The Cosmetic & Esthetic Dentistry Blog

Serving Winchester, Somerville, Cambridge, Medford & Boston

April 10, 2018

Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is fairly common in men, women, and children. While children often grow out of it, in adults it can lead to severe symptoms such as chronic headaches and tooth damage. A number of physical, mental, and lifestyle factors can cause bruxism, and treatment may be a combination of lifestyle changes along with an oral appliance or dental work.Teeth grinding can cause chronic headaches | Dr. Ryan Clancy | Boston Dentist

Boston dentist Dr. Ryan Clancy is experienced in treating teeth grinding and helping his patients achieve a higher quality of life. Call Cosmetic & Esthetic Dentistry today at 781-396-8558 to schedule your teeth grinding consultation.

The Many Possible Causes of Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding can be caused or exacerbated by any of the following:

  • Sleep apnea
  • Stress
  • Misaligned bite
  • TMJ
  • Heavy alcohol, tobacco, or caffeine use
  • Genetics

Bruxism and sleep apnea are actually very closely related, and if you have one chances are high that you also have the other. Clenching your teeth may occur involuntarily when you are awakened after your breathing temporarily stops with sleep apnea. If your teeth grinding is found to be a likely component of your sleep apnea, treatment for sleep apnea may help prevent further teeth grinding.

Stress is another common risk factor for teeth grinding. People who are overly stressed in their job or daily life may clench their teeth unconsciously at night or during the day. If stress is a major part of your teeth grinding, in addition to an oral appliance, you may want to look into anxiety medications or stress-relieving techniques such as meditation.

Crooked or missing teeth that cause your bite to be misaligned may also cause teeth grinding and clenching. Bite misalignment is also a leading factor in TMJ. If your bite is misaligned, Dr. Clancy will recommend a restorative dentistry treatment plan to help realign your jaw and relieve your symptoms.

Why Treat Teeth Grinding?

Teeth grinding can cause symptoms that may interfere with your quality of life, including:

  • Chronic headaches
  • Worn-down, cracked, or loose teeth
  • Jaw, neck, and shoulder pain
  • Jaw stiffness
  • Lack of good sleep

Luckily, there are treatments available that can help treat teeth grinding. Depending on the root cause of your bruxism, Dr. Clancy may recommend:

  • An oral appliance to treat sleep apnea
  • A night guard to prevent grinding at night
  • Dental restorations to re-align your bite
  • TMJ treatment to relax your jaw
  • Lifestyle changes to help you relax and de-stress

Dr. Clancy trained at the prestigious Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies, which provides comprehensive courses in neuromuscular dentistry and sleep apnea. This training makes him uniquely qualified to address and help treat your teeth grinding as well as related issues such as TMJ and sleep apnea.

Schedule Your Teeth Grinding Consultation

If you have noticed that you're grinding your teeth often or in your sleep, call Dr. Clancy for a consultation at 781-396-8558. We serve patients in Medford, Cambridge, Somerville, and other nearby areas of Boston.

April 02, 2018

One of the most popular cosmetic dentistry services we offer is porcelain veneers. These wafer thin shells are designed to look and perform just like real teeth, and are durable and easy to maintain. How long porcelain veneers will last depends almost entirely on how well you take care of them. With proper care, porcelain veneers that have been placed by an experienced dentist and custom-fit to your mouth can last for decades.Porcelain veneers can last for decades | Dr. Ryan Clancy

If you are interested in porcelain veneers to create a beautiful smile, contact Boston cosmetic dentist Dr. Ryan Clancy at 781-396-8558 to schedule your consultation today.

What Causes A Porcelain Veneer to Break or Fall Off?

There are a number of reasons why a porcelain veneer might break or come off. These can include:

  • Trauma to the face
  • Chewing on ice or hard candy
  • Regularly eating sticky foods such as caramel or toffee
  • Poor bonding
  • Teeth grinding
  • Not enough natural enamel to bond veneer to
  • Tooth decay

It's important to take good care of your teeth after having veneers placed. You should brush and floss like normal, and try to avoid too many sugary, sticky, or hard foods. If decay sets in behind your veneer, it may cause the veneer's bonding to weaken and the veneer to fall off.

In addition, bad dental habits such as grinding your teeth or crunching on ice can cause veneers to loosen and come off. If you habitually grind your teeth at night, we will prescribe you a night guard to wear in order to protect both your natural teeth and your porcelain veneers.

It's extremely important to find an experienced cosmetic dentist such as Dr. Clancy to place your porcelain veneers. While it may seem like a simple process, the prep and bonding must be done with a high level of skill to avoid problems with the veneers in the first few months. If you hear about people whose porcelain veneers came off within the first week or month, it's likely because the veneers weren't bonded properly or the teeth were over-prepped.

What Happens If Your Porcelain Veneer Comes Off?

Dr. Clancy stands by his work, and if your porcelain veneers break or come off within the first 5 years of placement through no fault of your own, he will replace them free of charge. However, this guarantee does not apply if your veneers came off because you did not take good care of them. Porcelain veneers require a certain level of care and oral hygiene, and you are agreeing to take responsibility for that care when you decide to have porcelain veneers placed.

If a porcelain veneer falls off, please do not attempt to glue it back on yourself unless you are totally unable to visit Dr. Clancy or another dentist within two or three days. If you need to glue it back on, do not use regular glue, but instead visit a pharmacy and buy some temporary dental cement.

If a porcelain veneer chips or cracks but does not fall off, you should visit Dr. Clancy at your earliest convenience so that he can order a new veneer for you.

Schedule Your Porcelain Veneers Consultation

If your teeth are chipped, cracked, crooked, gapped, or stained, you may be a candidate for porcelain veneers. Call Dr. Clancy today at 781-396-8558 to schedule your consultation and take the first step towards a more beautiful smile.

We serve patients in the Boston area, including Medford, Winchester, Somerville, and Cambridge.

March 02, 2018

Many people suffer from unexplained pain in the face, neck, shoulders, and back that just seems to keep coming back, no matter what kind of home treatment they try. If you have this kind of pain, there is a strong chance that you may be suffering from TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder), also called TMD.

TMJ can be hard to diagnose due to the variety of symptoms it can present. This is why you should visit a neuromuscular dentist with experience diagnosing and treating TMJ if you are suffering from chronic face and neck pain that nothing seems to help.What are TMJ symptoms

Dr. Ryan Clancy is an LVI-trained dentist who has helped countless patients find relief from their TMJ symptoms. Give him a call at 781-396-8558 to schedule your consultation today.

How To Tell If You Have TMJ

Only a qualified TMJ specialist can give you a definite diagnosis. That being said, there are certain symptoms to look out for that are often telltale signs of TMJ disorder:

  • Pain in the jaw and face
  • Difficulty moving the jaw
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Lockjaw
  • Chronic neck, shoulder, or back pain
  • Chronic headaches or migraines
  • Grinding or popping when trying to move the jaw

If you have any combination of these symptoms, we encourage you to visit Dr. Clancy for a thorough examination. He utilizes state of the art technology and years of training and experience to determine whether you have TMJ and what is causing it.

How Can You Treat TMJ?

TMJ is often caused by a misaligned bite, which is why many dentists specialize in treating TMJ disorder. Grinding, clenching, over or underbites, and crooked teeth are often some of the main culprits in a TMJ diagnosis.

Treatments for TMJ can include specialized orthotic devices to hold the jaw in place, as well as dental work to realign the bite. Common dental treatments that may be utilized to help treat TMD can include:

  • Dental crowns
  • Dental implants
  • Bridges
  • Orthodontic work

Night guards can also be utilized in order to prevent your teeth from being worn down if you grind your teeth in your sleep.

During your consultation, Dr. Clancy will relax your jaw using the TENS unit, and track your jaw movements with the K7 system in order to find the ideal position to relieve your pain. He will then work together with you to come up with a treatment plan to realign your jaw into that ideal position.

Most of our patients report pain relief and an increased quality of life after successful TMJ treatment. Proper TMJ treatment can also save patients from overuse of painkillers, which can cause long-term health concerns.

Schedule Your TMJ Consultation

If you think you may have TMD, don't hesitate to schedule your consultation with Dr. Clancy at Cosmetic & Esthetic Dentistry by calling 781-396-8558 today. We serve patients in and around the greater Boston area, including Winchester, Somerville, Cambridge, and Medford.

March 02, 2018

Dr. Clancy's Thoughts on Health

Implant-Supported New You Dentures

Dr. Clancy's Thoughts on Health

With a new year comes a new opportunity for resolutions.  I am an advocate for overall health, but have a vested interest in oral health.  One of the easiest pathways to proper oral health and subsequently better overall health is oral cancer screenings.  We perform them every day on patients with and without teeth.  We can screen and potentially biopsy if recommended.  As with any cancer, prevention is of the highest importance.  Short of prevention, early diagnosis gives us the opportunity to maintain the health and wellness that we all strive for. 

Oral cancer is the largest group of those cancers which fall into the head and neck cancer category. Common names for it include such things as mouth cancer, tongue cancer, tonsil cancer, and throat cancer. Approximately 51,550 people in the US will be newly diagnosed with oral cancer in 2018. This includes those cancers that occur in the mouth itself, in the very back of the mouth known as the oropharynx, and on the exterior lip of the mouth. For more than a decade there has been an increase in the rate of occurrence of oral and oropharyngeal cancers.

There are two distinct pathways by which most people come to oral cancer. One is through the use of tobacco and alcohol, a long term historic problem and cause, and the other is through exposure to the HPV-16 virus (human papilloma virus version 16), a newly identified etiology, and the same one which is responsible for the vast majority of cervical cancers in women. A small percentage of people (under 7 %) do get oral cancers from no currently identified cause. It is currently believed that these are likely related to some genetic predisposition.

We have the tools and abilities to continue your oral health and overall health.  We look forward to your next uneventful oral cancer screening.

Missing Teeth? Have You Considered Dental Implants?

Over 170 million Americans are missing one or more teeth, and 30% over the age of 65 are missing all of their teeth. While dentures and bridges can be good options to help restore your smile and function, dental implants are widely considered the best way to replace missing teeth.

Why dental implants? It's because implants are the only current method available that actually replaces the tooth root. The tooth root is a valuable part of your jaw structure which prevents bone loss, so if you are missing multiple teeth and don't bother to replace the root, it could lead to jaw shrinkage and eventual collapse. Plus, properly fitting dentures supported by implants can do wonders for your overall appearance. Proper support of the muscles, skin, and bone in the face can give a facelift-like effect and may take years off your appearance.

We offer the latest implant-supported denture technology, New You Dentures. These dentures are completely customizable to fit perfectly in your mouth and allow you to speak, eat, and drink normally. They won't interfere with your bite, as typical non-custom adhesive dentures might, and because they are custom-made just for you, they will be as comfortable as possible.

We understand that our patients have different lifestyles, needs, and budgets, so we offer a variety of New You Denture options. You can choose from:

  • Permanently attached with 5 or 6 root replacements
  • Snap-on with 4 root replacements
  • Snap-on with 2 root replacements
  • Adhesive with no implants

Dr. Clancy will discuss which type is best for you during your consultation. Although we do offer adhesive dentures, in most cases we strongly recommend implants for the reasons discussed previously. 

Here at Cosmetic & Esthetic Dentistry, we have an in-house oral surgeon, so you will not need to go back and forth between an implant specialist and a cosmetic dentist at separate practices. Our patients appreciate the convenience and time saved with this arrangement. 

If you are interested in implant-supported dentures or other options for replacing missing teeth, call Dr. Clancy at 781-396-8558 today to schedule your consultation.

February 13, 2018

The dreaded root canal is probably the one dental treatment most feared by Americans. However, with modern advances in dental technology and dentist skill, there is no real reason to fear a root canal. Nowadays, having a root canal procedure done can give you long-lasting results with minimal pain, and is usually the preferred option over extracting a tooth.

We've put together this list of root canal myths along with the truth about this procedure in order to put your mind at rest. We hope that you will feel comfortable with the idea of a root canal after learning more about it, and will understand why it's often the best choice for an infected tooth.Root canals can preserve the natural tooth root in Boston, MA

Myth 1: Root Canals Are Painful

This is a pervasive myth, but it is untrue. Modern root canal technique utilizes local anesthetic to make sure that you don't feel a thing during your procedure. We also offer the NuCalm system to help you fully relax while having a root canal done. With the proper tools, technique, and equipment, a root canal is just like having a filling done.

After your root canal, you may experience some discomfort or sensitivity around the affected tooth. We will prescribe you pain medications if needed, but most patients are fine with over the counter medicines.

Myth 2: Your Tooth Will Need To Be Extracted Anyway, So Why Bother?

Many people think that a root canal is only a temporary solution, and eventually their tooth will need to be extracted. They think a root canal is a waste of money for this reason. However, most root canals have a very high success rate, and you can keep your tooth for the rest of your life with proper maintenance and oral hygiene.

Even if you start to feel pain in the tooth again, that doesn't mean it needs to be extracted. A second root canal can be performed in order to remove any lingering traces of infection or decay, and you can still keep most of your natural tooth.

Myth 3: Tooth Extraction Is Less Expensive And A Better Alternative

A root canal will almost always be recommended over an extraction if it is still possible to save your natural tooth. Extractions take out the tooth root, which can only be replaced by a dental implant. Dental implants are much more expensive than root canals, and are not covered by insurance in many cases.

If you opt to not replace your missing tooth, you're leaving your exposed gum wide open to further infection, and your neighboring teeth may start to weaken and shift into the empty space. Plus, the lack of tooth root may eventually cause bone loss in the jaw.

Root canals can save your natural tooth root and prevent the problems that come along with tooth extraction.

Myth 4: You Don't Need a Root Canal If You Have No Pain

Since tooth infection typically goes hand in hand with significant pain, you may think that if you don't have any pain you don't need a root canal. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Sometimes, the nerves and pulp inside your tooth have already died, which means you won't have pain despite severe decay and infection.

Experienced dentists have ways of checking tooth health even if you are not feeling pain. If Dr. Clancy finds that your tooth has been severely compromised, he will likely recommend a root canal even in the absence of pain in that tooth.

Schedule Your Dental Appointment Today

If you have a toothache or notice anything unusual about your teeth or gums, please don't hesitate to contact Dr. Clancy at 781-396-8558 to schedule an appointment. In addition, be sure to visit us every six months so we can check on your oral hygiene and the health of your tooth and gums.

We serve patients in Winchester, Somerville, Cambridge, Medford, and Boston, Massachusetts.