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Posts for: June, 2017

By Curt P. Posey, DDS, Inc.
June 16, 2017
Category: Oral Health

Ever since childhood, when her career as a model and actress took off, Brooke Shields has enjoyed worldwide recognition — through advertisements for designer jeans, appearances on The Muppet Show, and starring roles in big-screen films. But not long ago, that familiar face was spotted in an unusual place: wearing a nasal anesthesia mask at the dentist's office. In fact, Shields posted the photo to her own Instagram account, with the caption “More dental surgery! I grind my teeth!” And judging by the number of comments the post received, she's far from alone.

In fact, researchers estimate that around one in ten adults have dental issues that stem from teeth grinding, which is also called bruxism. (Many children also grind their teeth, but it rarely causes serious problems, and is often outgrown.) About half of the people who are teeth grinders report problems like persistent headaches, jaw tenderness and sore teeth. Bruxism may also result in excessive tooth wear, and may damage dental work like crowns and bridges; in severe cases, loosened or fractured teeth have been reported.

Researchers have been studying teeth grinding for many years; their findings seem to indicate that it has no single cause. However, there are a number of factors that play a significant role in this condition. One is the anatomy of the jaw itself, and the effect of worn or misaligned teeth on the bite. Another factor relates to changes in brain activity that occur during the sleep cycle. In fact, nocturnal (nighttime) bruxism is now classified as a sleep-related movement disorder. Still other factors, such as the use of tobacco, alcohol and drugs, and a high level of stress or anxiety, can make an individual more likely to experience bruxism.

What can be done for people whose teeth grinding is causing problems? Since this condition may have many causes, a number of different treatments are available. Successful management of bruxism often begins by striving to eliminate the factors that may cause problems — for example, making lifestyle changes to improve your health, creating a soothing nighttime environment, and trying stress-reduction techniques; these may include anything from warm baths and soft music at bedtime, to meditation and mindfulness exercises.

Several dental treatments are also available, including a custom-made occlusal guard (night guard) that can keep your teeth from being damaged by grinding. In some cases, a bite adjustment may also be recommended: In this procedure, a small amount of enamel is removed from a tooth to change the way it contacts the opposite tooth, thereby lessening the biting force on it. More invasive techniques (such as surgery) are rarely needed.

A little tooth grinding once in a while can be a normal response to stress; in fact, becoming aware of the condition is often the first step to controlling it. But if you begin to notice issues that could stem from bruxism — or if the loud grinding sounds cause problems for your sleeping partner — it may be time to contact us or schedule an appointment. You can read more about bruxism in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Stress and Tooth Habits.”

By Curt P. Posey, DDS, Inc.
June 05, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Root Canals  

Have you been ignoring pain in a tooth because you're afraid you might need a root canal? Many people share the same fear. root canalsFortunately, the reality is much different than the jokes you may have heard about root canals. Our Fresno, CA, dentist, Dr. Curt Posey, can save your tooth and end your pain.

Why are root canals performed?

Root canals treat infection or inflammation that develop in your tooth's pulp. If you don't have the treatment, you will eventually lose your tooth.

What signs will I notice if I need a root canal?

Everyone doesn't experience the same symptoms when they need a root canal. Some people may have severe, constant pain, while others may barely have any pain. Any pressure on the tooth, whether you press on it with your finger or chew, can increase pain. You may also notice more pain when you drink a glass of cold water or sip a cup of coffee. Extreme temperatures can irritate the nerves in the pulp, causing pain that can continue even after you finish your drink.

Swelling in the gum tissue around an infected or inflamed tooth may be a sign that you could benefit from a root canal. Did your tooth suddenly turn brown, gray or black? Darkening can be an indication that the therapy is needed.

If the tooth becomes abscessed, you may notice a significant increase in pain, accompanied by facial swelling, swollen lymph nodes and a fever. If you examine your mouth, you might even notice that a small pus-filled pimple has developed on your gum next to the tooth. Abscesses are dental emergencies. If you notice any of these symptoms, call our Fresno office as soon as possible.

What actually happens during a root canal?

Pain is the chief concern of many people who undergo a root canal. Luckily, local anesthetics totally block pain during the procedure. If concerns about pain have kept you from seeking treatment, you may want to consider oral, inhaled or intravenous sedation. Thanks to sedation, you'll experience no pain and will be relaxed and calm during the treatment.

Once you're completely numb, the pulp is removed and the center portion and canals of your tooth are cleaned, filed and shaped. Antibiotics may also be placed in the tooth to prevent or treat the infection. Adding a rubber-based filling seals and protects the tooth. Because root canal therapy can weaken teeth, you may need a crown to protect your tooth.

Worried about possible root canal symptoms? Call our Fresno, CA, dentist, Dr. Posey, at (559) 227-6755 to schedule an appointment.


There are a variety of methods for treating periodontal (gum) disease depending on its severity — from routine office cleanings to periodontal surgery. But the goal behind all of them remains the same: remove bacterial plaque and calculus (tartar), the root cause for gum disease, from all tooth and gum surfaces.

The traditional method for doing this is called scaling in which we use special hand instruments (scalers) to mechanically remove plaque and calculus. Scaling and a similar procedure called root planing (the root surfaces are “planed” smooth of plaque to aid tissue reattachment) require quite a bit of skill and experience. They're also time-consuming: full treatment can take several sessions, depending on how extensive the infection has spread.

In recent years, we've also seen a new method emerge for removing plaque: lasers. Commonly used in other aspects of healthcare, lasers utilize a focused beam of light to destroy and remove diseased or unhealthy tissue while, according to studies and firsthand accounts, minimizing healthy tissue destruction to a better degree than traditional techniques. Procedure and healing times are likewise reduced.

Because of these beneficial characteristics, we are seeing their use in gum disease treatment, especially for removing diseased and inflamed tissues below the gum line and decreasing sub-gingival (“below the gums”) bacteria.

Dentists who have used lasers in this way do report less tissue damage, bleeding and post-treatment discomfort than traditional treatments. But because research is just beginning, there's not enough evidence to say laser treatment is preferably better than conventional treatment for gum disease.

At this point, lasers can be an effective addition to conventional gum disease treatment for certain people, especially those in the early stages of the disease. As we continue to study this technology, though, the day may come when lasers are the preferred way to stop gum disease from ruining your dental health.

If you would like more information on treating gum disease, 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 “Lasers Versus Traditional Cleanings for Treating Gum Disease.”

Fresno, CA Dentist
Curt P. Posey, DDS, INC.
7078 N. Maple Ave. Ste #105
Fresno, CA 93720
(559) 227-6755
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