My Blog

Posts for: May, 2015

By Jeffrey A. Harris, D.D.S.
May 23, 2015
Category: Oral Health

For major-league slugger Giancarlo Stanton, 2014 was a record-breaking year. After the baseball season ended, he signed a 13-year, $325 million contract with the Miami Marlins — the biggest deal in sports history. But earlier that same year, Stanton suffered one of the worst accidents in baseball: He was hit in the face by an 88-mph fastball, sustaining multiple fractures, lacerations, and extensive dental damage.

After the accident, Stanton didn’t play for the remainder of the season. But now he’s back in Spring Training… and he’s got a not-so-secret weapon to help protect him against another injury: A custom-made face guard designed to absorb impacts and keep him from suffering further trauma.

As sports fans, we’re glad that Stanton was able to overcome his injury and get back in the game. As dentists, we’d like to remind you that you don’t have to be a major-league player to feel the harmful effects of a sports injury — and you don’t have to look far to find a way to protect yourself. In fact, you can get a custom-made mouthguard right here at the dental office.

Mouthguards have a long tradition in sports like football, boxing, and hockey. But did you know that far more Americans are injured every year playing “non-collision” sports like basketball, baseball — and even bicycling? And it doesn’t take a major-league fastball to cause a dental injury: The highest incidence of sports-related dental injuries occurs in 15-to-18-year-old males. In fact, about one-third of all dental injuries among children stem from various types of sports activities. These injuries may result in countless hours being lost from school and work, and cost significant sums for treatment and restoration.

Mouthguards have a proven track record in reducing dental and facial injuries: They are capable of absorbing the energy of a blow to the mouth, and dissipating it in a way that prevents damage to facial structures and teeth. But not all mouthguards are created equal: Custom-fabricated mouthguards, which are produced from an exact model of your mouth made right here in the dental office, offer by far the best protection. They fit better and safeguard the teeth more fully than any off-the-shelf or “boil-and-bite” type can. Plus, they’re more comfortable to wear. And let’s face it: No mouth guard can protect your teeth if you don’t wear it.

What’s more, some recent studies indicate that custom-made mouthguards may offer significant protection against concussion. An increasing awareness of the dangers that concussion may pose to athletes is one more reason why we recommend custom-made mouthguards to active people and their families.

To get his face guard, Giancarlo Stanton reportedly went to a specialist sporting-goods manufacturer in Illinois, and paid around $1,000. But you can get a custom-made mouthguard for yourself or your loved ones right at our office for a fraction of that price. And the peace of mind it can give you is… priceless.

If you have questions about custom-made mouthguards, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “An Introduction to Sports Injuries & Dentistry” and “Athletic Mouthguards.”

By Jeffrey A. Harris, D.D.S.
May 08, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures

The term “makeover” is a powerful word in today’s society. It’s used for a variety of things — hair, body, lawn — that need more than a different style, a little toning or some new shrubs. A makeover is a transformation, replacing the dissatisfying status quo with something new and dynamic.

Your smile and its various components — teeth, gums, jaw structure and facial features — might also be a candidate for a makeover. This involves more than just a few modifications. It’s the answer to a smile we avoid showing in photos, cover with our hand when we’re speaking or laughing, or makes us feel older than we really are. In other words, it’s a comprehensive change to a smile that inhibits us from fully expressing ourselves in our friend, family or career relationships.

Of course, for any makeover to succeed, it must follow a plan. A smile transformation is no different. The process begins with what we call a “smile analysis”: a comprehensive examination that determines the exact condition of your entire mouth. This enables us to identify problems and defects, understand how they interact with your other facial features, and then recommend a treatment plan that effectively addresses these issues.

The plan isn’t complete, though, without your input. You may want a complete renovation — to restore missing teeth or change their shape, color and brilliance. On the other hand, you may be more comfortable with a few subtle changes, perhaps even keeping slight imperfections that you see as part of the real “you.” Whichever path you take, the end result is a smile that makes you happy, and proud to show to others.

The various techniques and materials available through cosmetic or restorative dentistry can turn any disappointing smile into a beautiful one. Your journey to that newer, brighter smile begins with your next dental visit.

If you would like more information on smile makeovers through restorative or cosmetic dentistry, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “The Impact of a Smile Makeover.”

By Dr. Jeffrey Harris
May 05, 2015
Category: Dental Appliances
Tags: Night Guards  

Sleep ApneaFind out if a night guard could save your teeth from constant wear and tear.

If you are dealing with any of the conditions below and don’t already have a night guard, it’s time to find out how wearing a custom-made night guard from your Warrenton dentist could protect your smile.

Sleep Apnea

Those with sleep apnea experience obstructed breathing with asleep. This can happen hundreds of times in one night and causes the person to stop breathing. Many times people don’t even know that they have sleep apnea; however, if you are a loud snorer who also notices exhaustion upon waking and daytime sluggishness then sleep apnea could be to blame.

While CPAP machines deliver oxygen to your airways and make sure to keep passages open for you to breathe properly while asleep, some patients don’t always find the relief that they are looking for. For those with milder to more moderate forms of sleep apnea, your Warrenton dentist can offer a night guard, which helps to keep your tongue forward while you sleep so it won’t obstruct your airways.


TMJ, which stands for temporomandibular joint disorder, is a condition that affects how the joints or muscles of the jaws function. Certain actions can be painful and your jaw may feel sore or achy. Those with TMJ may experience headaches upon waking and also hear a popping or grating sound when they open and close their jaws. While some characteristics of TMJ and bruxism might sound similar, they are different and therefore need to be treated differently.

While TMJ can benefit from wearing a night guard at bedtime, these oral appliances are a bit different than the one you would wear for bruxism. These guards are custom-made to reposition your jaw and bite to help alleviate pain and jaw-related discomfort.


Also referred to as teeth grinding, this nasty little habit can be hard to control, especially if you are doing it while you’re asleep. If you grind your teeth long enough, however, your teeth will begin to wear down. This can damage enamel and make teeth more damage-prone. Therefore, if your Warrenton dentist has noticed signs of teeth grinding, then you will most likely benefit from wearing a night guard.

If you suffer from relentless teeth grinding while you sleep, or are dealing with any of these other problems, then it's time to protect your smile with a night guard. Contact your Warrenton dentist, Dr. Jeffrey Harris, to find out more about night guards and whether they are right for you.