Thursday, October 30, 2008

Are There Teeth Grinders in Your House?

Grind, grind, grind, grind. If you live with a teeth grinder, especially a night grinder, you may be familiar with this unpleasant sound. Other symptoms of teeth grinding (technically called “bruxism”) include:

• Sensitivity in the teeth
• Tightness or pain in the jaw
• Dull headaches, earaches, or facial pain
• Chipped, worn down, or loose teeth

People frequently grind their teeth in response to stress, so taking measures to reduce or eliminate stress can help solve the problem.

Here are some things you can try to stop grinding

Cut back on caffeine and alcohol

Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration

Relax right before bedtime with a warm bath or shower

• Help your jaw learn to relax by quitting any chewing habits (pens, pencils, gum)

• When clenching or grinding happens during the day, place your tongue between your teeth to serve as a reminder to avoid the habit

If grinding goes untreated, it can lead to chipped teeth, worn enamel, chronic pain, or even TMJ, a painful jaw disorder. If the teeth-grinder in your house can’t stop, make an appointment to see us by calling Dr. John Pobanz. Dr. Pobanz can help determine the cause of the problem and possibly even prescribe a custom mouthpiece to help break the habit.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Just for Fun...Toothbrush Trivia!

Before the toothbrush was invented, many people actually brushed their teeth with sticks!

The first time in history that people actively cleaned their teeth was between 4000 and 3000 BC in ancient Babylon (the site where Iraq is now). The Babylonians used “chew sticks” – thin twigs or tree roots that were chewed at the end to loosen the fibers and then used like brushes.

Between 2000 and 1000 BC the ancient Chinese used similar twigs to clean their teeth. But the Chinese took it one step further and used twigs from trees with a nice smell. (Perhaps this was an early attempt at breath freshening?)

The next time you brush your teeth, take a moment to be thankful that you have a nice, clean toothbrush with soft bristles – instead of a stick!

Monday, October 13, 2008

When Are Two Phases of Treatment Necessary?

Usually patients in orthodontic treatment already have their permanent teeth – they are pre-teens, teens and adults. But in some cases we have to start treatment earlier, even before the patient’s permanent teeth come in. We call this “two-phase treatment.”

When we have patients with clear developmental problems at an early age, it’s best to start work when they are young, before the problems get bigger and more difficult to treat. Examples include an upper or lower jaw that is not growing correctly, or a mouth growing in a way that doesn’t leave enough room for all the permanent teeth to come in, or what we call a “severe malocclusion” (the orthodontic word for “bad bite” which means the jaws don’t fit together correctly).

In these cases we will start early and do one round of treatment – phase one – while the patient still has “baby teeth.” Phase one usually does not involve braces, but can include a different type of appliance that helps the jaw grow into place properly. We’ll follow up with phase two usually a few years later, when permanent teeth are in place. Generally phase two involves standard braces.

In order to catch any early problems, we recommend that children have an orthodontic check-up no later than age seven (and so does the American Association of Orthodontics). However, if your dentist or pediatrician sees any sign that early treatment might be necessary, he or she may recommend your child visit our office even sooner.

Monday, October 6, 2008

What’s so Special About an Orthodontist?

We often find our patients wondering about the difference between an orthodontist and a dentist. Dr. John Pobanz started out in dental school and got a DDS (dental) degree, just like your dentist. But after dental school, Dr. John Pobanz decided he/she wanted to learn more about orthodontics, which is one of nine specialties in the dental field. So he/she stayed in a school for a few more years to become an expert in orthodontics, which focuses on tooth and jaw alignment and bite problems such as overbites and underbites.

Other dental specialties you may have heard of include endodontics (focusing on the soft tissue inside your teeth), periodontics (focusing on the gums and other tissues surrounding your teeth) and prosthodontics (focusing on restoring and replacing damaged teeth).

Isn’t it nice to know there’s a dental expert to help you through any type of treatment your teeth, jaw and gums might need?To schedule your complimentary exam, please call our office at
801-452-7155 or email us at: