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Posts for: October, 2016

By John Sartorio, D.M.D.
October 30, 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 John Sartorio, D.M.D.
October 25, 2016
Tags: Botox  

That’s right! Our Pittsburgh dentist can improve your smile and your appearance right here in our office.

When you think of getting Botox treatments in Pittsburgh, PA you may not originally think about going to the dentist. In fact, you may only botoxpicture visiting a dermatologist, but think about it: who has received more advanced medical training in the oral and maxillofacial areas than a dentist? We live and breathe that world every day and our Pittsburgh dentist, Dr. John Sartorio, is happy to provide this wrinkle-smoothing treatment to his patients to give them the more youthful glow they want.

What is Botox?

Botox is made from a purified form of botulinum toxin that when injected into the muscles of the skin it temporarily paralyzes them and keeps them from contracting. Of course, you’ve seen comedies where the actress gets Botox and can’t make expressions, but rest assured that Botox won’t make you look like an expressionless robot. You’ll still be able to convey all the emotions you feel just with a less wrinkled look.

What issues can Botox address?

Botox is great for smoothing away lines and wrinkles that appear when you smile, yawn or make other expressions. Botox is ideal for frown lines, forehead wrinkles, crow’s feet and lines around the chin and mouth.

When do results should up? How long do they last?

It’s important to note that you won’t walk right out of our office with immediate results. It usually takes at least a few days to notice results, with full results showing up within a week. Unfortunately, Botox results are not permanent, but they can last between three to four months.

Can I get more Botox in the future?

If you love your results and only wish that they would last longer then you are in luck. You can continue to visit our Pittsburgh dental office every few months to get follow-up treatments to maintain your results.

If you want to find out more about Botox and whether it could help you achieve your aesthetic goals then it’s time to call Dr. Sartorio in Pittsburgh, PA to schedule your consultation. Botox only takes a few minutes and there is no downtime. Get a more youthful appearance today!

By John Sartorio, D.M.D.
October 15, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: crowns  

If you're in need of a crown to cover a damaged tooth, you have a lot of options. But before you choose, you need to know what you want. Would you be happy with an affordable, well-fitting crown that holds up well and allows you to chew comfortably? Or are you interested in a more expensive one that also provides the most attractive result?

Crowns have been a mainstay in dentistry for generations. The first were made of metals like gold or silver — durable and effective but not very attractive.

In time, a ceramic material known as dental porcelain began to make its appearance in crowns. Dental porcelain could be fashioned to resemble the color and texture of natural teeth, but it had a significant drawback: it could be brittle and subject to shattering under chewing pressure.

This problem was somewhat addressed with the innovation of a crown with a metal substructure fused with an outer layer of porcelain. These porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) crowns combined the best advantages of both materials: strength and life-likeness. Up until around the mid-2000s, PFM made up over 80% of crowns.

But later porcelains continued to improve in strength, beginning in 1993 with the introduction of a Lucite-reinforced material. Newer formulations like lithium disilicate or zirconium oxide (now considered the strongest porcelain) have made all-porcelain crowns a viable option. Today, an estimated 60% of new crowns are all-porcelain.

From an appearance standpoint, all-porcelain crowns achieve the best results. The most realistic crown can be costly — not because of the material but the level of artistry required. A skilled dental technician will spend several hours, including brushing on as many as fifteen coats of liquid porcelain to the crown, to achieve the most life-like outcome. Your insurance plan, if you have one, will most likely not pay as high a percentage for that type of crown.

In the end, it's your decision as to what type of crown you wish to have. We'll help you weigh your options and decide what's best for you and your budget.

If you would like more information on crown options, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.