How to Stop Grinding Your Teeth

Teeth grinding, or bruxism, is a common affliction among both children and adults. Many people also tightly clench their jaws, whether consciously or not, as a response to stressful situations or as a habit. Others only clench or grind their teeth against each other at night – and may not even be aware of it until their sleep partner tells them so! Categorized by when the condition occurs, the two different types of bruxism are called “awake bruxism” and “sleep bruxism.” A person may suffer from one or both.

Your cheek is one of the strongest in your entire body, so it stands to reason that putting that much pressure on your teeth and jaw can, over time, cause a lot of issues. When grinding or clenching is done frequently, patients can experience negative repercussions like achy jaws, teeth damage, headaches, neck and head tension, TMJ issues, and much more. Repetitive grinding can literally wear your teeth down to stubs.

From our team at Chauvin Dental in Lafayette, Louisiana, here’s everything you need to know about teeth grinding.

Common Causes of Bruxism

Different people grind their teeth for different reasons, but here are a few of the most common situations we see:

  • Sleep disorders like sleep apnea
  • Missing teeth
  • Usage of certain prescribed medications
  • Stress

Self-Treatment for Bruxism

First, you need to see your dentist to evaluate the damage to your dental health. Together, you can develop a plan to protect your teeth. However, here are some useful tips that anyone can practice to lessen the impact of bruxism on your teeth:

  • If your bruxism is stress-related, you’ll need to decrease stress in your life (which is good for anyone!). You should think about your specific stressors and try to come up with any ideas that can help you to manage or mitigate them.
  • Make an active effort to relax your jaw throughout the day. Set a reminder on your phone to check in and see if you’re tense or holding your stress in your jaw. Separate your teeth and rest your tongue on the back side of your top row of teeth to make sure you’re not clenching.
  • Avoid caffeinated beverages and alcohol, as these can aggravate or worsen your condition.
  • Exercise.
  • Try not to chew on candies, gum, pens, or pencils.
  • Stretch your jaw by opening your mouth as wide as you can.
  • Massage your jaw and face to relieve tightness and tension. You can also use a warm cloth to relax the area.
  • In severe cases, certain prescription medications may help relieve the pain. Ask your dentist if this is an appropriate option for you.

Mouth Guards

If you suffer from sleep bruxism, a mouth guard will likely be an important line of defense for your teeth. Your dentist can professionally fit you for the guard, which you put in each night before bed to protect your teeth from pressure.

Schedule an appointment with Dr. Chauvin today

If you visit your dentist before permanent damage is done to your teeth by bruxism, the chances are very good that you will be able to get things under control and protect your teeth for the future. Don’t let bruxism get the best of you: schedule a visit with Chauvin Dental today!

What to do if my tooth feels loose - dr chauvin lafayette la

What to do if my tooth feels loose

Sometimes, adult teeth can feel a bit loose, which is particularly noticeable when you’re eating or brushing your teeth.

In many cases, this sensation will feel worse in the mornings, and then gradually tighten up during the day. Often, the sensation is completely gone by the next morning.

If your tooth feels loose, it may be tempting to ignore the problem when this occurs, but a loose tooth should never be ignored. It is an indication that there may be a more serious problem.

From the Lafayette office of dentist Tim Chauvin, here’s what you need to know if your tooth feels loose.

What causes loose teeth?

There are a number of dental issues that can cause adult teeth to feel loose.

  • The most common cause is oral trauma. When an impact or other oral trauma occurs, the small periodontal ligaments that hold your tooth roots in place can stretch. Each tooth has thousands of these ligaments lined up all around the root, much like the springs around a trampoline. When these become stretched, the tooth can begin to feel loose.
  • For most adults, this type of oral trauma is usually caused by bruxism, or nighttime tooth grinding. This condition causes you to sleep with your teeth clenched very tightly all through the night. In some cases, you may even grind your teeth back and forth, further stretching the ligaments. This can cause your teeth to feel loose in the mornings.
  • Another common cause of loose teeth is gum disease. When plaque and other deposits begin to develop beneath the gum line, an infection can occur. When left untreated, this infection can destroy gum tissue and damage the periodontal ligaments holding your tooth in place. This will leave them feeling loose and can lead to a number of other dental problems, including eventual tooth loss.

How are loose teeth treated?

The treatment you receive for your loose teeth will depend largely on the cause.

The first step will be to give your tooth some extra support in order to stabilize it. This process is known as splinting and involves placing a small, flexible splint in place in order to keep the tooth from moving. Your dentist will use a special dental cement to bond a small splint on either side of your tooth, anchoring it to the surrounding teeth in order to keep it stable and still. The splint is usually worn for around two weeks in order to give the periodontal ligaments time to heal.

If your loose tooth has been caused by bruxism, you will also be given a special mouth guard to wear at night while you sleep. This will help to cushion your teeth, preventing you from fully clenching your jaws during the night. If you do grind your teeth, they will simply slide back and forth along the smooth material of the mouth guard, preventing the periodontal ligaments from experiencing the stress that caused your tooth to become loose in the first place.

In the case of gum disease, treatment may need to be a bit more extensive. The first step will be to schedule you for a few deep cleaning appointments, during which each quadrant of your mouth will be carefully treated. You will undergo dental scaling and root planing in order to remove the plaque and other deposits that have collected below the gum line. You may also need to undergo a course of antibiotics, and if your periodontal pockets are very deep, they may be filled with a special medication designed to shrink them back down to normal size.

If your tooth is beyond saving, a tooth extraction may be necessary. Once the tooth is removed, you will be given either a dental implant, a dental bridge, or a partial denture to replace the tooth. This keeps the remaining teeth in your mouth from pulling out of their sockets in order to fill the resulting space, protecting your dental health.

Contact our Lafayette dental office today

Struggling with the feeling of a loose tooth? Or dental professionals can take a look and help you “root” out the problem – and give you a solution. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment.

Can a Sinus Infection be Caused by a Tooth?

Can a sinus infection be caused by a tooth?

We all know that sinus infections can be extremely uncomfortable and painful. They bring a host of unpleasant symptoms and are one of the most common infections a person can develop.

In some cases, they are easy to manage by simple home remedies, but in others, they grow serious and require antibiotic intervention. In any case, a sinus infection can be a serious problem and can flare up due to allergies, weather changes, and toothaches. 

Yes, a toothache can lead to sinus infections. Here’s how. 

What is a sinus infection?

Sinusitis or sinus infection is the inflammation of the sinuses that causes them to become blocked and fill up with fluid. More precisely, there are several different cavities in our skulls. Sinuses are a series of compartments located above and below our eyes and behind the nose. When we breathe in, warm and moist air enters the nasal passage, mucosal glands lining within catch any wayward germs, and for the most part, they keep themselves clean. Occasionally, conditions can change enough to allow the growth of bacteria. This is when we get a sinus infection

Symptoms of a sinus infection 

Here are the symptoms of sinus infections.

  • Scratchy throat
  • Runny nose
  • Post-nasal drip
  • Cough
  • Congestion
  • Headache
  • Pain in the forehead, around the eyes, in teeth and jaws

So how can a tooth cause a sinus infection?

Our lower sinus, called the Maxillary sinus, sits very close to the upper jaw. So close, in fact, that if there is an abscess in the teeth or gums, it can actually expand into the sinus. An abscess is a pocket of infection caused by a trapped food particle or a dying tooth nerve. If an abscess reaches your sinus cavity, the infection can spread into the sinuses, causing a sinus infection.

What do I do if I have an abscess causing a sinus infection?

Consult your dentist immediately when you notice any symptoms of the problem. They will need to take the necessary steps to treat the abscess. Often, they may prescribe antibiotics to reduce swelling and curb the sinus infections in the abscess. Depending on its location and type, the abscess may need to be drained or removed. If the abscess starts within a tooth, a root canal will be required. If left too long, the entire tooth may need to be removed.

Once you take care of the abscess, you may visit your primary care physician to resolve the sinus infection. Once the doctor removes the source of infection, it alleviates the symptoms of a sinus infection. Also, most experts on oral hygiene experts go over all the aspects of the problems that have occurred due to abscesses. This indirectly resolves your main concern and helps you live a healthy and peaceful life. 

Bottom Line

Tooth problems are one of the common causes of sinus infection. Fortunately, you can resolve the problem by consulting an experienced and qualified dentist. 

Tim Chauvin, DDS & Associates has a team of qualified experts who have helped many patients improve their oral hygiene. Contact us to determine if tooth problems are impacting your sinus health. 

Note that sinus infections can impact your life significantly. You may have trouble sleeping and completing everyday chores without feeling irritated around your nose, or you might suffer from headaches. So, if you notice any symptoms of infection, visit our clinic. Even if your infection is not related to your tooth, our doctors can guide you.

What to Do With a Chipped Tooth - chauvin dental lafayette la

What to Do With a Chipped Tooth

Biting down on an olive pit or an accidental fall could easily cause a chipped tooth. If your teeth have developed worn enamel, they are more likely to develop chips. Tooth wear, diets heavy in acidic foods and drinks, and poor oral hygiene could also increase your risks for chipped teeth. The good news is that chipped teeth are very treatable. The scope of treatment depends on the severity of damage, however. 

Make a Dental Appointment ASAP

If your teeth chip, it is wise to schedule an appointment with our Lafayette dentist as soon as possible. Some instances of chipped teeth may be a cosmetic concern that might only require a simple bonding treatment but in other cases, it could require the need for root canal therapy or a dental crown if the chip is particularly deep.

Folks who have chipped teeth may be asked to improve their oral hygiene routine. Our dentist might also recommend fluoride treatments at our office or the use of fluoridated mouth rinses/toothpastes at home to help strengthen teeth. 

Save the Piece(s) of Your Tooth if Possible

When a tooth is chipped, sometimes the chipped portion can be bonded back to the tooth. We recommend saving the chipped portion of your tooth whenever possible. Do not place chipped tooth structure in water as it will kill living tissue. Instead, place the chip in milk or Save-A-Tooth solution, which is available at most large pharmacies and supermarkets. When you arrive for your emergency dental appointment, be sure to bring the piece(s) of your tooth with you.

Treatment Options

There are a few approaches a dentist can take to treat a chipped tooth. The type of treatment you receive will depend on your unique circumstances. Larger or deeper chips may require more extensive care than minor chipping.

Cosmetic Bonding

Small chips can be treated with cosmetic bonding treatments. This type of procedure is a minimally-invasive treatment and is similar to receiving a filling. Bonding involves placing a tooth-colored resin over a chipped area. This resin is very durable and will blend in seamlessly with natural tooth structure. 

Dental Crowns

A dental crown is a restoration that covers tooth surfaces above the gum line. Crowns are tooth-shaped, custom-made restorations that can treat deep cracks, chips, and extensive decay. These restorations can be made from a variety of materials including tooth-colored porcelain. Porcelain crowns look and feel like biological teeth, which is ideal for maintaining an aesthetically-pleasing smile. 

Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain veneers are micro-thin cosmetic enhancements that can be used to hide dental imperfections. A veneer could conceal tooth stains, worn teeth, cracks, and chips. Veneers are constructed from porcelain so that they appear very natural looking. Sometimes, patients receive a series of veneers throughout their mouth to achieve a smile makeover. 

If you have developed a chipped tooth, it is important to see a dentist as soon as possible. We can develop a treatment plan that may include restorative or cosmetic procedures once our team has had a chance to examine your dental injury. 

Call our Lafayette dentist office at (337) 234-2186 to schedule an emergency dental appointment.

Invisalign, Teeth Whitening, and Veneers: Everything You Need to Know - chauvin dental lafayette la

Invisalign, Teeth Whitening, and Veneers: Everything You Need to Know

Cosmetic dentistry makes it possible for anyone to transform their appearance. The days of suffering with yellowed, crooked, chipped, and cracked teeth are long gone. Our Lafayette dentist, Dr. Chauvin offers popular cosmetic treatments like Invisalign, professional teeth whitening, and porcelain veneers. 

Invisalign for Straighter Teeth

Invisalign is a revolutionary approach to straightening teeth. Perfect for adults and working professionals, Invisalign allows for discreet and comfortable orthodontic treatment. This teeth-straightening system can close gaps between teeth, upright crooked teeth, and improve a person’s occlusion. Folks with overbites, underbites, and open bites can see an overall improvement in their occlusions. 

Unlike fixed orthodontia that utilizes conspicuous wires and brackets, Invisalign straightens teeth with retainer-like appliances made from clear, smooth plastic. These appliances, called aligners, are custom made to address your unique oral anatomy and the positions of your teeth. 

Since an aligner is clear plastic, it is practically undetectable to others. This means you won’t have to worry about your appearance in photographs or feel like your orthodontic treatment is distracting others as you navigate your professional and social life. 

One major selling point to choosing Invisalign is the fact that your aligners are removable. Since your orthodontic appliances aren’t fixed, you can take them out for meals and to brush and floss your teeth. Another great advantage to Invisalign treatment is the fact that the smooth surfaces of aligners reduce irritation to soft tissue often seen with conventional metal and wire braces.

The best way to determine if this type of orthodontic treatment is right for your needs is to schedule a consultation with a dentist who provides Invisalign. 

Teeth Whitening for a Brighter Smile

Tough dental stains can make you self-conscious of your smile. Since teeth are porous, most people develop discoloration and yellowing of their teeth with time. While proper oral hygiene can address some surface stains, deep discoloration that forms below the enamel surface of teeth requires professional care. 

Our Lafayette cosmetic dentist, Dr. Chauvin offers two safe and effective options to help restore the color of your smile. Our practice provides in-office teeth whitening and take-home whitening kits. Both of these options utilize prescription-strength lightening solutions that can lift away decades of permanent tooth stains. 

In-office whitening is a great option for those who need results fast before an upcoming event or for those with limited time. Take-home whitening is ideal for people who want to touch-up the results of their in-office treatment or for those who prefer to improve their smile in the comfort of their homes. 

Porcelain Veneers for a Total Smile Makeover

Veneers are a great treatment option for producing a complete smile makeover. When patients suffer with a variety of dental imperfections such as tooth wear, chips, cracks, stains, and even orthodontic concerns, our dentist may recommend porcelain veneers. 

A veneer is a wafer-thin cosmetic enhancement that is cemented over the front-facing side of a tooth. Each veneer is handcrafted to very precise specifications to ensure that it complements a person’s oral and facial anatomy. When multiple veneers are placed over teeth, they can produce the illusion of a white, straight, and healthy smile. 

Receiving porcelain veneers is not invasive but it doesn’t require about three office visits. This is because veneers require time to fabricate since they are custom made. 

Achieving the smile of your dreams can be as simple as booking a consultation with our experienced dentist, Dr. Chauvin. Give our practice a call at (337) 234-2186 to reserve your appointment. 

Why do I grind my teeth at night? - dr chauvin lafayette la

Why do I grind my teeth at night?

Osteoporosis and oral health | Lafayette La | Chauvin Dental

Osteoporosis and oral health

Osteoporosis — which literally means porous bone — is a disease that lowers the density of bones in the body, drastically increasing risk of fractures, and because it’s a silent progressive disease, you likely won’t know you have osteoporosis until that first painful fracture occurs. 

It’s a disease that’s largely caused by the loss of a specific hormone, particularly in post-menopausal women and women over 60. 

Not only does this disease impact the bones in your body, it also can negatively affect your oral health

When osteoporosis hits your jawbone, it weakens it, sometimes triggering gum diseases and tooth loss. Even if you wear dentures, osteoporosis can still impact your mouth by disturbing the body ridges that hold your dentures in place. Ask anyone with dentures: Poor-fitting dentures can cause unbearable pain. 

Women are three times as likely than men to suffer from osteoporosis-related oral health problems, and sometimes the very medications that are prescribed to treat osteoporosis have been known to cause issues in your mouth. 

Oral signs of osteoporosis: 

It’s possible that your dentist will notice the first signs of osteoporosis when looking at your X-rays, combined with your medical history and other lifestyle factors, such as smoking, alcohol and caffeine consumption, or lack of exercise. 

Here are some things your dentist might look for: 

  • Loose dentures
  • Bone loss around the jaw and teeth
  • Gum disease
  • Tooth decay

How do you prevent osteoporosis and the oral health impacts that go with it? 

Although hormones play a role in osteoporosis diagnosis, there are some things you can do to help prevent the painful disease or lessen its effects.

These include: 

  • Regular exercise, focusing on weight-bearing activity, like walking, jogging, dancing or weight-lifting.
  • Eat foods that are high in Vitamin D and calcium (i.e. yogurt, cottage cheese, milk, salmon, green vegetables, and more)
  • Avoid heavy alcohol use. 
  • Don’t smoke!

Of course, all of the above should be combined with the steps you take every day to maintain good oral health, including: 

  • Flossing: You can do it in the morning before breakfast, or at night after dinner, as long as you do it at some point every day. 
  • Getting regular cleanings and checkups at your dentist: Have you had a visit with Dr. Chauvin’s office lately? Dental X-rays have proven to be an effective way to see early signs of osteoporosis. 
  • Brushing twice a day. 

Have you gotten a dental X-ray from Dr. Chauvin’s office yet this year? If not, it’s time to schedule your visit! Contact his office today.

How to treat a tongue burn - dr chauvin lafayette la

How to treat a tongue burn

Did you get a little too excited about your piping hot latte? Did that excitement turn into pain when you sipped it too quickly and burned your tongue?


Burning your tongue or mouth with hot food or liquid is often painful, but it’s also pretty common. If it’s not too serious, you can most likely treat the problem at home. 

Here are some things you can do to alleviate the pain: 

  • Rinse your mouth repeatedly with cool water, especially for the first few minutes after it happens. 
  • Try taking an over-the-counter pain reliever, like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil). Tylenol will work well for pain, while Advil will work well for inflammation. Don’t take them both. 
  • If the cool water isn’t helping as much as you’d like, try adding salt to it and rinsing with cool salt water. 
  • Pour a few sprinkles of sugar or a dab of honey on the spot that’s hurting in your mouth. 
  • Suck on ice chips, or eat a popsicle. 
  • Don’t drink anything warm or hot while you’ve got the burn. It will only irritate the spot more. 

A typical tongue burn will usually heal itself within about two weeks, though doctors say it could be up to six weeks for more severe burns. 

How do you know if you need to see a doctor about your mouth or tongue burn? 

If you’ve tried some or all of the above remedies and you’re still in excruciating pain, or you’re showing signs of infection, it’s time to see a doctor.

These symptoms include: 

  • Fever
  • Pus draining from the wound
  • Swelling
  • Increased pain 

Have you heard of Burning Mouth Syndrome? 

In some cases, the sensation of a burning tongue doesn’t come from an actual burn. Burning mouth syndrome is a condition that will make your tongue feel like it’s burning, but for no reason. 

Pain, numbness and tingling without an identifiable cause are all symptoms of burning mouth syndrome. There’s no known cause for the condition, and it most commonly affects people between 60 and 69 years old. 

If you’ve been diagnosed with BMS, here are some things you can do to alleviate the mysterious pain: 

  • Topical prescription pain meds, like lidocaine. 
  • Oral prescriptions, including gabapentin, SSRIs or amitriptyline. 
  • Alpha lipoic acid treatments
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Meditation and relaxation 


Do you still have questions about tongue burns? You can ask your favorite dentist when you schedule your cleaning and checkup at Dr. Tim Chauvin’s office. Contact his office today for an appointment! 

Tooth Sensitivity - dr chauvin lafayette la

Tooth Sensitivity to Cold? To Hot? To Sweets?

Ouch! We’ve all been there. You’re sipping a delicious latte or taking that first scrumptious bite of ice cream, and all of a sudden you feel jarring pain in a tooth or multiple teeth. Or, you’re nibbling on your favorite piece of chocolate when the same kind of pain appears, seemingly out of nowhere. What’s happening?

Not only is tooth sensitivity to hot and cold food, sweets and beverages painful, it’s also a sign of a bigger underlying problem. 


What causes your teeth to be sensitive to hot, cold and sometimes sweet things? 

There are multiple reasons why you might be experiencing the tooth sensitivity and subsequent pain or discomfort. These include: 

  • Erosion of your enamel: Your teeth are covered by enamel, which protects your pearly whites from things that are hot, cold, sticky or rough on your teeth. Over time, the enamel on your teeth can begin to wear down, putting you at risk for tooth decay and exposed nerves that make drinking and eating hot and cold things a very unpleasant experience. Enamel erosion is common as you age, but other contributing factors to losing enamel are a diet that’s too high in sugar, a diet that’s too acidic, or acid reflux.

  • Cavities: Since a cavity essentially is a hole in your tooth or gums, it makes perfect sense that having one would expose sensitive nerves and cause pain when you eat or drink things that are hot, cold or sweet. Often, tooth sensitivity is one of the first symptoms of a cavity. Fortunately, cavities are easy fixes at your dentist’s office.

  • Receding gums: Enamel is your first line of defense, but below that is dentin. Dentin is full of tiny tubes that make you more sensitive to hot and cold sensations. When your gum line is receding, the dentin has a better chance of being exposed, thus amplifying your sensitivity and pain. Receding gums are a sign of gum disease or gingivitis. 


How can you alleviate tooth sensitivity? 

If your tooth pain is caused by a cavity, the only real solution is to visit a dentist and have it filled. That should solve the problem of a sensitive tooth or teeth. The same goes for receding gums and being treated by your dentist for gingivitis or gum disease. 

If enamel erosion is the issue, there are steps you can take on your own to slow the process. These include: 

  • Choosing your toothbrush wisely: If your teeth are feeling sensitive, opt for a soft-bristled toothbrush instead of a medium or hard bristle. 
  • Find a toothpaste that will help to restore your enamel and/or decrease tooth sensitivity. 
  • Don’t brush your teeth too hard! It’s one of the leading causes of tooth decay. 

Whatever the reason for your tooth sensitivity, it’s not a good feeling, and you’ll want to get it taken care of. Contact Dr. Tim Chauvin’s office today for help. 

Overbite correction and treatment_ tim chauvin dental lafayette la

Overbite correction and treatment

Overbite is a condition in which the upper front teeth overlap the lower front teeth. Overbite is not necessarily a bad thing; most people have some degree of overbite. It’s when the overbite is too little or too large that problems may arise. An excessive or large overbite, also called a deep bite, can cause unhealthy teeth wearing, aesthetic concerns, and in some instances even jaw pain.

Types of Overbites

Vertical Overbite – Where the top teeth significantly overlap the bottom teeth.

Horizontal Overbite –  Occurs when the top teeth protrude over the bottom teeth.

How is an Overbite Caused?

The most common cause of an overbite is the shape and/or size of the jaw or the teeth. This could mean having too much room in the jaw area or too little room for accommodation of one’s teeth size.

Other causes for an overbite:

  • Genetics
  • Teeth grinding
  • TMJ
  • Thumb sucking
  • Excessive pacifier use
  • Overuse of bottle
  • Nail biting
  • Chewing on writing utensils

How to correct an Overbite?

Children and Teens

  • Removal of baby teeth (making room for permanent teeth to grow in straight)
  • Growth modification device (used best during growth spurts) – helps to better position the jaw
  • Braces – slowly moves the teeth to correct the overbite as well as the jaw
  • Retainers – device used post-braces that help to keep the teeth in place


  • Braces – move only the teeth to correct an overbite
  • Teeth removal – dentists and orthodontists try to avoid this procedure but will do this in very severe overbite cases to allow the teeth more freedom to move.
  • Surgery – jaw problems for skeletal-type overbites can only be corrected with surgery for adults.


Schedule an appointment today to discuss potential treatment options that may be suitable for you or your loved one.