Dear patients.

We are happy to say that we are now open and operating under our full schedule.

COVID-19 has been a very difficult time for all of us. Many of you have been forced to wait for dental care, and we deeply appreciate your understanding while we kept our office closed to help control the spread of the coronavirus.

Your health and well-being continue to be our highest priority, and we opened with carefully planned and revised office procedures to greatly minimize the risk of infection for our patients and our team members. Our own families are also patients here, so you can be assured that we’ll be taking care of you just as well as we’ll be taking care of them.

For your peace of mind, the measures we are taking to provide a safe dental treatment experience include, but are not limited to, the following:

Upon Your Arrival at the Office

●     Patients will be screened BEFORE treatment and temperatures will be checked. Any patients showing signs of a fever or other symptoms of illness will be asked to reschedule their appointment.

●     ONLY patients will be allowed entry into the office. Parents and other family members will be asked to wait outside whenever possible.

●     Patients are asked to wait in their cars or outside the office until their scheduled appointment time.

●     The waiting area chairs will be spaced apart to allow for 6 feet of distancing.

●     We will ask that you continue to practice social distancing measures in common areas of the office, including the front desk.

●     The front door and the door between the waiting area and operatories will be propped open all day.

●     There will be no physical contact with patients with the exception of treatment.

During Treatment

●     All rooms will be COMPLETELY sterilized before each patient is seated, and public areas, including restrooms, will be cleaned and sterilized frequently throughout the day.

●     All operatories have high-volume air filtration and we have installed a whole office purification system. This system will kill the Covid virus along with other contaminates

●     Our team will STRICTLY follow guidelines set forth by the CDC, OSHA, and ADA in regards to personal protective equipment (PPE) and office sterilization.

●     During patient care, goggles or face shields will be worn by everyone and changed between patients.

●     All surfaces that came in contact with the patient will be wiped with disinfectant including the patient chair.

Checking Out After Your Appointment

●    We will be requesting prepayments when we know the amount of payment which will expidite your visit 

●     All efforts will be made to complete scheduling in the back of the office so you can leave without stopping at the front desk

We are proceeding with an abundance of caution, but we want you to feel as confident as we do that any visit you make to our office will be a safe one.

We also realize that many of you have been impacted financially during this outbreak, and we have solutions to keep dental care affordable for you and your family.

To discuss these payment options, schedule an appointment, or ask us any questions you may have about your next visit, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 757-473-8482

We look forward to seeing you soon!

Dr. Parr, Dr. Frey and the Smile Center Team

Bruxism

Woman holding jaw in painBruxism is a common condition which affects both adults and children. Also known as teeth grinding or clenching, bruxism is an involuntary condition linked to a variety of other concerns, including stress and misaligned teeth. When left untreated, grinding or clenching your teeth can cause damage to your enamel, as well as the jaw and surrounding structures. In severe cases, it can lead to fractures or tooth loss. Bruxism often occurs while sleeping and can go unnoticed for long periods of time. If your dentist identifies signs of grinding or clenching, they can recommend a treatment plan to alleviate your symptoms and protect your smile from further damage. 

Understanding Bruxism

Bruxism refers to a condition in which individuals clench or grind their teeth while awake or asleep. In most cases, patients are unaware of clenching or grinding but may notice associated symptoms, such as:

  • Tooth pain or sensitivity
  • Pain or soreness in the jaw, neck, or face
  • Earaches or ringing in the ears
  • Sores on insides of the cheeks or lips from biting
  • Restricted jaw movement
  • Dull headaches that start at the temples
  • Clicking in the jaw joints
  • Enlargement of the jaw muscles, called masseter hypertrophy

Your dentist may also notice wearing or damage to your teeth due to excessive pressure, such as cracks, chips, loose teeth, or flattening of the chewing surfaces. If you have a sleeping partner, they may hear clicking, grinding, gnashing, or other sounds which are indicative of bruxism.

Causes of Teeth Grinding

While the exact reasons for bruxism are not fully understood, it is likely caused by a combination of physical, psychological, and genetic factors. A common cause of grinding and clenching in adults is stress. Misalignment of your teeth can also result in bruxism. There are several risk factors for bruxism, such as:

  • Certain medications
  • Consumption of tobacco, caffeine, or alcohol
  • Recreational drug use
  • Negative feelings, such as stress, tension, and anger
  • Family history
  • Medical conditions, including Parkinson’s disease, dementia, and gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD)
  • Sleep-related disorders, such as sleep apnea

Bruxism is especially common in young children and usually resolves before adulthood. Of course, adults can develop the condition as well. 

What Are the Effects of Bruxism?

In some cases, grinding and clenching are so mild that treatment is not required. However, the constant pressure exerted on your teeth and jaw muscles can lead to serious health concerns. The consequences of untreated bruxism can include:

In some cases, the effects of bruxism fade as soon as the condition is treated. By lessening pressure on your teeth, for example, you can reduce or eliminate issues such as sensitivity and pain. However, damage to your teeth can have long-term, or even permanent, effects and require additional dental treatments in the future. 

Bruxism Treatment Options

For some patients, reducing their stress levels can provide sufficient relief from grinding and clenching.

Your dentist can examine your oral health and determine the optimal treatment plan for you. For some patients, reducing their stress levels can provide sufficient relief from grinding and clenching. However, in many cases, treatment is required.

Oral Appliance Therapy

There are a few ways to protect your teeth from the forces of grinding and clenching. Your dentist may recommend a custom night guard to wear while you sleep. This treatment is especially helpful if your bruxism symptoms mainly occur at night. In addition, splinting can redistribute the force of your bite by connecting multiple teeth together. Your dentist can place a temporary or permanent splint depending on your needs.

Orthodontics or Bite Adjustments

When your teeth do not fit together properly, you unconsciously adjust your bite throughout the day in an attempt to find a comfortable position. This process can cause you to grind or clench. If your symptoms are due to misalignment, orthodontic treatment or another form of bite adjustment can help reduce or eliminate bruxism. 

Medications

If your bruxism does not respond to other treatments, your dentist may recommend you take a muscle relaxant before bed. Additionally, if your clenching or grinding is related to anxiety, your doctor may prescribe a medication to relieve stress. Bruxism is also a side effect of certain medications. Switching to a different prescription may alleviate your issues. 

BOTOX® Injections

Woman receiving injection in her jawThere is some evidence to suggest that injection of BOTOX, a form of botulinum toxin, can help patients with severe bruxism that does not respond to other treatments. Since BOTOX limits muscle movement, it may be able to help reduce your symptoms. BOTOX injections are a temporary solution for bruxism and will require ongoing treatment.

Treating Underlying Conditions

Bruxism caused by another medical condition, such as sleep apnea or GERD, may resolve by simply treating the underlying condition. Be sure to provide your dentist with your full medical history so they can identify possible causes of your clenching or grinding. 

How to Prevent Bruxism

There are a few home-care techniques that can help prevent clenching and grinding, including:

  • Stress reduction and anxiety management techniques, such as meditation
  • Limiting or avoiding caffeine and alcohol, especially in the evenings
  • Special exercises to ease jaw tension
  • Developing a regular sleeping schedule

These methods may not work for everyone, especially if your bruxism is severe. Your dentist can evaluate your oral and overall health and recommend solutions tailored to your specific needs.

Protect Your Smile

Bruxism can have damaging effects but the condition can be treated. Schedule an appointment today to learn more about how you can find relief. 

The Smile Center

The Smile Center

The Smile Center in Virginia Beach has been providing high-quality dental care since 1988. We are proud to be affiliated with:

  • American Academy of Facial Esthetics
  • The American Orthodontic Society
  • American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry

For more information about our services, contact us online or call (757) 473-8482 today.

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Virginia Beach Office

200 Grayson Rd
Ste 100
Virginia Beach, VA 23462

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