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Oral Health

We’ve all caught ourselves biting our cheeks from time to time, which is a seemingly harmless habit that can often be attributed to stress, anxiety, or even just absentmindedness. While it might not seem like a big deal at first, your dentist in Sparks knows that consistently biting your cheeks could potentially lead to problems for your teeth and overall oral health. But why exactly is this habit problematic and what can you do to decrease the dental risks associated with it? 

The Habitual Cheek Bite

Biting your cheeks might seem innocuous, but when done regularly, it can have repercussions beyond just temporary discomfort. Habitual cheek biting involves repeatedly clenching your teeth down on the soft tissue of your inner cheeks. Over time, this can cause irritation, inflammation, and even result in sores or ulcers in the mouth. While these symptoms might be uncomfortable on their own, they can also indirectly affect your teeth.

Dental Damage: Consistent cheek biting can create pressure on your teeth. This constant pressure can result in micro-fractures, chips, or cracks in your teeth. Over time, this damage might necessitate dental treatments such as dental bonding, fillings, or even crowns to restore the affected teeth.

Shift in Tooth Alignment: Habitual cheek biting can also affect the alignment of your teeth. The repetitive movement of your teeth against the cheek can push them out of their natural positions, potentially leading to malocclusion or misalignment. This might require treatment from your dentist in Sparks to correct the issue.

Bruxism Aggravation: Cheek biting is often associated with bruxism – the habit of clenching or grinding your teeth, usually during sleep. Bruxism can lead to enamel erosion, tooth sensitivity, and jaw pain. Habitual cheek biting can exacerbate these issues, intensifying the impact of bruxism on your dental health.

Prevention and Management

There are several ways you can prevent dental damage caused by habitual cheek biting including: 

Awareness and Mindfulness: The first step in addressing cheek biting is to become more aware of when you’re doing it. Pay attention to moments when you catch yourself biting your cheeks, and try to identify any triggers. Practicing mindfulness and stress reduction techniques can also help minimize the instances of cheek biting.

Mouthguards: For those who find it challenging to control cheek biting, your dentist in Sparks  can create custom mouthguards or splints to help. These devices act as a barrier between your teeth and cheeks, preventing direct contact and reducing the potential damage caused by clenching and grinding.

Biting your cheeks might seem like a minor concern, but its impact on your dental health can be significant. From dental damage and misalignment to exacerbating bruxism-related problems, this seemingly harmless habit can lead to various oral health issues. The key lies in awareness, stress management, and seeking professional guidance when needed. By taking steps to address and mitigate cheek biting, you can preserve your dental health and maintain a confident smile for years to come. Remember, a proactive approach to oral health can lead to a happier and healthier mouth.

Even though dentists are primarily associated with oral health, there’s a lesser-known aspect of dentistry – its role in treating migraines and headaches. Some dentists’ expertise can extend beyond the realm of teeth and gums and into other systemic health concerns such as the connection between migraines, headaches, and dental health In fact, your dentist in Sparks may be able to provide much-needed relief to those suffering from chronic headaches.

The Dental-Migraine Connection

Migraines and headaches affect millions worldwide, impacting individuals physically, emotionally, and socially. But what many don’t realize is that dental issues, such as temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), misaligned bites, and teeth grinding (bruxism), can contribute significantly to the frequency and intensity of these debilitating headaches.

TMJ Disorder

Temporomandibular joint disorder, a condition affecting the joint that connects the jawbone to the skull, often goes undiagnosed but can certainly cause symptoms including headaches and migraines. Dentists are trained to identify the telltale signs of TMJ disorders, such as jaw pain, clicking noises, and limited jaw movement. Addressing TMJ issues can lead to remarkable improvements in migraine and headache symptoms.


A malocclusion, commonly known as a “bad bite,” occurs when the upper and lower teeth do not align correctly. This misalignment can lead to increased muscle tension, which triggers headaches. Dentists can conduct bite assessments and orthodontic treatments to rectify malocclusions, potentially offering relief to headache sufferers.


Bruxism, the unconscious clenching, and grinding of teeth, is a common dental issue often linked to stress and anxiety. Prolonged bruxism can strain the jaw muscles, leading to headaches. 

Dental Solutions for Headache Relief

Depending on the underlying cause of headaches or migraines, your dentist in Sparks may be able to help you get relief. 

Dentists can create custom mouthguards or suggest stress management techniques to alleviate bruxism and its related headaches.

Orthodontic treatments, such as braces or clear aligners, can correct malocclusion, which in turn can reduce the frequency and intensity of headaches. Through carefully planned orthodontic procedures, dentists can achieve a harmonious bite, promoting overall oral health and reducing headache triggers.

Dentists equipped with TMJ disorder treatment knowledge can offer targeted therapies and techniques like ultrasound therapy, trigger point injections, and jaw exercises to provide immense relief to migraine sufferers.

Nobody should have to deal with chronic headaches or migraines. Dentists can help. Those who have tried other treatments but have not yet considered a migraine-dental connection are encouraged to consult their dentist in Sparks for an evaluation. They just may unlock the relief you’ve been seeking for a happier, pain-free life.

If you’ve ever woken up with a sore jaw or headache, or have noticed that your teeth appear shorter and worn down, you may be dealing with tooth grinding, scientifically known as bruxism. You’re not alone. Millions of individuals deal with tooth grinding discomfort every day, and to make matters worse, most people grind their teeth subconsciously. If not treated, bruxism could lead to unwanted dental problems and necessary dental treatment from your dentist in Sparks. So what causes tooth-grinding and how can you stop doing it? Let’s find out. 

What is Bruxism?

Before we delve into the causes and solutions, let’s grasp the fundamentals of bruxism. Bruxism refers to the habitual clenching or grinding of teeth, often during sleep or subconsciously. This condition can manifest during the day (awake bruxism) or while we sleep (sleep bruxism). While occasional teeth grinding may not raise significant concerns, chronic bruxism can lead to severe dental complications and discomfort.

What Causes Bruxism?

There are a variety of things that can cause someone to grind their teeth, and each person is different. That’s why it’s important to talk to your dentist in Sparks about any symptoms of bruxism. They will help determine the cause and determine the best way to treat it. 

Stress and anxiety are notorious culprits behind many health issues, and bruxism is no exception. The pressures of daily life can lead us to clench our jaws or grind our teeth as a subconscious way of coping. Identifying stressors and adopting relaxation techniques can significantly alleviate bruxism symptoms.

Sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea and snoring, have been associated with an increased risk of sleep bruxism. The interrupted breathing patterns in sleep apnea can trigger the body’s response to grind teeth, aiming to open the airways. If you suspect you may have an underlying sleep disorder, it’s crucial to seek professional evaluation and treatment.

Malocclusion, commonly known as a misaligned bite, can also be a trigger for bruxism. When the upper and lower teeth don’t fit together harmoniously, the subconscious response may be grinding to find a more comfortable position. Dental treatments such as orthodontic treatments can address malocclusion and reduce teeth grinding.

Certain lifestyle habits such as excessive caffeine consumption, alcohol intake, and smoking have been linked to an increased risk of bruxism. Caffeine and alcohol can stimulate the nervous system, while smoking can heighten muscle tension. Being mindful of these factors and moderating their consumption can help curb tooth grinding.

Tips to Stop Tooth Grinding

  1. Stress Management Techniques

As stress is a major player in bruxism, incorporating stress management techniques into your daily routine can work wonders. Consider practices like meditation, yoga, deep breathing exercises, or engaging in hobbies to unwind and reduce stress levels.

  1. Nighttime Mouthguards

Nighttime mouthguards, also known as splints or occlusal guards, are custom-fitted devices made by your dentist in Sparks. They put a protective barrier between your upper and lower teeth and help prevent tooth damage and ease jaw muscle tension during sleep.

  1. Correcting Malocclusion

If malocclusion is contributing to your bruxism, orthodontic treatment may be beneficial. These treatments can realign the bite, eliminating discomfort and reducing teeth grinding.

  1. Limiting Stimulants

As mentioned earlier, reducing the consumption of stimulants like caffeine and alcohol can have a positive impact on bruxism. Opt for decaffeinated beverages and limit alcohol intake to improve your sleep quality.

Tooth grinding may have been causing you more distress than you realized. By understanding the potential causes and adopting effective strategies, you can regain control over your dental health and sleep quality. Remember to manage stress, consider mouthguards, address dental misalignments, moderate lifestyle factors, and establish a bedtime routine. Put these practices into action, and you’ll be well on your way to saying goodbye to tooth grinding and hello to healthier, more restful nights. 


Cavities are the most common dental problem among both children and adults. But why are some individuals more prone to cavities while others seem to have naturally strong teeth and fewer dental issues? The truth is there are multiple reasons why you may get more cavities than someone else. Luckily, your dentist in Sparks has some thoughts on the matter. 

Genetics & Tooth Structure

Genetics can play a significant role in determining the strength and structure of teeth, meaning that certain people with certain genetics simply have stronger teeth than others. Those people who are lucky enough to inherit stronger enamel have teeth that can better resist the acid produced by bacteria, thus preventing tooth decay. On the other hand, those with genetically weaker enamel may be more prone to cavities because acid can wear away at weaker enamel more easily. Additionally, the size and alignment of teeth can impact an individual’s susceptibility to cavities. For example, crowded or misaligned teeth can be harder to clean effectively, leaving behind bacteria and acid that can cause decay.

Oral Hygiene Practices

Effective oral hygiene practices, such as regular brushing and flossing, are key to preventing cavities. Individuals who diligently follow a proper oral health care routine are more likely to maintain good dental health. Those who brush twice a day and floss daily effectively reduce the risk of cavities by removing plaque and food particles. However, people who rush through brushing and flossing or skip them altogether can leave behind bacteria and plaque that will lead to tooth decay and a necessary visit to their dentist in Sparks.

Diet & Sugar Consumption

What we eat and drink greatly influences our dental health. A diet high in sugary and acidic foods and beverages provides a favorable environment for bacteria in the mouth, leading to cavities. Bacteria feed on sugars and produce acids that erode tooth enamel. Those who regularly consume sugary snacks, carbonated drinks, or snacks frequently between meals are at a higher risk of developing cavities. Conversely, individuals who maintain a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins provide their teeth with the necessary nutrients to maintain strong tooth enamel and overall dental health.

Saliva Production

Saliva plays a crucial role in maintaining oral health. It helps wash away food particles, neutralize acids, and helps remineralize teeth. Some individuals naturally have a higher flow of saliva, which aids in protecting teeth against cavities. Additionally, saliva contains minerals like calcium and phosphate that contribute to tooth remineralization. However, other people may have lower levels of saliva production naturally, or production is slowed down because of certain medical conditions, medications, or treatments. This can lead to dry mouth and increase the risk of cavities.

Maintaining Dental Appointments

Regular dental check-ups and professional cleanings are essential for maintaining dental health. Individuals who prioritize routine dental visits with their dentist in Sparks and receive professional dental cleanings are more likely to detect early signs of cavities and address them promptly. Additionally, dental professionals can provide preventive treatments like sealants or fluoride applications to further protect teeth from decay. Those with limited access to dental care or who neglect regular check-ups may be at a higher risk of developing cavities.

The occurrence of cavities varies among individuals due to a combination of factors. Understanding these factors can empower individuals to take proactive steps in preventing cavities and maintaining good oral health. By adopting proper oral hygiene practices, making healthy dietary choices, and seeking regular dental care, individuals can significantly reduce their risk of developing cavities and enjoy a lifelong healthy smile. Remember, everyone’s dental health journey is unique and individualized care is key to promoting optimal oral health.

Taking care of a senior’s teeth can be challenging. After all, seniors may face unique challenges in maintaining their oral health due to factors such as medication side effects, medical conditions, and physical limitations. However, with proper care and attention, seniors can keep their teeth healthy and maintain a confident smile. Join your dentist in Sparks as we explore essential tips for keeping a senior’s teeth healthy and promoting overall oral well-being.

Help Keep an Oral Hygiene Routine

A consistent oral hygiene routine is the foundation of healthy teeth for everyone, including seniors. It’s important that seniors continue to keep an oral hygiene routine to remove plaque and bacteria that could lead to additional problems. Encourage seniors to brush their teeth at least twice a day using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Also, remind them to floss once a day. Flossing helps remove plaque and food particles from between the teeth that a toothbrush alone can’t reach. Keep in mind that some seniors may have physical limitations that prevent them from brushing or flossing properly. Your dentist in Sparks can suggest alternative toothbrushes or flossers to make it easier. 

Promote Regular Dental Check-ups

Regular dental check-ups are essential for seniors to monitor their oral health and address any issues early when they’re still easily treatable. Seniors should visit the dentist at least every six months for a thorough check-up and professional cleaning. Serious oral health problems such as gum disease or oral cancer can often be treated successfully when they’re caught in the early stages, which makes these appointments even more important. 

Practice Proper Denture Care

Not all seniors will have dentures. But for those who do, practicing proper denture care is essential for maintaining oral health. Remind or help them to clean their dentures daily using a denture brush or a soft-bristled toothbrush and mild soap or denture cleanser. Dentures should be soaked overnight to maintain their shape so they continue to fit comfortably. However, outside of at-home denture care, regular dental check-ups are also important to evaluate fit and address any concerns or discomfort.

Encourage Good Habits

Everything from what we eat and drink to our activity level plays a role in our overall and oral health. Encourage seniors to engage in regular physical exercise, avoid smoking or excessive alcohol consumption, eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and dairy products, and drink plenty of water. These good habits can help support a healthy body, and a healthy body helps support healthy teeth and gums.

Keeping a senior’s teeth healthy requires a combination of consistent oral hygiene routines, proper denture care, a nutrient-rich diet, regular dental check-ups with their dentist in Sparks, and overall health management. By implementing these essential tips, seniors can maintain a healthy smile, prevent dental issues, and improve their overall well-being. Supporting seniors in their oral care efforts and providing guidance is crucial in promoting healthy teeth and gums throughout their lives.

Your dentist in Sparks understands that having a bright, white smile is an important quality for many. That’s why we offer teeth whitening services to help you achieve the smile you’ve always wanted. But there are pros and cons of teeth whitening, so let’s take a closer look at what to consider before deciding if it’s right for you.

Benefits of Teeth Whitening

Cons to Consider

In addition to teeth whitening, there are other steps you can take to maintain a healthy, white smile such as

There are various forms of teeth whitening options to help you achieve the bright, white smile you’ve always wanted. Start by scheduling a consultation with your dentist today. 

Did you know that your oral health can have a significant impact on your heart health? Several studies have shown a link between poor oral health and heart disease, making it essential to maintain good oral hygiene habits. With this in mind, your dentist in Sparks wants to help you understand the connection between oral health and heart disease and what you can do to protect your overall health.

The Link between Oral Health and Heart Disease

Poor oral health can lead to the buildup of harmful bacteria in the mouth, which can cause inflammation and infections. Inflammation can then spread to other parts of the body, including the arteries. When this happens, it can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular problems.

One study found that individuals with severe gum disease were twice as likely to suffer from coronary artery disease than those with healthy gums. Other studies have linked poor oral health to high blood pressure, clogged arteries, and even heart attacks.

Maintaining Good Oral Hygiene Habits

To protect your oral health and reduce the risk of heart disease, it is important to maintain good oral hygiene habits. This includes:

  1. Brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
  2. Flossing at least once a day to remove plaque and food particles
  3. Using mouthwash to kill bacteria and freshen breath
  4. Visiting your dentist in Sparks for regular checkups and cleanings

Additionally, it is important to maintain a healthy diet and avoid sugary and acidic foods and drinks that can erode tooth enamel and promote the growth of harmful bacteria.

Other Steps to Protect Your Heart Health

In addition to maintaining good oral hygiene habits, there are other steps you can take to protect your heart health and your oral health, such as:

  1. Quitting smoking or using tobacco products
  2. Managing stress levels through meditation, exercise, or other stress-reduction techniques
  3. Maintaining a healthy weight through regular exercise and a balanced diet
  4. Getting enough sleep to promote overall health and well-being

By taking these steps, you can reduce your risk of heart disease and improve your overall health and well-being.

Your dentist in Sparks is committed to helping patients maintain good oral health and overall health. If you have any concerns about your oral health or would like to schedule a checkup and cleaning, please contact us today.

National Sunscreen Day is celebrated every year on May 27th and is designed to raise awareness of the dangers that can come from getting too much sun, especially without the protection of sunscreen. But how exactly does this apply to your teeth, and why is your dentist in Sparks talking about it? The truth is, sunshine can both benefit and damage oral health. 

Oral Health Benefits of Sunshine

The sun has one of the most important things teeth need to stay strong and healthy – vitamin D. Vitamin D is what allows the body to absorb calcium, and you need to get the right amount of both to get the benefits. Getting some sun, along with eating foods high in vitamin D and calcium, can help. However, too many Americans don’t get enough vitamin D. Around 42% of U.S. adults are vitamin D deficient. Without enough vitamin D, the body and teeth could be in trouble. Vitamin D deficiency can cause or contribute to: 

Even though we can get vitamin D by eating foods such as fatty fish, eggs, and fortified food like dairy, juice, and plant milk, the best way to get vitamin D is through the sun. Just always make sure to wear sunscreen on your skin and reapply often. 

Oral Health Dangers of Sunshine

Luckily, the teeth aren’t often directly at risk for damage from the sun, although it’s still possible. But other areas of the mouth are more likely to sustain negative effects from too much sunshine. 

Heat makes us sweat. Sweat makes our bodies lose water. Losing water causes dehydration. Dehydration is certainly a serious problem that affects overall health, but it’s also a concern for your dentist in Sparks. Dehydration can cause something called dry mouth. Dry mouth isn’t only uncomfortable, but it will also allow bacteria that are usually rinsed away by saliva to build up, increasing the risk of cavities of gum disease. Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially if you’re spending time getting sun. 

While the risk of too much sun exposure damaging teeth is low, the lips are another story. Lip skin is sensitive and can easily burn, and they’re often bypassed while applying sunscreen. Giving your lips some love with a lip balm with an SPF of 15 higher before heading outdoors, and several times during, can lower the risk of lip, skin, or oral cancer. 

The best way to celebrate National Sunscreen Day and protect your oral and overall health is to pledge to wear sunscreen every time you’ll be outside, even when it’s not necessarily sunny. When it comes to oral health specifically, make sure to see your dentist in Sparks at least twice a year for regular checkups. These visits can help monitor overall oral health and catch any potential problems such as lip or oral cancer early when they’re easy to treat, often successfully. 

If you or members of your family have been itching, sniffling, and sneezing lately, allergies may be to blame. In fact, a recent study shows that allergies may be starting earlier and be more severe than ever before. This could mean that more and more people are experiencing the side effects of high pollen counts, which is unpleasant in and of itself. But your dentist in Sparks also wants you to know that allergies can also cause the body to react in such a way that could increase the risk for cavities and other dental problems. 

Mucky Mucus & Mouth Breathing

We’ve all experienced the surge of mucky mucus thanks to seasonal allergies. No matter how unpleasant this feeling is, it’s important to know that it’s a natural response. When we come in contact with an allergen, the body will overproduce mucus, which in turn will cause a stuffy nose. This can make it hard to breathe properly out of the nose, causing us to breathe from the mouth. While the intake of oxygen is sure to please the body, the mouth may disagree. 

Why is Mouth Breathing a Bad Thing? 

While allergies themselves don’t necessarily directly cause oral health problems, the symptoms can, such as mouth breathing due to a buildup of mucus and a stuffy nose. When we breathe out of our mouths instead of our noses, our mouths dry out faster than normal. Dry mouth is caused by a lack of saliva, and a healthy mouth needs saliva in order to stay healthy. Without it, bad bacteria can linger around and cause bad breath, wear away at protective tooth enamel, cause cavities, and can even result in gum disease. Additionally, and not necessarily related to allergies, mouth breathing while sleeping can be a sign of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a serious condition that can cause someone to stop breathing during sleep, sometimes several times a night. Signs of mouth breathing that should be reported to your dentist in Sparks include snoring and abrupt awakenings. 

Tooth Pain

As if the overproduction of mucus potentially contributing to cavities concerns wasn’t enough, this mucus can also cause pain. An excessive amount of mucus can put pressure on the sinuses, which you may feel in your face or head. But this pressure can also extend to the maxillary sinuses, a nearby neighbor to the roots and nerves of the back teeth. When the maxillary sinuses are inflamed, it can put pressure on those nearby tooth nerves and cause discomfort. 

Allergy Medicine Can Help… And Hurt

Anyone suffering from allergies, or who has a child dealing with the symptoms, will often turn to allergy medication to alleviate the uncomfortable side effects of a flare-up. While these medications can relieve some of the stuffiness, itchiness, and drippiness, they too can sometimes cause dry mouth. But lucky for you, your dentist in Sparks knows a few tricks that can reduce the likelihood of experiencing negative side effects of dry mouth, such as: 

Allergy season can feel neverending, but we’re here to help. Contact us today to schedule an appointment

Many different things can cause tooth pain, from a cavity to an abscess and anything in between. It’s always wise to see your dentist in Sparks if you’re experiencing pain as it’s typically a sign that something is going on inside your mouth that should be checked out. But one thing that’s often overlooked when it comes to tooth pain is your bite or the way top teeth meet the bottom teeth when biting down. The truth is, a bad bite, or malocclusion can also cause unexplained pain.  

What’s a Bad Bite? 

The way your upper teeth and lower teeth come together when you bite down is an important part of your oral and overall health. After all, proper bite function helps with your ability to chew, swallow, and even breathe. A healthy bite also makes it easier to care for teeth and lowers the risk of enamel erosion and jaw pain. If your upper teeth fall slightly over your lower teeth and the points and grooves in your back molars fit together like a puzzle, chances are you have a good, healthy bite. If they don’t, it’s more likely that you have a bad bite. Bad bites can cause jaw pain, enamel erosion, bad breath, dry mouth, and many other dental problems that will require visits to your dentist in Sparks

Types of Pain Caused by a Bad Bite

While many bad bites have obvious signs, such as “buck teeth” or a lower jaw that protrudes, others aren’t as obvious until there’s pain involved. Some types of pain that may be a sign of a bite include: 

What Causes a Bad Bite

Bad bites are usually considered a problem reserved for kids or teens, but adults can develop bad bites too. Most bad bites are the result of genetics, but others can be contributed to things such as: 

4 Different Types of Bad Bites

Bad bites can present themselves in a variety of ways, but many can be classified into four main types of bad bites. The four different types of bad bites are: 

  1. Underbite – when the lower teeth fall over your top teeth
  2. Overbite – when the top teeth hang out too far over the bottom teeth
  3. Crossbite – when a top tooth, or even several top teeth, fall inside of lower teeth
  4. Open Bite – when the front teeth the molars on top don’t touch those on the bottom

The best way to know for sure if a bad bite is to blame for any pain you have is to see your dentist in Sparks. They’ll talk to you about whether or not a bad bite is causing your pain as well as the best way to alleviate your discomfort.