My Blog

Posts for: March, 2019

By Gary W. Machiko, DMD
March 29, 2019
Category: Uncategorized
Tags: teeth grinding  
3ThingsYouShouldKnowAboutTeethGrinding

Do you grind your teeth? If you're not sure, ask your family—sometimes the sound of teeth grinding against teeth might make enough noise to be keeping them up at night. You might also be waking with sore jaw muscles and joints.

If you suspect you have this habit of involuntarily grinding, gnashing or clenching your teeth, it's a good idea to get it checked. Here are 3 things you should know about this odd habit.

Teeth-grinding more prevalent among children. Children are more likely than adults to grind their teeth in their sleep, thought to be a consequence of their developing swallowing mechanism, but usually grow out of it without any long-term effects. Adults with the habit seem to grind their teeth for different reasons, one of the most significant being a response to high stress. Tobacco could be another factor: users are twice as likely as non-users to grind their teeth. Adult teeth-grinding may also be associated with high caffeine consumption, illicit drug use or Parkinson's Disease, which impairs brain nerve function.

Sleep apnea can be an underlying cause. There's one other major underlying cause to add to that list: obstructive sleep apnea. One international study of thousands of patients from different countries found both high anxiety or stress and sleep-related breathing disorders were two of the most significant risk factors for adult teeth-grinding. It's believed the physical stress generated by these temporary episodes of breathing obstruction occurring several times a night could trigger teeth-grinding.

Teeth-grinding can cause dental problems. While having a teeth-grinding habit doesn't automatically mean you'll have dental issues, your risk can increase dramatically. Due to its chronic nature, teeth-grinding can lead to excessive tooth wear, dental work damage or jaw joint dysfunction. In some extreme cases, it could cause tooth fracture.

If you grind your teeth, your dentist may be able to help by creating a custom-made occlusal guard that can reduce biting forces while you're wearing it. You might also minimize teeth-grinding by quitting tobacco and other lifestyle changes, or getting a better handle on stress management. And if you're also diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, getting treatment for that condition will not only improve your overall health, it could help put an end to your teeth-grinding habit.

If you would like more information on bruxism, 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 “Teeth Grinding: Causes and Therapies for a Potentially Troubling Behavior.”


By Gary W. Machiko, DMD
March 28, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: cosmetic dentistry  

7 Ways Cosmetic Dentistry Can Improve Your Smile

Need a smile makeover? You can beautify your smile with with one or more of the vast array of cosmetic dentistry procedures available Smile-Girltoday. Cosmetic dentistry refers to any dental work used to improve the appearance of a person's smile. Dr. Gary Machiko D.D.S, which is located in Pittsburgh, PA, offers a full range of cosmetic dentistry services. Here are 7 ways cosmetic dentistry can improve your smile.

1. Teeth Whitening

Professional teeth whitening can give you a bright-white smile. Teeth whitening lightens teeth that have been discolored by age and food, or darkened as a result of injury. There are two ways to professionally bleach teeth. For in-office whitening, your dentist will combine teeth whitening gel with a light source to speed up the whitening process. Or, you can be fitted with a custom-made dental tray that you wear for a few hours per day at home. This process can take one to two weeks.

2. Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain veneers can renew your smile with no shots, no drilling and no pain! These wafer-thin, custom-made shells fit over the teeth changing their size, length, and shape. Porcelain veneers are used to fix teeth that are misaligned, worn-down, crooked, chipped or cracked. It's also possible to fix gapped teeth through the use of veneers. The process of applying veneers usually involves two visits to your dentist.

3. Dental Bonding

Dental bonding involves applying a tooth-colored resin material to the surface of your teeth. Bonding is routinely used to repair teeth that are decayed, cracked, discolored, or chipped. Bonding is also used to make the teeth look longer and close gaps between teeth. The procedure is virtually painless and is usually completed in one visit. However, complex cases may require several appointments.

4. Dental Implants.

Missing teeth can be replaced with dental implants. Dental implants are replacement teeth that are attached directly into your jaw. They’re more natural looking and secure than dentures or bridges. The benefits of dental implants include improved appearance, easier eating, improved speech, improved comfort, and durability. Dental implants have made such a difference in the lives of many people. Dr. Machiko in Pittsburg, PA, is also dual degreed, and both his dental degree and his mechanical engineering degree offer his patient's the advantage of precise measurement and placement of their dental implants.

5. Dental Crowns

A dental crown is a tooth-shaped cap your dentist can put on a tooth. Dental crowns can be cosmetic or functional and require more than one trip to the dental office. Crowns are placed over unsightly, weak, and damaged teeth. They're cemented onto your teeth and can only be removed by your dentist. Porcelain crowns are a popular type of crown. They're cosmetically pleasing and provide the best natural color of all the crowns.

6. Cosmetic Fillings

You can have a healthy, natural-looking smile with cosmetic fillings. Cosmetic fillings used to restore decayed, fractured, and worn-down teeth. Cosmetic fillings are the most popular type of fillings, because they blend with natural teeth. Amalgam dental fillings are less popular than cosmetic fillings because of their silvery appearance. Your cosmetic dental filling can be completed in just one office visit. The treatment will be completed quickly and you will leave the same day with your dental filling.


If you've ever wanted a celebrity smile, this is your chance! Start your journey today! Call Dr. Gary Machiko D.D.S., at (724) 719-2866 today to schedule an appointment in Pittsburgh, PA and get the smile you deserve. You will experience exemplary service and world-class care at Dr. Gary Machiko D.D.S.!


By Gary W. Machiko, DMD
March 26, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures

Dental Veneers SmileWhen you think of going to the dentist, you may only imagine root canals and dental fillings. However, your dentist can also help you improve the aesthetic side of your smile with cosmetic dental procedures, such as dental veneers. Find out more about dental veneers, how they work, and how they can enhance the appearance of your smile by reading below, and contact Dr. Gary Machiko in Pittsburgh, PA, if you are interested in undergoing treatment!

What is a dental veneer?
A dental veneer is a thin shell of porcelain which affixes to the surface of a tooth. Made individually for each patient, a veneer covers the tooth’s original appearance to give it a new one. The veneer’s design is based on a clay mold of the mouth, taken by your dentist. A dental technician in a dental lab carefully carves the veneer out of a ceramic block before meticulously color-matching the restoration to the natural teeth which will come to surround it.

Are porcelain dental veneers right for me?
A good candidate for veneers wants to improve the appearance of their smile. Dentists often use veneers to correct various issues, including:

  • Chipped teeth
  • Cracked teeth
  • Discolored teeth
  • Stained teeth
  • Slightly misaligned teeth
  • Slightly gapped teeth

Additionally, candidates should be in good dental health with no signs of tooth decay or gum disease. Patients should also have a strong at-home oral care routine involving brushing at least twice daily, flossing once a day, and regularly attending dental examinations and cleanings. These preventative measures ensure that the teeth remain healthy and clean foundations for veneers.

Porcelain dental veneers from our Pittsburgh office
If you think you could benefit from dental veneers, you should consult with your dentist to ensure that this is the best treatment plan for you. After all, you may find out that other cosmetic procedures, such as teeth whitening or bonding/contouring, may better suit you!

For more information on porcelain dental veneers, please contact Dr. Gary Machiko in Pittsburgh, PA. Call (724) 719-2866 to schedule your consultation today!


By Gary W. Machiko, DMD
March 19, 2019
Category: Oral Health
Tags: gum disease  
StopGumDiseaseBeforeitHarmsYourHealth

If you're over 30 your chances for developing periodontal (gum) disease are better than half. And it's not a minor matter—untreated gum disease can lead not only to tooth loss, but to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and other inflammatory conditions.

Fortunately, we have effective ways to treat gum disease, even in advanced stages. But the best approach by far in avoiding a devastating outcome for your teeth is to prevent gum disease from developing in the first place.

It helps first to know how gum disease begins. The most common cause is dental plaque, a thin biofilm of food particles on tooth surfaces that harbors the bacteria that triggers the disease. If you keep your teeth clean of built-up plaque and tartar (calcified plaque) with daily brushing and flossing and regular dental cleanings, you'll minimize the growth of disease-causing bacteria.

If you don't practice effective oral hygiene, however, within a few days you could develop an initial infection called gingivitis. This form affects the outermost layers of the gums and triggers a defensive response from the body known as inflammation. Ordinarily, inflammation helps protect surrounding tissues from infection spread, but it can damage your gums if it becomes chronic. Your weakened gums may begin to detach from the teeth, forming voids filled with inflammation known as periodontal pockets. Eventually, the infection can spread to the supporting bone and lead to tooth loss.

In addition to a dedicated oral hygiene and dental care program, you should also be on the lookout for early signs of gingivitis. Infected gums can become red, swollen and tender to the touch. You may notice they bleed easily while brushing and flossing, or a foul taste or breath that won't go away even after brushing. And if some of your teeth feel loose or don't seem to bite together as they used to, this is a sign of advanced gum disease that deserves your dentist's immediate attention.

Practicing preventive hygiene is the best way to stop gum disease before it starts. But if gum disease does happen, catching it early can be a game-changer, both for your teeth and your smile.

If you would like more information on preventing and treating gum disease, 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 “How Gum Disease Gets Started.”


By Gary W. Machiko, DMD
March 09, 2019
Category: Oral Health
NBAPlayersInjuryPointsOutNeedforMouthguards

Basketball isn't a contact sport—right? Maybe once upon a time that was true… but today, not so much. Just ask New York Knicks point guard Dennis Smith Jr. While scrambling for a loose ball in a recent game, Smith's mouth took a hit from an opposing player's elbow—and he came up missing a big part of his front tooth. It's a type of injury that has become common in this fast-paced game.

Research shows that when it comes to dental damage, basketball is a leader in the field. In fact, one study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) found that intercollegiate athletes who play basketball suffered a rate of dental injuries several times higher than those who played baseball, volleyball or track—even football!

Part of the problem is the nature of the game: With ten fast-moving players competing for space on a small court, collisions are bound to occur. Yet football requires even closer and more aggressive contact. Why don't football players suffer as many orofacial (mouth and face) injuries?

The answer is protective gear. While football players are generally required to wear helmets and mouth guards, hoopsters are not. And, with a few notable exceptions (like Golden State Warriors player Stephen Curry), most don't—which is an unfortunate choice.

Yes, modern dentistry offers many different options for a great-looking, long lasting tooth restoration or replacement. Based on each individual's situation, it's certainly possible to restore a damaged tooth via cosmetic bonding, veneers, bridgework, crowns, or dental implants. But depending on what's needed, these treatments may involve considerable time and expense. It's better to prevent dental injuries before they happen—and the best way to do that is with a custom-made mouthguard.

Here at the dental office we can provide a high-quality mouthguard that's fabricated from an exact model of your mouth, so it fits perfectly. Custom-made mouthguards offer effective protection against injury and are the most comfortable to wear; that's vital, because if you don't wear a mouthguard, it's not helping. Those "off-the-rack" or "boil-and-bite" mouthguards just can't offer the same level of comfort and protection as one that's designed and made just for you.

Do mouthguards really work? The same JADA study mentioned above found that when basketball players were required to wear mouthguards, the injury rate was cut by more than half! So if you (or your children) love to play basketball—or baseball—or any sport where there's a danger of orofacial injury—a custom-made mouthguard is a good investment in your smile's future.

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