One way to protect your child’s teeth from cavities is with dental sealants.

Preventive dentistry goes a long way to protecting your child’s teeth from decay, and along with brushing and flossing your child’s teeth every day you may also wish to talk with our Reidsville, NC, family dentist Dr. Cynthia Bolton about dental sealants. Sealants are one preventive measure that you can choose now to protect your child’s back teeth for years to come.

What are dental sealants?

A sealant is a thin clear or tooth-colored plastic coating that is painted on and bonded directly over the chewing surfaces of your child’s molars to protect against decay. Why the chewing surfaces only? Well, as you can see, your child’s molars have a lot of crevices where food and bacteria can easily get trapped. It can also be more challenging for children to keep those back teeth clean. By getting sealants, we can provide a barrier to block out germs and food particles.

When are dental sealants placed?

Since sealants are only placed on molars, we will need to wait until your child’s first set of molars erupt (this is typically around 6-7 years old). Once your child’s molars start to come in, you may want to talk with our Reidsville, NC, family dentist about whether or not your child should get sealants.

Your child’s second set of molars typically erupt around 11 to 12 years old. Dental sealants can also be placed on these molars, as well. Of course, the third and final set of molars (most often referred to as wisdom teeth) will not require dental sealants, as they are most likely to be extracted. Wisdom teeth don’t usually come in until your late teens or early twenties.

Does it hurt to get sealants?

Absolutely not, which we know is a relief for parents to hear! Sealants are merely painted onto the chewing surfaces of your child’s back teeth and then hardened with a dental light. No anesthesia and no drilling are necessary. Plus, you don’t have to make a special trip just to get sealants. We can easily place them at your child’s next six-month checkup.

Once your child’s molars come in, our Reidsville, NC, family dentist may wish to talk to you about the benefits of dental sealants. Of course, feel free to ask us any questions you may have about preventive dentistry and dental sealants by calling us at (336) 349-9248.

By Cynthia A. Bolton, DDS
January 08, 2021
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health  

If you're intrigued by the strange and bizarre, here's one to pique your interest: geographic tongue. It's a rare condition that causes the appearance of red patches on the tongue surface, surrounded by grayish-white borders, and which look a lot like continents on a map (hence the name). But although it may look odd, geographic tongue won't harm your health.

The condition is also known as benign migratory glossitis, so named because it's not cancerous and the patches seem to move or “migrate” around the tongue surface. The most common causes are thought to be stress or hormonal disruptions in those predisposed to the condition. Many researchers believe zinc or vitamin B deficiencies in the body contribute to its occurrence. It also seems more prevalent among non-smokers and pregnant women, as well as occurring as a family trait.

The red patches are created by the temporary disappearance of some of the papillae, tiny bumps on the tongue's top surface. The patches can abruptly appear during a flareup and then disappear just as suddenly. But as “angry” as the patches may look, geographic tongue is not considered a health danger. It isn't normally painful, although people can experience stinging or numbing sensations emanating from the patches that can be mildly uncomfortable.

Because it's also rare, you're not likely to encounter it personally. But if you or a loved one does begin to notice red patches on the tongue, there are a few things you can do to lessen any accompanying irritation. For one, cut out foods like tomatoes, citrus fruits, eggplant, mint or highly spicy or acidic foods, all of which have been known to increase discomfort. You might also avoid astringents like alcohol or mouthwashes that likewise irritate the patches when they occur.

Although geographic tongue can't be cured, your dentist can help you manage symptoms when they arise with the help of prescribed anesthetic mouthwashes, antihistamines or steroid lozenges. These not only can help lower any discomfort or irritations, they may also lessen the duration of a flareup.

For the most part, geographic tongue usually causes more embarrassment than physical discomfort. But with a little help from your dentist, you can keep it to a minimum. Geographic tongue may be odd, but it's nothing to worry about.

If you would like more information on geographic tongue, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Geographic Tongue: No Cause For Alarm.”

By Cynthia A. Bolton, DDS
December 29, 2020
Category: Oral Health

Fluoride is an important part of your child's dental development. But if children take in too much of this important mineral, they could experience enamel fluorosis, a condition in which teeth become discolored with dark streaking or mottling.

That's why it's important to keep fluoride levels within safe bounds, especially for children under the age of 9. To do that, here's a look at the most common sources for fluoride your child may take in and how you can moderate them.

Toothpaste. Fluoridated toothpaste is an effective way for your child to receive the benefits of fluoride. But to make sure they're not getting too much, apply only a smear of toothpaste to the brush for infants. When they get a little older you can increase that to a pea-sized amount on the end of the brush. You should also train your child not to swallow toothpaste.

Drinking water. Most water systems add tiny amounts of fluoride to drinking water. To find out how much your water provider adds visit “My Water's Fluoride” online. If it's more than the government's recommendation of 0.70 parts of fluoride per million parts of water, you may want ask your dentist if you should limit your child's consumption of fluoridated drinking water.

Infant formula. Many parents choose bottle-feeding their baby with infant formula rather than breastfeed. If you use the powdered form and mix it with tap water that's fluoridated, your baby could be ingesting more of the mineral. If breastfeeding isn't an option, try using the premixed formula, which normally contains lower levels of fluoride. If you use powdered formula, mix it with bottled water labeled “de-ionized,” “purified,” “demineralized” or “distilled.”

It might seem like the better strategy for preventing fluorosis is to avoid fluoride altogether. But that can increase the risk of tooth decay, a far more destructive outcome for your child's teeth than the appearance problems caused by fluorosis. The better way is to consult with your dentist on keeping your child's intake within recognized limits to safely receive fluoride's benefits of stronger, healthier teeth.

If you would like more information on fluoride and your baby's dental health, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Tooth Development and Infant Formula.”

By Cynthia A. Bolton, DDS
December 23, 2020
Category: Oral Health
Tags: crowns   Bridges  

Is there a difference between dental bridges and crowns? Both are considered prosthetic devices, but unlike removable appliances, both are cemented to the existing teeth. As part of dental restoration solutions, both are capable of restoring your natural-looking smile and the full functionality of your mouth.

If you think you can benefit from crowns and bridges, you can consult with Dr. Cynthia Bolton here at Cynthia A Bolton, DDS, in Reidsville, NC, to see if they will work for you. Meanwhile, read on to understand what you should know about dental bridges and crowns.

What Exactly are Dental Bridges and Dental Crowns?

There are millions of people around the world who deal with dental problems every day. There are several methods for tooth restoration depending on the type of dental problem that you have. Two of the most widely recommended are dental bridges and dental crowns. But which is used for what dental problem?

Dental Crowns

  • Replaces a large filling that cannot be accommodated by the tooth
  • Protection of a weak tooth to prevent fracture
  • Restoration of a fractured tooth
  • Attachment to a dental bridge
  • Covers a dental implant
  • Repairs discolored or poorly shaped teeth
  • Protects a tooth that has undergone root canal therapy

Dental Bridges

  • Replaces one or more missing teeth
  • Filling gaps between teeth
  • Straightening misaligned teeth caused by gaps

The procedure for the installation of a dental crown would normally take anywhere from one to two weeks spanning two visits. The first visit involves the preparation of the teeth to be treated and getting the impression for the fabrication of your dental crown. The second visit is the actual fitting and cementing of your permanent dental crown.

Dental bridges, on the other hand, can be completed within a week and also require two dental visits. The first is for taking the impressions of your teeth and placement of a temporary dental crown. The second visit is where the dental bridges are fixed and attached.

Your dentist in Reidsville, NC, can utilize different types of bridges and crowns depending on your specific condition. The common types are:

  • Dental Crowns: Partial crowns, complete crowns, and crowns used for root-filled teeth.
  • Dental Bridges: Resin-bonded, traditional, and cantilever

The Manufacturing Process

Whether it is a dental bridge or a dental crown, the shape and size of the natural teeth to be treated must be modified to ensure that the prosthetic device can properly fit. The next step is to take an impression of the teeth to get an accurate mold for the bridge or crown. The exact shade to match your natural teeth will likewise be determined.

The dental lab will manufacture the bridge or crown based on the impression using the material specified by your dentist. Once the permanent bridge or crown is ready, it can then be installed by your dentist, repairing the beauty and function of your teeth.

To Learn More About How Bridges and Crowns Can Benefit You, Contact Us

Schedule an assessment here at Cynthia A Bolton, DDS, in Reidsville, NC, Dr. Cynthia Bolton, by dialing (336) 349-9248.

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