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Need Another Reason to Stop Biting Your Nails?

July 29th, 2020

Painful nails and cuticles, ruined manicures, reluctance to shake hands—there are so many good reasons to overcome the nail biting habit. But did you know that biting your nails is also bad for your dental health? Let’s look at a few more reasons to give our nails a break.

  • Bacteria Bonanza

It’s a vicious—and unhealthy—circle. Nail biting leads to injuries to the nails, cuticles, and skin surrounding the nails. These broken, jagged nails can now cause injury to delicate gum tissue. And to make things worse, fingernails harbor a lot of germs and bacteria, leading to the risk of illness and oral infections.  At the same time, bacteria from our mouths can get into the area around the injured nail, potentially leading to painful infections in the fingers.

  • Bruxism

Studies have indicated that nail biters have a greater risk of bruxism. Bruxism, better known as tooth grinding, can lead to a number of serious problems over time. Grinding and even clenching teeth on a regular basis can cause chronic headaches, worn enamel, fractured teeth, broken dental restorations, receding and inflamed gums, and loose teeth.

  • Breakage & Bad Bites

Your nails suffer obvious breakage, clearly, but your teeth are also at risk. The constant pressure of nail biting can lead to cracking, chipping, and erosion in the front teeth. Further, the pressure put on your teeth can even move them out of alignment, leading to bite problems. As you can imagine, nail biting has an even greater impact if you are wearing braces, because those teeth are already under pressure.

Why do we bite? Nail biting, or onychophagia, is a habit often started in childhood. Some people quit on their own as they reach adulthood, but for others, it can be a lifelong and painful habit. The explanations for nail biting are many: some researchers regard the habit as a form of compulsive behavior, others believe it to be a grooming impulse gone haywire, still others think it’s a way that we respond to anxiety or other stresses.

Whatever the cause, if you want to break the habit, you have options. There are over the counter polishes that use an unpleasant taste to deter biting. Learning to recognize triggers such as stress or boredom can help you choose a different response, such as snapping a rubber band around your wrist or gripping a stress ball. Dr. Roger and Scott Amundson can recommend some techniques for modifying this behavior. And finally, we can offer you suggestions for quitting, or even customize a mouthguard at our Grand Forks office to discourage nail biting and prevent the problems that come with bruxism.

It’s never too late to quit. If nail biting has become more than a cosmetic problem, let’s work on a solution. Healthy, attractive nails are a great goal to work toward, but nothing beats a beautiful, healthy smile!

Why Professional Cleanings are Important

July 22nd, 2020

Regular dental cleanings and checkups at our Grand Forks office are an excellent way to ensure everything is A-OK in your mouth. There’s a reason the American Dental Association recommends a professional cleaning every six months!

Here’s what you can usually expect during your visit with Dr. Roger and Scott Amundson:

  • Head and neck examination: The dentist or dental hygienist will look for anything out of the ordinary. He or she will check your lymph nodes and lower jaw joints (also known as TMJs).
  • Dental examination: The dentist or hygienist will check for any signs of gum disease, tooth decay, loose or broken teeth, or damaged fillings. We’ll also check your bite, the contact between your upper and lower teeth, and the condition of any dental appliances you’re wearing. Sometimes we’ll also take a set of X-rays.
  • Dental cleaning: Plaque and tartar will be removed and the dentist or hygienist will polish your teeth. Your teeth and gums will be flossed, and we’ll also make recommendations about proper brushing and flossing technique if we think you need them.

When you visit our Grand Forks office regularly, we’ll be able to compare the status of your teeth and gums from one appointment to another. That ensures we will be able to tell where you’re doing great in taking care of your teeth, and if needed, where you’re doing not so well.

If you’re in need of serious help, we might recommend more frequent visits. But remember, the most important factor in your oral health is how you take care of your teeth and gums at home between appointments.

We strive to help our patients achieve and maintain radiant, healthy smiles! If you'd like to know more about exams and cleanings at our Grand Forks office, or what you need to do at home to maintain an effective oral health routine, please let us know.

Dentin Tooth Sensitivity Treatments

July 15th, 2020

Dentine hypersensitivity can be described as a sharp and sudden pain caused by cold food and beverages. It’s present in more than half the population and result from receding gums that expose the root surfaces of your teeth.

That being said, hypersensitivity can be triggered by forceful tooth brushing, teeth whitening products, gum disease, and erosion from acid reflux, bulimia, or highly acidic foods. Symptoms can range from moderate to severe, depending on the cause and how quickly it’s treated.

Tooth sensitivity begins when the dentin develops some exposure. This layer that surrounds the nerve of the tooth is usually covered by gum tissue, but when recession takes place, the dentin can get exposed and the pain begins. The dentin contains numerous pores that run from the surface of the tooth inward. This direct connection to the nerve and blood supply of the tooth can be affected by external stimuli, such as the triggers cited above.

The good news is there are several different ways to treat dentinal hypersensitivity at Amundson Dental Associates.

Treatment of dentin tooth sensitivity begins by making an appointment with Dr. Roger and Scott Amundson. We encourage you to begin treatment sooner rather than later in order to figure out the cause and to reduce the pain you’re experiencing. In most cases, quick treatment options will solve the problem, including the use of desensitizing toothpaste, switching to a soft-bristled toothbrush, starting a daily fluoride rinse treatment, or minimizing teeth grinding with the help of a custom mouthguard.

For more serious cases, we may recommend you get crowns put on problematic teeth, start a gel or varnish fluoride treatment, or even schedule a surgical gum graft or root canal, depending on the cause and severity of your pain.

If you’re concerned about any tooth sensitivity you’re experiencing, please give our Grand Forks office a call and schedule an appointment. Dr. Roger and Scott Amundson and our team want to help you identify the cause of your pain, and give you the best possible treatment plan. We look forward to seeing you to help alleviate discomfort and solve your tooth sensitivity.

How to Plan Out a Healthy Summer!

July 13th, 2020

Summer is officially here! Despite quarantine being so prominent throughout the year, we at Amundson Dental Associates have stayed optimistic and enjoy the sun as much as possible while maintaining social distancing.

A great way to stay positive during the ongoing coronavirus is to focus on doing everything you can to improve your overall health. This means sticking to a healthy diet, making sure to exercise regularly, and doing your best to maintain a positive mindset.

Lifestyle

Developing your overall health doesn’t need to be an abrupt lifestyle change. You can begin by challenging yourself to stay physically active. At our office, we do this by establishing a daily walking or bike riding goal based on each individual comfort level.

In terms of diet, a great way to improve your health is to replace unhealthy snacks with healthier options. For example, processed fruit snacks might sound healthy at first but they are loaded with sugar and can get stuck between your teeth which may lead to tooth decay. Instead, opt for healthier snacks like grapes, carrot sticks, watermelon, and popcorn! They’re all tasty, less processed, and have a lot less sugar in them.

With the warmer months also comes the possibility to go outside more. In fact, one of our favorite places to visit during summer is Turtle River State Park and some of our team’s favorite outdoor activities this year are bonfires, lawn games, or lake and cabin getaways. The key to doing all of these during the current pandemic is to prioritize safety by avoiding crowds and wearing masks.

Travel

Despite currently not doing much traveling due to the coronavirus, quarantine has sparked in many of us the desire to travel more after the pandemic is over. As such, make sure you maintain hygiene to look and feel great in those travel pictures! Don’t forget to pack your toothbrush, toothpaste, healthy snacks, and plenty of clean clothing for ultimate comfort!

Fun fact

On July 13th we celebrate Dr. Roger Amundson’s birthday. Happy Birthday Dr. Roger Amundson!

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