My Blog

Posts for: January, 2017

By Dr. Brian Gniadek
January 21, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: retainers   orthodontics  

Moving your teeth to a more functional and attractive alignment is a big undertaking. You can invest months — even years — and a lot of expense to correct a bad bite. But all that effort could be for nothing if your teeth return to their original positions.

The very aspect of dental physiology that makes orthodontics possible can work against you in reverse. Your teeth are not actually rigidly fixed in the bone: they're held in place by an elastic gum tissue known as the periodontal ligament. The ligament lies between the tooth and the bone and attaches to both with tiny fibers.

While this mechanism holds the teeth firmly in place, it also allows the teeth to move in response to changes in the mouth. As we age, for example, and the teeth wear, the ligament allows movement of the teeth to accommodate for the loss of tooth surface that might have been created by the wear.

When we employ braces we're changing the mouth environment by applying pressure to the teeth in a certain direction. The teeth move in response to this pressure. But when the pressure is no longer there after removing the braces or other orthodontic devices, the ligament mechanism may then respond with a kind of “muscle memory” to pull the teeth back to where they were before.

To prevent this, we need to help the teeth maintain their new position, at least until they've become firmly set. We do this with an oral appliance known as a retainer. Just as its name implies it helps the teeth “retain” their new position.

We require most patients to initially wear their retainer around the clock. After a while we can scale back to just a few hours a day, usually at nighttime. Younger patients may only need to wear a retainer for eighteen months or so. Adults, though, may need to wear one for much longer or in some cases permanently to maintain their new bite.

Although having to wear a retainer can be tedious at times, it's a crucial part of your orthodontic treatment. By wearing one you'll have a better chance of permanently keeping your new smile.

If you would like more information on caring for your teeth after braces, 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 “The Importance of Orthodontic Retainers.”

By Dr. Brian Gniadek
January 12, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures

Are you looking for a way to replace missing teeth? Dental implants look, feel, and function like natural teeth. Dental implants are dental implantsextremely versatile, which makes them a great option for replacing missing teeth. Dr. Brian Gniadek & Associates in Lindenhurst, IL offers dental implants to their patients. Here are some reasons why dental implants are so versatile.

A Single Missing Tooth

Losing one tooth can cause a host of problems for your smile, from structural changes in the face to a deteriorating jawbone. To prevent these problems from happening, it's important that you replace your missing tooth as soon as possible. A dental implant is made up of a titanium post that is implanted into the jawbone. Once the area of the dental implant has healed, the dentist caps the titanium post with a dental restoration.

Multiple Missing Teeth

When you are missing multiple teeth, chewing and speaking can be difficult. Having missing teeth can also make you look older. Fortunately, missing teeth can be replaced. Dental implants can be used to replace multiple teeth or used to support a complete set of upper and/or lower dentures.

Add Stability to Restorations

Dental implants can be used to add to the stability of existing dental appliances, like dental bridges and dentures. One or more dental implants can stabilize a dental bridge. Partial dentures may require multiple implants, but the implants will make them stable. If the dentures are supported by dental implants, they won’t slip or slide, thus improving comfort and preventing embarrassing situations.

How long do dental implants last?

While other dental restorations - crowns, bridges, dentures - are effective, they all will eventually require repair or replacement. But dental implants from your Lindenhurst dentist are designed to last decades, even a lifetime, with proper care and regular checkups. Their longevity is due in part to the unique way they are permanently implanted into the jawbone, providing unprecedented stability to the whole implement. Not only do they look like natural teeth, they are cared for in the same way. Regular brushing, flossing and twice-yearly cleaning appointments are all you need to keep your new restorations bright, shiny and functional for years to come.

Having missing teeth is embarrassing and it can put you at risk for severe oral health problems. You don't have to live with missing teeth. If you need dental implants, call Dr. Brian Gniadek & Associates in Lindenhurst, IL today to schedule your consultation. Dental implants will help restore your smile!

By Dr. Brian Gniadek
January 06, 2017
Category: Oral Health

When you’re among the top players in your field, you need every advantage to help you stay competitive: Not just the best equipment, but anything else that relieves pain and stress, and allows you to play better. For top-seeded Canadian tennis player Milos Raonic, that extra help came in a somewhat unexpected form: a custom made mouthguard that he wears on the court and off. “[It helps] to not grind my teeth while I play,” said the 25-year-old up-and-coming ace. “It just causes stress and headaches sometimes.”

Mouthguards are often worn by athletes engaged in sports that carry the risk of dental injury — such as basketball, football, hockey, and some two dozen others; wearing one is a great way to keep your teeth from being seriously injured. But Raonic’s mouthguard isn’t primarily for safety; it’s actually designed to help him solve the problem of teeth grinding, or bruxism. This habitual behavior causes him to unconsciously tense up his jaw, potentially leading to problems with muscles and teeth.

Bruxism is a common issue that’s often caused or aggravated by stress. You don’t have to be a world-class athlete to suffer from this condition: Everyday anxieties can have the same effect. The behavior is often worsened when you consume stimulating substances, such as alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, and other drugs.

While bruxism affects thousands of people, some don’t even suspect they have it. That’s because it may occur at any time — even while you’re asleep! The powerful jaw muscles that clench and grind teeth together can wear down tooth enamel, and damage both natural teeth and dental work. They can even cause loose teeth! What’s more, a clenching and grinding habit can result in pain, headaches and muscle soreness… which can really put you off your game.

There are several ways to relieve the problem of bruxism. Stress reduction is one approach that works in some cases. When it’s not enough, a custom made occlusal guard (also called a night guard or mouthguard) provided by our office can make a big difference. “When I don’t sleep with it for a night,” Raonic said “I can feel my jaw muscles just tense up the next day. I don’t sense myself grinding but I can sort of feel that difference the next day.”

 An occlusal guard is made from an exact model of your own mouth. It helps to keep your teeth in better alignment and prevent them from coming into contact, so they can’t damage each other. It also protects your jaw joints from being stressed by excessive force. Plus, it’s secure and comfortable to wear. “I wear it all the time other than when I’m eating, so I got used to it pretty quickly,” said Raonic.

Teeth grinding can be a big problem — whether you put on your game face on the court… or at home. If you would like more information about bruxism, contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Stress & Tooth Habits” and “When Children Grind Their Teeth.”