Posts for: April, 2016

By Mazhar M. Butt, D.M.D.
April 29, 2016
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.”

By Mazhar M. Butt, D.M.D.
April 14, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: smoking  

While cigarette smoking has been linked with lung cancer and heart disease, it, can also contribute to dental disease. You can reduce these risks by doing one thing — quitting smoking.

But that’s easier said than done: forty-six percent of smokers try to quit every year, but only one in ten are successful long term. The difficulty is tied to tobacco’s active ingredient, nicotine, an addictive substance that triggers chemical and behavioral dependence. Nicotine “re-wires” the brain to feel pleasure when it encounters the chemical, and to feel bad when it’s deprived. Social, occupational or recreational activities can further reinforce the habit.

Many smokers try to quit through sheer willpower or “cold turkey.” Because of nicotine’s addictive properties, this rarely works — instead, you need a comprehensive strategy tailored to you.

You should begin first with trying to understand your individual smoking patterns: when do you smoke, how frequently, or during what activities? To help with this you can use a “wrap sheet”, a piece of paper you keep wrapped around your cigarette pack. Each time you take out a cigarette, you would record how you feel on the sheet. This also slows down the action of taking out a cigarette and lighting it, which can help you become less mechanical and more mindful of your habit.

You can also break your dependence by gradually introducing restrictions to your smoking: smoke only in certain locations or at certain times; substitute other stress-relieving activities like a walk or other physical exercise; or gradually reduce the number of cigarettes you smoke. You can do the latter by setting a goal, say to smoke 20% fewer cigarettes each successive week; this will force you to increasingly make choices about when you smoke.

Finally, don’t try to go it alone. You can benefit greatly from professionals, including your dentist, to help you kick the habit through Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NTR) with prescription medication, counseling or smoking cessation support groups.

Quitting smoking isn’t so much stopping a behavior as it is “unlearning” one and establishing new, healthier ones. The first step, though, is accepting you need a change, one that will benefit your whole life.

If you would like more information on quitting smoking, 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 “Strategies to Stop Smoking.”

By Mazhar M. Butt, D.M.D.
April 06, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures

The American College of Prosthodontists, dentists who specialize in replacing missing teeth, estimates that 178 million Americans have denturesat least one missing tooth. In that large population, around 15 percent are completely toothless (edentulous). Results include lack of self-confidence, poor chewing and speaking and jaw bone recession.

How can people regain their smiles? Dr. Mazhar M. Butt, Carbondale, IL dentist, offers state-of-the-art restorative dental services which fill smile gaps and re-create stable, strong, beautiful teeth for best appearance and normalized oral function. He crafts partial and full dentures using precise diagnostic and imaging techniques and the finest materials available.

What is a Partial Denture?

A partial denture spans the gap created by loss of one or more teeth right in a row. Made from tooth-colored resin and mounted on a Vitallium metal frame, a "partial" anchors to adjacent teeth with clasps. Removable, comfortable and individually crafted for best fit, bite and appearance, the partial denture allows a patient to smile, eat and speak with confidence. With good care, this appliance lasts 10 years or more.

What are Full Dentures?

A full denture replaces a complete top or bottom arch of teeth. Held in place by the mouth's natural suction, or supported by dental implants surgically placed in the jaw, a full denture allows a patient to chew properly, speak clearly and look youthful.

Sometimes, Dr. Butt places immediate full dentures right after tooth extraction. These prosthetics actually provide some gentle pressure to sutured gums, helping to quell bleeding. They also allow the patient to leave the dental office with a full set of teeth in place. As healing progresses and gums and bone shrink, the fit of an immediate denture changes, requiring relining for more accurate fit.

Conventional dentures are placed after oral tissues are completely healed. This ensures a better, longer-lasting fit.

The Denture Process

After Dr. Butt and the patient determine which option is best, the Carbondale dentist takes oral impressions and sends a treatment plan to an outside lab. A skilled denture technician crafts the denture based on diagnostic imaging and Dr. Butt's instructions. Dr. Butt takes great care to ensure proper fit, bite balance and aesthetics; so the patient can expect a few dental visits to adjust a denture after initial placement.

What's Right for You?

Together, you and Dr. Mazhar Butt determine what tooth replacement option is best for your oral health and overall well-being. Regain your smile! Call Dr. Butt's friendly team today, and schedule your one-on-one denture consultation. Phone (618) 457-2123.