Monday, 10 August 2015

5 Tips to Stop Grinding Your Teeth

Although most people grind their teeth from time-to-time, occasional grinding doesn’t normally cause harm. But when grinding starts to occur on a regular basis (often when we sleep), it can develop into a serious medical issue (referred to as: Bruxism). Symptoms of Bruxism can include damage to your teeth, poor sleep patterns, headaches and soreness in your face and neck.

For many people, they’re not even aware that they grind. Telltale symptoms can include waking up with a dull headache or a sore jaw. In many cases, people learn about their grinding from loved ones who hear it at night.

The condition can become problematic and result in fracturing, loosening or loss of teeth. Grinding can also affect your jaw, cause TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Disorders), or even change the appearance of your face. 

What Can Be Done?
For adults, custom Night Guards are effective at preventing damage. Night guards are designed to prevent muscle tension and withstand the intense pressure exerted by tooth grinders.

Other tips include:
  • Avoiding alcohol. Studies show that grinding intensifies after alcohol consumption.
  • Cutting back on foods containing caffeine (especially close to bed-time).
  • Relaxing your jaw muscles at night by holding a warm washcloth against your jaw muscles.
  • Train yourself not to clench. If you notice your doing it throughout the day, work towards breaking that habit.
  • Lastly, don’t chew pencils, pens or anything that isn’t food. These activities promote clenching which can lead to grinding.
If you’d like more information about Bruxism or Night Guards, CLICK HERE to schedule your appointment with Dr. Jennifer Thomm.


Thursday, 25 June 2015

Oral Cancer - What you need to know

Did you know the death rate associated with Oral Cancer is particularly high, not because it’s difficult to diagnose, rather because symptoms can often be ignored or dismissed by the patient? In some cases, by the time oral cancer is diagnosed, it may have already metastasized to another location, most likely the lymph nodes of the neck. The prognosis at this stage of discovery is much worse then if it’d been discovered in a localized intra-oral area.

Who’s at risk?
Men & women over 40 with lifestyle factors (such as: tobacco use, heavy alcohol consumption and/or long-term exposure to the sun) are at the highest risk of developing oral cancer. However in recent years more cases of oral cancer are being reported among young people with no contributing lifestyle factors. Research has revealed that contracting the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), particularly version 16, is conclusively linked to an increase in oral cancer among today’s youth. HPV16 is the same virus that is the causative agent (along with several other versions), in more then 90% of all cervical cancers. Some researchers argue that HPV16 has displaced tobacco as the primary cause of Oral Cancer.

Common Signs & Symptoms:
  • A mouth sore that does not heal
  • A white and/or red patch of tissue inside your mouth
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • A lump or mass in your mouth or neck
  • Hoarseness that lasts for a long period
  • Pain or numbness in your oral/facial region
  • Pain in the ear of long duration
  • A change in your voice
  • Unexplained bleeding in your mouth  
  • Loose or painful teeth
  • A denture that no longer fits well.
  • Pain or difficulty moving your tongue and/or jaw

How to Reduce Your Risk?

  • Recognize if you have lifestyle factors that may increase your risk (tobacco, alcohol, sun or unsafe sex)
  • Practice good oral hygiene (brushing and flossing regularly)
  • Request a comprehensive oral cancer screening from your Dentist at least once/year (Note: At Great Lakes Dental, Dr. Jennifer Thomm performs a comprehensive oral cancer screening at every appointment)
  • Conduct a self-exam (using a mouth mirror, available at most pharmacies) at least 3-4 times/year
  • Increase your consumption of healthy fruits and vegetables
  • Get regular exercise 

If you’d like more information about Oral Cancer (or to book your screening), CLICK HERE to schedule your appointment with Dr. Jennifer Thomm.


Tuesday, 12 May 2015

What is Cosmetic Dentistry?

Cosmetic Dentistry can make your smile more attractive.  The most common cosmetic treatments that we perform at Great Lakes Dental include: 
  • Spaces or gaps between your teeth 
  • Yellow or stained teeth 
  • Crooked or broken teeth 
  • Gummy smiles 
  • Small/short or Long/Large teeth 
  • Crowded or rotated teeth 
  • Stained or silver fillings

The goal is to enhance your appearance & confidence by providing you with a more natural & attractive smile. The process begins with a one-on-one consultation with Dr Jennifer Thomm. We’ll discuss your individual goals and expectations & Dr Thomm will gather your diagnostic data (using intra-oral imaging, x-rays, panorex scans & clinical examinations). An individual treatment plan is then created & may include some of the following routine procedures:

These restorations are used when both strength and esthetics are required. A Crown covers the entire surface of the tooth and can improve the colour, size, shape and overall appearance of one or several teeth. Due to their beauty, strength & convenience (requires just a 1-hour appointment), Crowns are a popular treatment option.  

Inlays & Onlays:
Another durable option that can enhance the appearance of your back teeth. Inlays are designed to cover one or more of your tooth’s surface areas between the cusps  (a cusp is the pointed chewing section of a back tooth). Onlays replace the entire cusps of a tooth. Inlays & Onlays are beneficial in that Dr. Thomm only removes the decayed portion of the tooth, leaving more of your natural tooth intact.

Veneers are a thin shell of porcelain bonded onto a tooth to improve its size, shape and colour. Veneers can correct gaps, crowding, stains & crooked teeth. Although not as durable as a Crown, Veneers remain a popular treatment option.

Dental Bonding & Composite Fillings:
This procedure involves using natural-coloured filling material to restore your tooth structure. Less expensive and without the long-term durability of a crown, bonding & composite can be used to change the size/shape of your teeth or replace old silver fillings.

Teeth Whitening:
Fast & inexpensive, in-office or home whitening options can brighten your natural tooth enamel and give you a more youthful smile. In-office treatment will reduce most external and some internal stains.

Enamel Recontouring:
Also referred to as Enamelplasty, this procedure involves removing small portions of enamel to improve your tooth’s overall shape and appearance.

Gingival Recontouring:
Sometimes referred to as Gingivectomy, this treatment involves the removal of excess gum tissue. Most noticeable on front-teeth, excess gum tissue can make your teeth appear short. Reducing that tissue is a routine procedure that can improve your smile.

If you’ve enjoyed this blog, please consider sharing it on facebooktwitter or LinkedIn. If you’d like more information about cosmetic dentistry, please schedule your appointment with Dr. Jennifer Thomm.


Thursday, 2 April 2015

6 Foods That Can Improve Your Smile

Most people know there are plenty of foods to avoid if they want to keep their smile bright & healthy. Here’s a refresher:
  • Pop (even diet) contains acid that weakens your enamel.
  • Dark foods like coffee, tea, red wine, soy sauce & cranberries get absorbed into your enamel, and cause stains.
  • Carbohydrates such as rice, potatoes & pasta are metabolized into sugars (from the pre-digestive enzymes in your saliva), that produces teeth-eroding acid.
  • Fruits (or worse yet….dried fruit) has a ton of natural sugar & enamel-eroding acid. Dried fruits are packed with non-soluble cellulose fiber, which effectively binds sugars onto your teeth as strongly as the stickiest taffies.
  • Juice & Sports Drinks are packed with sugar & acid.

Regular brushing & flossing still remains your best bet for keeping your teeth healthy, but there are certain foods that can help contribute to your oral health. Here's 6 that’ll improve your smile:
  • Foods high in PUFAs (polyunsaturated fatty acids), such as Fish, Nuts & Flaxseed. These foods are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which helps prevent inflammation and protects against gum disease (the #1 cause of tooth loss).
  • Foods that increase saliva production, such as sugar-free gum. Saliva is nature’s way of washing away sugar, acid & bacteria left in your mouth; saliva also coats teeth in bone-strengthening calcium & phosphate. A good choice is sugarless mint-flavored gum sweetened with xylitol (an alcohol that reduces bacteria).
  • Water, just like saliva helps wash away sugar, acid & bacteria. It also contains fluoride, a mineral that helps protect against tooth erosion. Fluoride occurs naturally in water (including some bottled water) and tap water in #Sarnia is fortified with it. 
  • Dairy such as milk & cheese are for most people, their primary dietary source of calcium (which is essential for the development and maintenance of healthy teeth). Calcium is the primary ingredient in the mineral known as hydroxyapatite, which strengthens tooth enamel as well as bones (although teeth aren’t bones, they do share similar properties). Dairy products (especially cheese) also contain Casein, a type of protein that plays an important role in stabilizing and repairing enamel.
  • High-fiber foods like spinach, beans, carrots & brussel sprouts promote good digestion, but they also help your teeth, mostly because they require a lot of chewing. Eating spinach is like putting your teeth through a car wash. All the chewing generates plenty of saliva and the food itself actually scrubs your teeth as it’s mashed up into little pieces.
  • Strawberries contain malic acid, which also happens to be a natural enamel whitener.  Try this easy at-home whitening treatment: Crush strawberry into a pulp, mix with baking soda, spread on your teeth using a soft toothbrush….Wait 5 minutes, rinse off and voila: A whiter smile. (Be sure to floss, since the tiny strawberry seeds can easily get trapped between your teeth).

If you’ve enjoyed this blog, please consider sharing it on facebook, twitter or LinkedIn. If you’d like more information about your oral health, please schedule your appointment with Dr. Jennifer Thomm.


Monday, 9 March 2015

Can My 3 Year Old Really Have Cavities?

Parents are often shocked to learn that their toddler already has cavities. Many parents wonder how that could happen to a child who is only 3 or 4 years old? Genetics and other factors can play a big role, but more often then not, it’s due to what many Dentists refer to as: Baby Bottle Tooth Decay.

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay is most common in a child’s upper front teeth. The most common causes are:
  • Prolonged exposure of the baby’s teeth to beverages that contain sugar (such as fruit juice, chocolate milk or soft drinks).
  • The transfer of cavity-causing bacteria from the mother/father (or primary caregiver) to the infant. The most common example is a parent cleaning a baby’s feeding spoon or pacifier by putting it in their mouth and then transferring it back to the child.
  • The child is not receiving an adequate amount of fluoride.
The good news is that Baby Bottle Tooth Decay is entirely preventable. Here are some helpful tips:
  • Place only formula, milk or breastmilk in bottles. Avoid filling the bottle with other liquids such as juice, chocolate milk or soft drinks.
  • Avoid putting an infant to bed with a bottle or using the bottle as a pacifier to settle a fussy baby.
  • Do not to share saliva with a baby through common use of feeding spoons or by cleaning the child’s pacifier in your own mouth.
  • Encourage your child to start drinking with a cup by his/her first birthday.
  • For children 3 & under, brush their teeth gently with a child-size toothbrush and a grain-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.
  • For children 3-6, use a child-size toothbrush and a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.
  • Supervise your child’s brushing until he/she can be trusted not to swallow the toothpaste (usually not until he/she is at least 6 years old).
  • Encourage healthy eating habits.
Remember, your child needs strong, healthy teeth to chew their food, develop speech and have a confident, bright smile. Consider talking to your dentist about a visit when your child’s first tooth appears. Starting your children with effective oral care is the key to a lifetime of good dental health. For more information about your child’s oral health, please contact our office to schedule your appointment with Dr.Jennifer Thomm at Great Lakes Dental.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Can poor dental hygiene affect my overall health?

The short answer is….Yes. Not taking proper care of your teeth can cause more than just bad breath. Listed are a few of the potential negative side-effects of bad oral hygiene:

Strokes: Disease-causing bacteria in the mouth (if left untreated) can lead to clogging of the Cartoid Artery which can dramatically increase your chances of having a stroke.

Heart Disease: Individuals with periodontal disease are twice as likely to develop heart disease and arterial narrowing. This can be caused by periodontal bacteria and plaque entering a person’s bloodstream through their gums. One particular study on the subject found that periodontal disease, cavities & missing teeth can be used to predict heart disease (just as accurately) as a person’s cholesterol levels.

Respiratory Problems: Bacteria caused by periodontal disease can travel through a person’s bloodstream to their lungs. Under these circumstances, a person can aggravate their respiratory systems, especially if a pre-existing condition is already present.

Erectile Dysfunction: One of the most profound examples of the health risks associated with periodontal disease is in men. In this situation, periodontal bacteria (travelling through the bloodstream) can enflame blood vessels, which can block blood-flow to the genitals. Men with perio disease are up to seven times more at risk of experiencing erectile dysfunction than men without the disease.  

If you’re concerned about the risks associated with periodontal disease, please contact our office to schedule your appointment today with Dr.Jennifer Thomm at Great Lakes Dental.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Do I Really Need X-Rays?

X-Rays are an important part of your regular check-ups. These images provide Dr. Thomm with valuable information about your teeth that might otherwise not be visible. X-Rays can be used to diagnose: tooth decay, bone loss, cysts, abscesses, cancerous & non-cancerous tumors, developmental abnormalities, poor root positioning and other hidden problems that can occur inside a tooth or below your gum line.

X-Rays can also be utilized to help educate you on the treatment that Dr. Thomm recommends. Images can be enlarged, lightened and darkened to help you see and understand what’s happening inside your mouth. When combined with Intra-Oral Camera images, Dr. Thomm can effectively show you exactly where a problem area resides and recommend the appropriate treatment.

Another great benefit is that Dr. Thomm uses only digital radiography in her office. The use of digital X-Rays has reduced the level of radiation by 80-90 per cent when compared to traditional x-rays. To put this in perspective, the radiation from 2 digital x-rays is equivalent to spending approximately 30 minutes outside in the sun. In other words, a person would need to have 10,000 x-rays taken in 1 year to reach the maximum allowable dose of radiation.

X-Rays are an important component of your overall oral health. To take advantage of this latest technology, contact our office to schedule your appointment today with Dr.Jennifer Thomm at Great Lakes Dental.