Common Dental Concerns
Canker Sores (Apthous Ulcers)
These are sores that occur on the thin mucosal lining of your inside mouth such as your cheek, lips, tongue, and even the soft palate or the back portion of the roof of the mouth. These sores are typically whitish or yellowish in color surrounded by a red border. Triggers vary from person to person and may include stress, certain foods, braces to recognize a few. Sores may last 7 to 10 days. Your dentist may prescribe an antimicrobial mouth rinse or topical ointment Be sure to drink plenty of water and maintain good oral hygiene. Avoid spicy and acid foods as these foods may irritate the sore.
Cold Sores or Fever Blisters (Herpes of the Lips)
These are similar to canker sores in tending to be triggered by stimuli such as stress, trauma, etc. These sores typically occur outside the mouth and lips. Sores manifest as a blister form where a yellow scab will form, break and heal. These sores may last 7 to 10 days. These sores are contagious until a scab forms over the sore. Early use of prescription Acyclovir or over-the-counter Abreva may shorten the duration and decrease the severity. Talk to your dentist first. Be sure to drink plenty of water and maintain good oral hygiene. Avoid picking or peeling the blister or scab as it may increase the length of time to heal.
Sometimes exposed root surfaces or surfaces of the tooth not covered by gums or by the resistant first tooth layer called enamel may result in hypersensitive teeth. You should consider using an anti-sensitivity or desensitizing agent such as Sensodyne toothpaste. There are several over-the-counter brands–most contain potassium nitrate as the active ingredient. Potassium nitrate helps to toughen the root surface to help resist cold or hot sensitivity. Fluoride containing toothpastes and mouth rinses not only control and prevent cavity or disease progression If root surfaces are very sensitive, be conscious of not brushing aggressively in these areas. Drinking room temperature water may also help.
Bruxism (Teeth Grinding)
If you find your facial muscles feeling stiff at the end of the day or experience a stiff jaw in the morning after waking you, you might be clenching your teeth during the day or grinding your teeth at night oftentimes due to stress, anxiety, malocclusion, Other symptoms that could indicate you might be grinding or clenching include jaw soreness, headaches, fractured or cracked teeth, loose or mobile teeth. One way to treat and prevent cracked teeth might be to have a custom made night guard. This is an acrylic mouth piece that is fabricated to fit your teeth and is worn at night to prevent further grinding and clenching on natural teeth. Talk to your dentist about scheduling a visit to have a night guard made. You might also find it helpful to occasionally massage your facial muscles or jaw if you clench during the day at work to help relax these muscles. You can also take heat pads to apply to the jaw and face muscles for 20 minutes to help relieve muscle and joint stiffness. Trying breathing exercises and relaxation techniques might also help relieve tension in the face and stress and anxiety.