Why Do We Grind Our Teeth?


Grinding your teeth occasionally is fairly common for most people. The medical name for this is called bruxism and it normally doesn’t cause too much damage to our teeth. When teeth grinding becomes a more ongoing and regular habit, that is when complications tend to arise. Read on for the most common teeth grinding causes and what to do about it.

Why We Grind Our Teeth

Contrary to what you might think, teeth grinding actually occurs mostly while you’re asleep. A number of factors play into why we actually grind our teeth, with the most common reasons being stress and anxiety. Other factors include an abnormal bite (overbite, underbite, or lack of), or crooked or missing teeth. Those with common sleep disorders should be aware that grinding can be a result of sleep apnea as well.

How to Know if You’re Grinding Your Teeth

Since most teeth grinding happens during your non-waking hours (during sleep), then it can be difficult to determine when you’re doing it. Some common symptoms of bruxism include a dull, but chronic headache, sore jaw, or excessive wear on your teeth. If you live with a partner, then they may also be able to tell you if you are grinding your teeth in your sleep.

Harmful Effects of Teeth Grinding

If you are concerned about possible teeth grinding, then it’s important to speak with your dentist. They can examine your teeth and jaw for signs of wear and tenderness to see if you have been chronically grinding your teeth. Teeth grinding can upset normal sleep cycles and prevent your body from proper rest. Chronic bruxism can fracture or loosen teeth, wear your teeth down, cause damage to the jaw joint, or even cause your teeth to fall out. In extreme cases, this can cause the need for root canals, implants, bridges, crowns, or even partial or complete dentures. In the most extreme cases, grinding your teeth can cause or worsen a condition called TMJ and alter your facial appearance or shape.

How to Stop Grinding Your Teeth

The most immediate way to prevent damage to your teeth during sleep is by going to the dentist and getting a mouth guard. This will protect your teeth from grinding and, in the case of TMJ, some guards can help to keep your jaw aligned.

If stress and anxiety are the root teeth grinding causes, then finding productive outlets is the most important factor for reducing this issue. Some great options for stress management include therapy, exercise, physical therapy, meditation, and, in some cases, a prescription for muscle relaxants may be necessary.

For those suffering from sleep disorders, it is important to dedicate time to addressing your sleep disorder with a professional in order to reduce or eliminate your teeth grinding habit.

A few other ways you can help to reduce your teeth grinding include avoiding alcohol, cutting back on caffeine, avoiding chewing gum, help your jaw muscles relax by holding a warm washcloth against your cheek on your jaw, and train yourself not to clench or grind your teeth.

Teeth grinding causes can be intimidating issues to tackle, but with the proper assistance from professionals, you can gain control over this issue. Through sufficient management efforts and the right help, your teeth grinding can be minimized or even a thing of the past. To gain control of your teeth grinding, contact Eastlake Dentistry today.

About Dr. San Aye Tin: An esteemed dentist for over 10 years, Dr. San Aye Tin completed her D.D.S. degree at the Northwestern University Dental School. With extensive cosmetic and dental implant training, Dr. San Aye Tin helps patients to gain peace of mind and happiness through healthier teeth and wellbeing.

Top Foods that Naturally Whiten your Teeth

Top Foods that Naturally Whiten your Teeth

Most people know what foods will stain their teeth but not many know that there are foods you can eat that can work to naturally whiten teeth. So,what are the foods that whiten your teeth?


Strawberries have a bright red hue but there is no need to worry that they will stain your teeth red. In fact, it is quite the opposite. The malic acid found in strawberries actually works as a natural astringent to clean your teeth. Eating strawberries can help remove discolored areas on your teeth as you eat them. If you like, you can also mash up a strawberry and put it on your toothbrush!

Seeds and Nuts

Aside from being full of nutritional value, raw unsalted nuts and seeds can be good for your teeth as well. The abrasive texture will help to exfoliate your teeth removing stains from them.


Although onions do not improve your breath, they can improve the look of your teeth. The Sulphur compounds that are in onions can protect your teeth from plaque forming on them. Onions that are cooked will not work but eating them raw in a salad will provide a tooth whitening effect.


The crunchy texture of apples helps to strengthen your gums and the high-water content produces saliva. The extra saliva helps to wash away bacteria that may otherwise discolor your teeth.

Baking Soda

You can brush your teeth with baking soda which acts as a bleaching agent. It will take off plaque and surface stains from your teeth.

Celery and Carrots

As well as being healthy because of the high-water content, these veggies are among the best foods that whiten your teeth. The water will wash away food debris and the crunch will also help to strengthen your gums.


Broccoli is a coarse food that is high in fiber. Coarse foods will scrub your teeth as you chew them.


Hard cheeses are packed with calcium which helps to strengthen your teeth and gums. A milk protein in cheese called casein also reduces the loss of minerals from tooth enamel.


The flesh of oranges works to neutralize acids in your mouth that cause tooth decay. An orange a day does not keep the dentist away but it does help in keeping your smile bright and white.


As well as keeping you hydrated, water helps to clean your teeth. If you are eating foods or drinking beverages known to stain your teeth, such as red wine or coffee, drink some water as well to clean away the agents that cause staining. It is best to drink still water; sparkling water can erode your tooth enamel and will harm your teeth.


This crisp fruit will also neutralize acids in your mouth. Enjoy it on its own or toss some in a salad for an added crunch.

Milk and Yogurt

Lactic acid and calcium found in milk and yogurt will help strengthen your teeth and will also help to whiten them.


Pineapple contains a compound called bromelain which has anti-inflammatory and cleansing properties. Bromelain is an effective ingredient in stain-removing toothpaste so eating raw pineapple will brighten up your teeth naturally.
While there are foods that whiten your teeth, it is still important to maintain a proper tooth care regimen as recommended by your dentist. Eating these foods are not a substitute for regular brushing and flossing.

If you are interested in more teeth whitening solutions, contact Eastlake Dental in the San Diego area.  Our team of professionals can offer expert advice on getting your teeth cleaner and whiter!

What is TMJ?


If you are noticing some strange symptoms in your mouth, face and neck area, you may be suffering from a TMJ disorder. And if you have been diagnosed with this disorder, then you know the symptoms all too well.

First, What is TMJ?

TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, which is a complex bi-articular joint located on the sides of your head. Working with your muscles, ligaments, discs and bones, this joint makes it possible for you to speak, chew and yawn.
This joint lies between your upper and lower jaw, and is divided into two compartments which provide both rotation and translation. The majority of translation is the upper compartment and the rotation happens in the lower compartment. A thick lubricating fluid known as “synovial fluid” fills both compartments. The two compartments are separated by the disc, or meniscus, which absorbs the forces of chewing like a cushion.

At times, that disc between the maxilla and mandible can become dislocated or out of alignment. This can lead to temporomandibular disorders (TMD). These disorder can lead to a great deal pain and discomfort because this joint controls such a large part of your face.

Causes of Temporomandibular Disorders

There are a few different factors that can cause the TMJ to stop working correctly. According to the American Dental Association, more than 15% of adults suffer from chronic facial pain, such as jaw pain, headaches or earaches. The cause of most of this pain is TMD.

  • Injury to your jaw, head or neck
  • Stress, when it causes you to clench or tighten your facial muscles or jaw
  • Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis in the TM joints
  • Grinding or clenching your teeth
  • Dislocating the disc between the ball of socket of the joint

Most problems with TMJ comes from issues with your jaw muscles or parts of the joint itself. It most commonly occurs in people aged from 20 to 40, and can either be temporary or last for years.

Symptoms of TMJ Disorders

There are a host of symptoms when it comes to TMJ disorders. You may have TMD is you have the following:

  • Pain in your neck, face or shoulders when you speak, chew or open your mouth
  • You cannot easily open your mouth
  • Your jaw locks
  • Grating, clicking or popping sounds when opening or closing your mouth
  • Discomfort biting or chewing
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Neck aches, toothaches or headaches
  • Hearing loss, earaches or dizziness

Diagnosing TMJ Disorders

If you are suffering from any of the symptoms mentioned above, your dentist can make a diagnosis. He or she will check for tenderness or pain in your temporomandibular joints, examine your bite, check for a limited range of motion in your jaw and see if your jaw locks. They will also listen for clicking or popping sounds as you open and close your mouth. If needed, a panoramic X-ray may need to be taken.

If you are diagnosed with a TMJ disorder, the treatment plan will depend on the symptoms. Your dentist may have you start using a night guard or splint. You could have corrective treatment done to your teeth or have transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) performed. Surgery is usually the last resort, and it’s a good idea to get two or three professional opinions before doing so. In the meantime, while your treatment is working, your dentist will probably talk to you about using low-grade pain medications, ibuprofen, to manage any pain or discomfort. You should also eat soft foods and avoid and strenuous lifting.

So, what is TIMJ? First and foremost, a TMJ disorder should be treated as soon as possible and should be taken seriously. Hopefully, the treatment plan your dentist comes up with for you will help fix this disorder.

Eastlake Dentistry has a mission to get you the smile you have always desired. We provide outstanding dental services, like teeth cleaning, whitening, TMJ treatment, and more! Our dedicated team of dental professionals will provide you with exceptional service and highly personalized dental treatment.

Why Do Wisdom Teeth Grow?


Wisdom teeth, also officially (and appropriately) named “third molars”, are the third and final set of teeth that develop on both sides of the upper and bottom teeth.  They typically come in during mid- to late-puberty, between the ages of 17 to 25.  Patients can have anywhere from just one to all four wisdom teeth come in and there are even a handful of people who never get their wisdom teeth. But why do wisdom teeth grow?

Wisdom teeth are commonly known to cause many potential problems in the mouth.  The most common problem is when the path of the wisdom tooth is blocked, causing it to become “stuck” or what is medically known in the dentistry world as “impaction”.  Impactions can cause damage to the jaw bone and the adjacent teeth, as well as potential inflammation and infections in the gums surrounding the wisdom tooth.  For some lucky patients, they may have enough room and the teeth may come in straight and everything can work just fine.  However, even if they do come in fine, they can be difficult to clean and keep free from bacteria and plaque since they are located so far back in the mouth.

For all of the reasons above, this is why, according to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, an estimated 85% of wisdom teeth are extracted.

If wisdom teeth cause so many problems, why do wisdom teeth grow in the first place?

It is believed that wisdom teeth are the result of our ancestors and the evolution of the human body over the years.  Early humans had a very different diet than that of today.  Their diet consisted of uncooked and hard items (such as nuts and roots).  It is believed that they had larger mouths to accommodate these extra teeth so provide for better eating efficiency and for a larger surface for grinding up of food.  Over time, our diets have changed.  Thus, we as humans have evolved and our mouths are much smaller, with a shorter lower jaw.  However, despite this physical evolution in humans over the years, the wisdom teeth remained.

Thus, you can see why a smaller mouth left with the task of accommodating 32 instead of 28 teeth can cause a lot of problems.

The Importance of regular dental exams

It is important that you visit your dentist regularly.  It is recommended to see your dentist once per year for a check-up and get your teeth cleaned at least two times per year.  During your dental exam, your dentist can take a full oral X-ray to determine whether or not your wisdom teeth are present and if they may present a problem.  Not all wisdom teeth need to come out and not all require surgery.  It simply depends on your mouth and teeth, whether the wisdom teeth are impacted, and how they are coming in.  Your dentist can go over your particular circumstances with you and the best options for preventing any problems that may arise from your wisdom teeth.

If you have questions about why wisdom teeth grow and are located in Chula Vista or the surrounding San Diego County, contact Eastlake Dentistry.  At Eastlake Dentistry, we can help you with all of your dental care needs, including evaluation about your wisdom teeth and possible tooth extraction.

Get Dental Implants in Time for the Holidays

Many people who have missing teeth in their feel insecure about how they look. If you’re part of that category, you don’t have to be anymore thanks to dental implants. If you dread seeing your beloved friends and family members during the holiday season each year due to your missing teeth, dental implants can instill a newfound confidence in you. With dental implants, you can regain the gorgeous smile you’ve missed.

Not only can dental implants replace missing teeth and closely match the rest of the teeth in the mouth, but they also provide some other convenient benefits. They encourage jaw bone preservation, for one. These implants also minimize the chances of bone loss later in life. If you’re searching for a long-term solution for missing teeth, dental implants might just be the perfect choice for you. If you’ve just had teeth removed, dental implants are a possibility for you.

Make the most of the upcoming holidays with a beautiful smile courtesy of dental implants.

Talk to a reputable dentist before you decide whether or not dental implants are suitable for you. With dental implants, you can take control of your self-esteem and attitude about how you look. Contact our implant dentist to schedule a consultation. Call us at (619) 656-3100.

Why Consider Teeth Whitening?

Many people are opting for over the counter teeth whitening products such as mouthwash, toothpaste, and whitening strips to improve their appearance. Although a whiter smile can quickly bolster self-confidence, most of these readily available whitening products provide only temporary results. Like any other medical treatment, San Diego teeth whitening procedures are most effective when administered by an experienced healthcare provider. Dental offices provide teeth whitening services along with several other cosmetic dentistry options that are designed to improve your appearance as well as oral health.

Choosing to have teeth whitening performed by a qualified professional affords patients the assurance of expert results. Not only are the professional grade treatments more effective than store bought alternatives, but the application is also more precise.

The industrial strength options are more resistant to the damaging effects of certain foods and beverages that can decay tooth enamel and cause discoloration over time. In addition, only a dental professional is able to ascertain the best course of action for teeth whitening and other cosmetic dentistry options. They are able to review patient history and make an accurate assessment based on specific characteristics and relevant habits of the dental patient.

If you are interested in having a brighter and sophisticated smile then now is the time to meet with the teeth whitening Chula Vista specialist patients choose most. Reach out to our dental office online or over the phone to learn about your options and schedule an appointment. Call us at (619) 656-3100.

Why Dental Implants Are the Best Tooth Replacement Solution

Dental Implants San DiegoAs far as the aggravation of staring at a gap in your smile goes, the actual pain that your body goes through is something you will never forgive yourself for. Missing teeth is not only an issue that elderly people encounter in today’s society. Studies show that more than 30 million people in the United States have a missing or broken tooth. Fortunately, dental implants can masterfully replace a tooth, restore a smile and preserve long-lasting oral health results.

Dental patients find it peculiar when they realize that dental implants are one of the most prestigious tooth replacement options that have played a huge role in cosmetic dentistry for decades. Dental implants come in different shapes and sizes to match with a patient’s smile. However, the ultimate goal is to provide a permanent tooth replacement with a titanium anchor that acts as a natural tooth root to stimulate natural bone growth.

Dental Implants Growing in Popularity

When dental implants are in place they look, feel and function exactly like a normal tooth. It is considered a superior solution over dentures or bridges as these patients eventually will find a need for a full-time solution to prevent further tooth loss. The reason why dental implants are growing in popularity is known by dentists as the best solution to avoid additional health issues such as tooth loss and deterioration of the jawbone. Empty spaces in the mouth ultimately make the gums, neighboring teeth and underlying structure diminish.

Since it is estimated that about 63 percent of all American adults are missing more than one tooth, dental implants provide peace of mind for those who are in danger of losing bone tissue. According to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, 3 million people have one or more dental implants; and the number is expected to grow by half a million annually.

Caring for Dental Implants

Candidates for dental implants will be evaluated to determine if they can benefit from the procedure by a trustworthy dentist San Diego patients select the most. If you are one of the patients who benefit from dental implants, then proper care will ensure their permanent function in a healthy smile. The most successful way to preserve the strength of dental implants is to maintain excellent oral hygiene which includes:

  • Brushing and flossing daily

  • Scheduling regular dental appointments for professional cleaning

  • Following dentist’s postoperative care instructions

Contact a Dental Implants San Diego Specialist

Dental implants offer multiple advantages over traditional tooth replacement options and more importantly, they preserve a patient’s natural tooth structure. Consider scheduling a consultation with a top dental implants San Diego dentist that patients prefer and contact our specialist’s office at (619) 656-3100.


Does Anything Happen if I do not Have My Wisdom Teeth Removed?

wisdom tooth pain

Your dental health means a great deal to us and when you take our advice the chances are that your smile will live longer and brighter. All too often, San Diego residents question the need for wisdom tooth extraction in young adults and while it is arguable that wisdom teeth may not give you problems in the present. However, wisdom teeth are an issue when they are misaligned or partially erupt to the surface of the gums. Not every patient may need their wisdom teeth removed, but they can develop moderate to severe health issues if extraction is not performed.

For patients who may not know what they are, wisdom teeth are the third molars located in the upper and lower teeth at the back of our mouths. These teeth are typically the last to develop and usually grow in an awkward position and do not serve a purpose for a fully functional set of teeth. A cosmetic dentist San Diego will analyze and review a patient’s jaw structure in order to prevent impacted teeth from emerging or causing issues from a firmly rooted jaw bone. We believe that it is better for our patients to undergo wisdom tooth extraction before the age of 25 in order to prevent the following issues:


Many patients if not all patients have smaller mouths and jaws compared to previous generations, which do not allow enough room for a third molar to grow and rest properly. If the teeth do erupt on their own, overcrowding will occur and the patient’s teeth will begin to shift or overlap each other. Thus, wisdom teeth eruption will force continued orthodontic care to adjust the shift in teeth.

Impacted Wisdom Teeth

When wisdom teeth are impacted they are pretty much trapped below the gum line. Impacted wisdom teeth can be painful in patients and make them more prone to abscess and infection. Thus, the longer that impacted teeth remain in the gums is the higher potential of decay in healthy teeth.

Tooth Decay

It is possible for wisdom teeth to grow properly in place with the rest of a patient’s teeth, but the location they are in makes proper dental hygiene more difficult. The extra teeth can lead to significant growth of bacteria in the back of the teeth which will require extraction later in life. Full-grown wisdom teeth will require close monitoring since wisdom teeth are subject to decay.

What is A Wisdom Tooth Abscess?

As mentioned before, if a patient does not act and remove wisdom teeth, they are likely to develop what is known as an abscess. An abscess develops when bacteria in the mouth are able to access the tooth’s pulp and create an infection that spreads to the bone and throughout the body. Wisdom teeth themselves are particularly more susceptible to abscesses because it is far more difficult to keep the rearmost location of the jaw free of any bacteria. This makes all the more reason to consult with a cosmetic dentist in San Diego.

According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, 90 percent of dental patients experience at least one impacted wisdom tooth, which should be extracted at an early age of adulthood. Wisdom tooth extraction by an oral surgeon, especially during teenage years is recommended because the roots in wisdom teeth are shorter and not solidified, which minimizes pain and discomfort. Additionally, younger dental patients will recover more quickly following the extraction procedure.

For the most trusted wisdom tooth extraction San Diego residents choose most often, schedule a consultation at East Lake Dentistry.

How to Feel Comfortable Eating with Your Partial Dentures

A woman is smiling while being at the dentist

A partial denture is a great way to keep your smile wholesome and protect your remaining teeth. On the other hand, patients feel skeptical when they think about trying to eat with partial dentures. For some it is almost as difficult as learning how to ride a bike in the initial stages. The looks of partial dentures are natural, but when trying to eat like you normally would you realize it is not the same. Yes, it does take some time to get used to them but we will help you learn how to eat comfortably again.

Dentures are generally known as a full set of teeth for patients who need replacement of the upper or lower dentures. The partial denture is used to replace multiple teeth in a patient who has some healthy teeth remaining in the upper or lower denture. The purpose of having partial dentures is to support continued health of the other permanent teeth by replacing the lost tooth or multiple teeth. A partial denture can be removed or permanently fixed in place. If a denture is fixed in place then there is likely to be a struggle period in learning how to eat with a partial denture in place.

A removable partial denture is easy to remove and replace at the patient’s leisure. However, many people are required to wear them in order to properly break and chew food.

Like many other things in life, eating with your partial dentures is like having an acquired taste. Like all acquired tastes, it requires time, patience and practice. At first many patients describe the feeling of dentures as having their lips pushed forward or teeth feeling too big for their mouth. Leaving your partial denture in while chewing can be accomplished as long as you remember to follow rules:

  • Avoid biting with front teeth. Push food back to the side and chew slowly.

  • Cut up food in smaller pieces than normally used to and try chewing on both sides.

  • Interchange between liquid diet and soft foods until gums grow stronger.

  • Avoid eating sticky foods or candy, as they are likely to stick to your dentures.

  • Removable partials should be soaked overnight to maintain the soft plastic pliable and maximize the lifespan of your denture.

Dentures and partial dentures are built to last. As per the study from the International Journal of Prosthodontics, the official journal of the International Society for Maxillofacial Rehabilitation, the survival rate of removable partial dentures following a retrospective study showed approximately 90 percent of oral service following 10 years of use. As long as you take proper care of your teeth and your dentures you will live comfortably with them for years to come.

Growing accustomed to your partial dentures is not as difficult as others make it out to be. Partial dentures provide you with years of a pleasant smile, easy-speaking and eating with little to no-adjustments. If you have any questions regarding your need for partial dentures then schedule a consultation to learn how to eat with them properly.

Three Things You Should Know About Wisdom Teeth Extraction


Wisdom teeth extraction is a process that most people need to go through at some point in their lifetime. Wisdom teeth are the upper and lower third molars located at the very back of our mouths, which are the last to develop. Unfortunately, there are some patients who experience pain or discomfort due to misalignment or symptoms of impacted wisdom teeth. When a third molar is known as impacted, it ultimately means that the tooth will not grow out straight with the other teeth or it may half emerge.

Plenty of patients have heard their fair share of urban legends about the subject of wisdom teeth extraction and pass along this information without any professional background to prove their claim. If you or your child is going through the experience of wisdom teeth, there are at least three things you should know that will help you prepare for teeth removal.

Why is Wisdom Teeth Extraction Done?

It may seem like there is plenty of room for extra teeth to grow, but your oral surgeon or dentist may still recommend wisdom tooth extraction to keep from infection or shifting other teeth. Other reasons for removal include, gum pain, impaction, gum disease and decay of wisdom teeth. Improper eruption of wisdom teeth can also result in damage of the jawbone and development of a cyst which may later become infected.

When Can I Eat Again?

For the first 24 to 48 hours after wisdom teeth removal, only soft foods are recommended for consumption. It should not be a surprise to patients that use of a straw is not allowed for week minimum following oral surgery, as the suction of a straw can dislodge the blood clot around the wound and lead to prolonged bleeding and extend a patient’s healing time.

How Long is the Recovery Period?

After having wisdom teeth pulled, pain and swelling is likely to occur, which is why some oral surgeons recommend taking one to two days off from any activity until the gum lining heals after the initial phase. Your dentist or oral surgeon will recommend a prescription for pain relievers that relieve the pain. With respect to time, wisdom tooth extraction recovery may vary from one day to about a week of rest, but most patients can resume to normal activity after the first day of extraction. To keep the process simple and free of discomfort, we encourage applying ice packs to reduce pain and swelling, use only prescription medications, and clean the mouth with simple salt water.

Unfortunately, there is not a preventive procedure that can keep teens and adults from this oral surgery. Researchers recently discovered that there may be a possible form of prevention of wisdom tooth development in the lower jawbone. Results from an epidemiological study, published in the Journal of American Dental Association, suggests that injecting anesthesia in the gums of young children can stop tooth buds from growing in the lower wisdom teeth. Although it is hypothesized that this process can be a valid approach to prevent oral surgery, there must be further review before oral surgeons can declare this method safe for our youth.

If you want to learn more about wisdom tooth extraction in San Diego, schedule a consultation with our experienced cosmetic dentist at Eastlake Dentistry.