Teeth grinding and jaw clenching are issues for countless people and can lead to bone loss (among other issues). While the warning signs may be obvious in certain cases, some people don’t experience any symptoms at all until the issue has become severe. The best way to be certain is to visit the dentist regularly. Your dentist may recommend a night guard, a simple and straightforward solution to the complications caused by teeth grinding.

A mouth guard not only prevents your teeth from grinding together, it also keeps your jaw from clenching completely. This gives your jaw muscles some relief and can also prevent headaches. In addition, a night guard takes pressure off the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and surrounding muscles and gives you an even bite.

Teeth grinding isn’t just tough on your muscles, it scrapes away at your tooth structure, making your teeth more susceptible to fractures. Telltale signs your dentist will recognize are flattening, divots, chipping and small fractures.

If you find yourself grinding your teeth during the day, chances are you do it in your sleep as well. However, just because you don’t grind your teeth during the day doesn’t mean you don’t grind them at night. Over 40 million Americans suffer from teeth grinding, otherwise known as bruxism. Are you one of them?

If you want to know more about saving your teeth from the harms of grinding, we’re happy to help talk with you about solutions, including a custom-fit night guard. Call us today to book an appointment and we can get you on the way to a brighter, healthier smile.

Pregnancy brings about major changes to your body, including your oral health. Shifts in hormone levels can increase the risk of gum diseases and can cause “pregnancy tumors” (small, raised areas on the gums) among other problems. Here are three dental health issues to be aware of during your pregnancy.

Morning Sickness

Stomach acids churned up from morning sickness (and heartburn or acid reflux later in pregnancy) can cause erosion to your teeth. After a bout of morning sickness, reach for baking soda and water before you brush your teeth. Mix a teaspoon of the baking soda into a glass of water and rinse the solution around in your mouth. Because baking soda is a basic, it will help neutralize the acids in your stomach, and in turn help protect your enamel.

“Pregnancy Tumors”

Don’t let the nickname scare you.“Pregnancy tumors” are a natural reaction from your body during pregnancy. Typically occurring during the second trimester, they look like little raspberries between your teeth. They should go away after your baby is born. If they’re causing you discomfort, a dentist can remove them. But again, don’t be worried—“pregnancy tumors” are not malignant.

Pregnancy Gingivitis

If you notice more gum bleeding during your pregnancy, consider visiting your dentist more frequently. Hormones can make your gums swell, causing a common condition known as pregnancy gingivitis. Use a soft toothbrush at home for extra gentle care and to reduce irritation.

If you’re pregnant and have any oral health questions, we’re happy to help. Call us today to book an appointment and we can get you on the way to a brighter, healthier smile.

Can Acid Reflux Impact Your Teeth?

GERD, more commonly known as acid reflux, causes acid to back up in the stomach and sometimes into the mouth. If not kept under control, such acids can cause major problems for your oral health.

Trigger foods such as tomatoes, citrus, spicy foods, coffee, chocolate, onions, and a host of others can cause acid reflux to flare up. For certain cases, changing your diet can be enough to keep acid reflux under control. But for many, prescription medication is needed to avoid symptoms such as heartburn, coughs, difficulty swallowing, sinus infections, bad breath, and more. Acid reflux is especially harmful when you’re sleeping because you swallow less often and your mouth produces less saliva. Dry mouth can also be a side effect of acid reflux medications. Either way, a dry mouth can be harmful; it’s a breeding ground for bacteria and infections.

Acid reflux isn’t just uncomfortable, it can be dangerous. Untreated cases of acid reflux can lead to serious damage to the esophagus and can lead to esophageal cancer. The acids can also erode your teeth and cause periodontal problems.

Do you think you might be experiencing symptoms of acid reflux, but aren’t certain? Oftentimes, the first indication of acid reflux is the wearing away of enamel on your molars—a symptom you likely wouldn’t notice. But a trained dentist would.

Make an appointment with us today. We’ll check for symptoms of acid reflux and offer a plan to keep your oral health in tip-top shape.

Your smile is important. But all the brushing and flossing in the world won’t help if other acts are reversing the hard work you’ve done for a pearly white smile. Are you damaging yours with any of these three habits?

Overdoing It With Toothpicks

Ah, the toothpick. It’s a great way to the pass time and clean up your smile after a delicious meal. However, if your poking and prodding become too aggressive, you could be causing bleeding and tissue damage.

Rise-and-Shine Energy Drink

You wake up, ready to take on the day. But first, you pop open an energy drink. That sweet, fizzy kickstart to your morning can be a real downer for your teeth. The acidic nature of the drink can damage your gum line and tooth enamel. And let’s not forget the sugar. In addition to causing cavities, the quick boost it provides can leave you in a slump once it’s worn off.

Using Tobacco Products

We all know the dangers of tobacco, but they’re worth repeating. Tobacco use causes teeth staining, issues with healing after procedures, and cancer. In fact, smoking causes over 480,000 deaths in America every year and today more than 16 million Americans are living with a disease caused by smoking.

If you want to reclaim your oral health, we’re happy to help. Call us today to book an appointment and we can get you on the way to a brighter, healthier smile.

Tooth Fairy Ideas for Parents

Tooth Fairy Ideas for Parents

When it comes to creating an unforgettable tooth fairy experience, the internet is abuzz with incredible ideas. Here are our top three tooth fairy ideas for parents who want to go the extra mile.

Tooth Fairy Door

tooth fairy door

A cute addition to any tooth fairy story, a tooth fairy door gives a private entrance for your child’s magical friend. It’s easy to install and comes in a variety of exciting colors.

Send a Tiny Letter

tiny tooth fairy letters

Have your child tell the story of how they lost their tooth in their own words with a tiny letter. The perfect size for a fairy, these tiny letters are fully customizable. Your kids (and you!) will love them. Bonus: You can send a tiny package with a letter and an item of your choice.

Make Your Own Tooth Fairy Plushie

tooth fairy plushie

This one is fun for the whole family. Build your own tooth fairy, complete with a backpack for storing the tooth…and for the tooth fairy to slip in surprises in exchange for the lost tooth. The soft stuffing and slim profile make this toy comfortable enough to keep under your child’s pillow while they sleep.

Want Your Best Smile?

Do you want your child to have a smile they’ll love sharing with the world? Our conveniently located office offers a welcoming atmosphere and televisions for the kids to watch while they’re getting their teeth cleaned. Schedule an appointment today and Dr. Fernandez will help get you and your family on their way to healthier, happier smiles.

GERD, more commonly known as acid reflux, causes acid to back up in the stomach and sometimes into the mouth. If not kept under control, such acids can cause major problems for your oral health.

Trigger foods such as tomatoes, citrus, spicy foods, coffee, chocolate, onions, and a host of others can cause acid reflux to flare up. For certain cases, changing your diet can be enough to keep acid reflux under control. But for many, prescription medication is needed to avoid symptoms such as heartburn, coughs, difficulty swallowing, sinus infections, bad breath, and more. Acid reflux is especially harmful when you’re sleeping because you swallow less often and your mouth produces less saliva. Dry mouth can also be a side effect of acid reflux medications. Either way, a dry mouth can be harmful; it’s a breeding ground for bacteria and infections.

Acid reflux isn’t just uncomfortable, it can be dangerous. Untreated cases of acid reflux can lead to serious damage to the esophagus and can lead to esophageal cancer. The acids can also erode your teeth and cause periodontal problems.

Do you think you might be experiencing symptoms of acid reflux, but aren’t certain? Oftentimes, the first indication of acid reflux is the wearing away of enamel on your molars—a symptom you likely wouldn’t notice. But a trained dentist would.

Make an appointment with us today. We’ll check for symptoms of acid reflux and offer a plan to keep your oral health in tip-top shape.

There’s a reason why smiling is contagious—when we smile, we set off a positive chemical reaction in our brain. In fact, the science of smiling may just make you, well, smile.

First Impressions

A first impression sets the stage for the next steps of a relationship. Be it a friend, business acquaintance, or long-lost relative, offering a smile upon an introduction lowers the other person’s anxiety because they perceive you as a non-threat (humans are wired to recognize threats, and are especially susceptible to judgment on a first encounter). A smile can also trigger a smile in return from the other person. This act is both a mirroring gesture and a non-verbal form of communication that says, “Hey, we’re on the same page. It’s truly nice to meet you.”

Stress Reduction and Health

Studies have shown that not only does smiling reduce stress, it can also have a long-term impact on our health. Whereas negative emotions can cause health issues, positive ones can keep us living longer, happier lives.

Smiling as We Age: Kids vs. Adults

Smiling can generate more positive internal emotions. In fact, this emotion can be felt just by witnessing another person smile. This is why we often feel happier around kids (they smile about 400 times a day, while happy adults smile 40-50 times).

Want Your Best Smile?

Do you want a smile that you love sharing with the world? Schedule an appointment today and Dr. Fernandez will help get you on your way to a healthier, happier smile.

Home Whitening Versus Dentist WhiteningAt-home whitening kits usually contain carbamide peroxide. At Dr. Fernandez Family Dentistry, we use concentrated, prescription-only hydrogen peroxide. While over-the-counter teeth whitening kits usually only lighten teeth 1 to 2 shades, prescribed versions can whiten teeth 3 to 4 shades or more, depending on the teeth’s initial discoloration. Because of the concentration, we can use less product and get better results.

One issue we hear a lot about with home whitening kits is discomfort and gum irritation. We make custom trays that fit to your teeth so they’re comfortable, and we make sure the whitening product stays off your gums to avoid irritation.

What about whitening toothpaste?

Whitening toothpaste works in a totally different way. The toothpaste has an abrasive that scrubs away at surface stains, but it doesn’t go any deeper. With teeth whitening, the effect reaches all the way to the dentin, which is beneath the surface of the teeth.

Does whitening change the color of my veneers or crowns?

No. Those materials won’t whiten, but your natural tooth structure will. Is teeth whitening right for me? There are certain cases where teeth whitening will not work. Gray teeth, for example, are difficult. Sometimes trauma can cause a tooth to change colors. Consequently, these types of teeth don’t whiten well. There are also cases of speckled teeth (ex: fluorosis, “scars from braces,” or Tetracyclin staining) which don’t whiten very well either. In that case, you would want to look into veneers or crowns. Which option works best depends on the situation of your tooth or teeth.

How long does teeth whitening last?

Teeth whitening from a dentist can last up to 3 years, depending on how many stains you’re reintroducing to your teeth. It all comes down to your own unique habits.

If you want to know more about whitening, we’re happy to help. Call us today to book an appointment and we can get you on the way to a brighter, healthier smile.

As a parent, you may be concerned about your child’s thumb sucking and pacifier use. 

Why Do Babies Suck Their Thumbs?

It’s completely natural for a child to want to suck their thumb or a pacifier. It’s an innate inclination for both feeding and exploration. After 6 months of age, sucking tends to decrease. However, some children may continue well into their toddler years, spurred on by hunger, fear, or even as a soothing mechanism when they’re tired.

What are the Effects of Thumb Sucking and Pacifiers?

Extended thumb sucking and pacifier use can lead to a host of longer-term issues, including:

  • Nudging teeth out of place, potentially causing an underbite or overbite
  • Exposure to germs
  • Altering the sensitivity of the roof of the mouth
  • Jaw bone misalignment, causing a lisp

When Should a Child Stop Using a Pacifier and Sucking Their Thumb?

Studies suggest as much as 30% of preschoolers still suck their thumbs. The general rule to put an end to this is between ages 2 and 4. However, be careful to avoid excessive pressure to stop your child from breaking their habit. Doing so can result in more harm than good. Consider using positive reinforcement, such as a rewards system. Curbing this habit at a young age can help your child’s future oral health by stopping teeth misalignment and potential speech problems. 

Should You See a Dentist?

Are you concerned about your child’s thumb sucking or pacifier use? Schedule an appointment today and Dr. Fernandez will help get you and your child find a fun, long-term solution.

Diabetes and Your Oral Health

Estimates suggest nearly 30 million people living in the United States have diabetes—over 8 million of whom don’t even know they have it. If you or someone you know is living with diabetes, their oral health may be taking a hit.

Nearly 22% of people diagnosed with periodontal disease are living with diabetes. Poor blood sugar control increases the risk for this disease. In fact, infections of the gums can cause a rise in blood sugar, making diabetes harder to control and your mouth more susceptible to invading bacteria.

Additional issues may include:

  • Inflamed gums that bleed often
  • Decreased saliva production resulting in dry mouth (which can cause other issues as well)
  • Issues tasting food
  • Higher susceptibility to infections
  • Thrush, which can lead to a burning mouth and/or tongue

If you also smoke, these issues can be compounded. Some studies suggest you’re upwards of 20 times more likely to develop thrush and periodontal disease if you smoke. Combine that with the potential complications that can arise with diabetes and you’re putting your health in serious risk.

Give your oral health a fighting chance by being rigorous with your blood sugar levels, avoiding smoking, cleaning your dentures every day (if you have them), brushing and flossing twice daily, and being consistent with check-ups.

Regular visits to your dentist are important to keep issues at bay. If you suffer from diabetes and are ready to improve your oral health, make an appointment with us today.

E-cigarettes are touted as the safer version of tobacco cigarettes. Though long-term effects of vaping are still unknown, studies have shown vaping isn’t as safe for you—or your teeth—as you may think.

Dry Mouth

More than simply a side effect of being thirsty, dry mouth associated with vaping can cause big troubles for your teeth. Vaping-based liquids like propylene glycol can cause dry mouth, which can lead to excess bacteria. That bacteria is the start of bad breath, mouth sores, and even tooth decay.

Gum Inflammation and Irritation

When you vape, the chemicals you inhale pass over your gums and can cause an inflammatory response. This is your body’s natural defense system at work. Over time, continued gum inflammation can lead to painful irritation, not to mention different forms of periodontal diseases.

DNA Damage

You read that right. Inhaling vaping aerosols can break down cells’ abilities to divide and grow. The result? Cells age more quickly and can even be killed. A list of potential damages and diseases include:

  • Tooth decay
  • Bone loss
  • Tooth loss
  • Bad breath
  • Periodontal diseases

Vaping Can Cause You to Grind Your Teeth

Nicotine may make you feel relaxed but may prompt the opposite effect as well. Being a stimulant that fires up your muscles, nicotine can cause teeth grinders to worsen their behavior and even turn non-grinders to grinders.

Do you vape? Are you concerned your teeth are taking the brunt of vaping’s negative side effects? Schedule an appointment today and Dr. Fernandez will help get you on your way to a healthier, happier smile.