Category Archives: Common Concerns

Recovery Bruxism: Dental Teeth Grinding Solutions

Recovery Bruxism: Dental Teeth Grinding Solutions

“Bruxism is teeth grinding, and it is a fairly common condition,” says Dr. Jamie Alexander, the Recovery Dentist in Boynton Beach, FL. “It affects between 8% and 31% of the population. The percentage has varied across studies, so let’s estimate an average of 14.5% of the population is likely to be bruxing. Both daytime and nighttime bruxism can lead to a number of health problems, including tooth wear and fractures, periodontal disease, and headaches. More people brux at night than during the day. And, bruxism has been found to occur more under stress and when the individual has malocclusion (a poor bite). Studies have indicated that smoking and large alcohol consumption increases sleep bruxism. And, because many of my patients are experiencing stress and smoke cigarettes during the early months and years of alcohol and drug addiction recovery, I am especially attentive to the bruxism problem.”

A recent review of studies linking increased risk of bruxism to alcohol, tobacco, and coffee consumption was published in 2016 (Journal of the American Dental Association, November 2016, Vol. 147:11, pp. 859-866). Dr. Bertazzo-Silveira and colleagues used multiple search databases to compile a list of studies that evaluated the topic. They looked for case studies of adult patients and excluded ones in which patients had a neuromuscular disease or were taking medication.

Quitting Drinking for Teeth Grinding Solutions

Reviewing 818 studies, these researchers selected seven studies where outcomes revealed a link between both smoking and alcohol use. They discovered that both tobacco and heavy alcohol use increased the risk of a participant showing signs of sleep bruxism. In addition, the studies that investigated the link between sleep bruxism and alcohol and tobacco showed only low to moderate signs of bias.

“The intake of large quantities of alcohol in a short period results in toxic effects on the brain and also may be related to the CNS [central nervous system] disturbance that could set off or exacerbate [sleep bruxism],” the authors wrote. “In addition … [sleep bruxism] was significantly more prevalent among smokers. Possible explanations were that nicotine may affect the smoker’s pain response centrally or that tobacco use may reduce the blood supply to tissues.”

Dr. Bertazzo-Silveira and colleagues also found that participants who consumed more than 8 cups of coffee per day were more likely to have possible sleep bruxism. However, the research supporting this finding was relatively weak, especially compared with the studies on alcohol and tobacco.

The authors of the 2016 study were concerned that the studies they reviewed might not have been randomized or representative of a large, diverse population. Also, some of the included studies are more than 40 years old. But, what they found is still important to dentists like Jamie J. Alexander of Boynton Beach, FL, who works with patients in recovery, because these patients have a high incidence of the signs and symptoms of bruxism.

Quitting Smoking for Teeth Grinding Solutions

“Our dental patients, who are in recovery from alcohol addiction and other substances, may be locked in cycles of nicotine addiction. Even though they try to quit smoking, it is more difficult for them dues to their genetic makeup,” says Dr. Alexander. “Continued smoking presents a grave potential for a damaging degree of teeth grinding. If we restore the teeth and the patient still smokes, we need to take preventive measures to shield the teeth from the potential wear and tear of bruxism. The patient has gone through a lot to be in recovery and maintain abstinence. The patient has gone through a lot to return to a normal life without alcohol or drug abuse. And, the patient has invested a lot in restoring their oral health and smile. The last thing we want to happen is premature wear on their valuable dental restorations and unrestored teeth. This is why I fit my recovery patients with a custom, hard-acrylic night guard that is comfortable to wear and easy to maintain. Most report sleeping better, and they no longer have jaw muscle tenderness when they wake up in the morning.”

According to Dr. Alexander, “There are ample reasons to stop smoking. Teeth grinding solutions for Bruxism is just one of these. I do everything I can to advise and help my patients with smoking cessation. When they are ready, with the right support, I know they can do it.”

Wanting to talk to Dr. Alexander about teeth grinding solutions you can implement into your dental routine? Give us a call today.



Recovery Dentistry & Pain Management Treatment with Dr. Alexander

Recovery Dentistry & Pain Management

Dentists frequently prescribe immediate-release opioids like hydrocodone (Vicodin® and Lortab®) and oxycodone (OxyContin® and Percocet®) for pain management treatment following tooth extractions. For most patients, these drugs never pose a problem. But for those in recovery, an opioid prescribed, for even a short duration, can start a tailspin back into addiction. The over-prescription and leftover supply of opioids engender another problem, which has become a national “epidemic,” namely, the uncontrolled sale of opioids by patients to other individuals who seek them. Uncontrolled sale has led to many overdose deaths. Over 165,000 heroin overdose and other opioid overdose deaths have been reported nationwide, during the last fifteen years.

Opioids, your Dentist, and Pain Management Treatment

For these reasons, in the State of Florida and throughout the nation, doctors of all kinds, including dentists have pulled back from prescribing opioids and are becoming very cautious with pain management treatment. Recovery Dentist, Dr. Jamie J. Alexander of Boynton Beach, FL, is extremely cautious with his patients, and especially those in recovery.

“I don’t want to put patients at risk of relapse and serious health injury,” said Dr. Alexander. “Managing the dental pain of patients in recovery is one of my areas of expertise. Treatments are performed in a way to minimize discomfort, and we carefully counsel patients and are there for them to provide alternative post-operative care if they are recovering from the soft gum tissue swelling associated with tooth extraction. It’s the soft tissue swelling of the healing gum tissue that causes the greatest discomfort.”

Typically swelling is very light when surgery is performed by a specialist in oral surgery and the need for painkiller can be avoided altogether. For this reason, all surgical procedures that are part Dr. Alexander’s patients’ treatment plans are performed by one of Dr. Alexander’s preferred surgeons, and Dr. Alexander is in close communication to ensure the care is perfectly controlled. Non-opioid analgesics are available when they are needed for pain management treatment.

“Recovery patients wonder about the discomfort and pain that can occur during dental procedures,” said Dr. Alexander. “Local dental anesthetics are used to numb gum tissue and the nerves of teeth. As with all my patients, whether they are in recovery or not, the dose is controlled as a procedure progresses. If the patient needs more, it can be administered during a procedure. However, extra caution is taken to minimize drug interactions and adverse effects while achieving the goal of comfort. If a patient has an adverse reaction, I am trained to manage the reaction and minimize health risks. We carefully schedule our patients so we have plenty of time to provide optimal care, observe them, and ensure their safety. We strive to know the medical history of our patients in detail.”

If you are in recovery and long for oral health and a beautiful smile, give Boynton Beach dentist Dr. Jamie Alexander a call today. He is one of the nation’s few dentists who have declared they have a passion for helping people in recovery.

Our practice is devoted to not only quality comfort and care in dentistry, but also the more specific dental care that is needed for those recovering from addiction. Dr. Alexander has a deep understanding of human emotions, addiction behaviors, PTSD, and systemic health issues that can influence a patient’s dental experience. There is no judgment in our office. We are only here to support you. If you can’t take pain pills, that’s okay. We know just what to do.

Keep Balance: Extend Abstinence by Preventing Relapse

Keep Balance: Extend Abstinence by Preventing Relapse

Keep Balance: Extend Abstinence by Preventing Relapse

An eight-year study of 1,162 addicts published in 2007 indicates that abstinence really does predict long-term recovery. Some takeaways from this research are:

  • For those who achieve a year of sobriety, less than half will relapse.
  • If you can make it to 5 years of sobriety, your chance of relapse is less than 15 percent.

This is a good reason to have hope. The study also reported that Only about a third of people who are abstinent less than a year will remain abstinent. Getting to that one year mark is more than a point of pride, it is an extended period of abstinence that is beneficial to the body, mind and emotional system.

The one year mark is also a time when those in recovery fear relapse. They have heard countless stories of others who have relapsed just as they approach, reach or pass one year of abstinence.

Fear of relapse causes stress in the body’s emotional system that can grow into high anxiety and lead to negative thoughts. The “I think I can” determination of “The Little Engine Who Could” waivers. The extreme of high anxiety can put the recovering addict at high risk of relapse, just as can the overconfidence some feel upon reaching a whole year.

Maintaining balance is very important to preventing relapse. If you find your thoughts are becoming more negative, or on the other hand, overly confident, this is a good time to reach out to your counselors and support groups and share these feelings.

As a health-oriented dentist with formal advanced education in addiction and recovery, I hope my recovery patients and other readers of this article trust my advice. This advice is echoed in recovery counseling blogs throughout the Web.

Maintaining a positive attitude and control over anxiety is supported by a balanced brain chemistry and healthy body. These are dependent on:

  • balanced nutrition (Eat healthy meals and snacks on a regular schedule.)
  • regular physical exercise (At least, get up and walk throughout the day.)
  • regular nights of sleep (Go to bed on a regular schedule, early enough to get 8 hours of sleep.)
  • interacting socially with others (Hopefully, you have cause to laugh often among others who support your efforts to remain abstinent.)
  • feelings of self-worth (Having work to do that has value to others, no matter what you do, can help make this happen.)
  • avoiding stress triggers (Through recovery counseling, you have come to recognize the environments and situations that trigger high stress and the desire to relapse. Sometimes, you just need to walk away, find healthy shelter and rest.)
  • positive self-talk (When feelings of depression become frequent or chronic, they can be difficult to stop. Learn to recognize you have a lot of control over negative thoughts and nip them in the bud. Be honest with yourself, and get perspective from someone you trust.)

Trust is what I hope to achieve with all my dental patients. If you are in recovery, you can reach out to me to talk. Of course, as your dentist, I can help restore your self-esteem and overall health by restoring your oral health and smile. But, the listening ear and caring perspective I can give may be what you need more, at any one moment, to reduce your stress, rebalance your brain chemistry, and make it to your next abstinence goal while concurrently preventing relapse. If you want to talk about more than your mouth, I’ll listen and more. As my patient, we are in a relationship that goes beyond treatment of gums and teeth. I want to know you better and for you to know me better. Just reach out.

Wishing you a long life of abstinence,

Jamie J. Alexander, D.D.S., your Boynton Beach Recovery Dentist


Dental Care for Recovering Addicts: Why Choose a "Recovery" Dentist

Dental Care for Recovering Addicts: Why Choose a “Recovery” Dentist

Dental Care for Recovering Addicts: Why see a “recovery” dentist?

People who know the cycle of addiction can give you a deep empathy, understanding, and acceptance that is priceless. Dental care for recovering addicts ensures that this empathy and understanding is practiced throughout dental treatment examinations and procedures. 

Dr. Jamie Alexander and his care team have developed extensive knowledge and experience in caring for individuals in recovery. They have caring relationships with friends and family who have undergone addiction and are living in recovery.

If you live anywhere in the Boynton Beach, FL area, are in recovery, and are seeking a dentist, know this. We understand the feelings you have, the health issues you may have, the brain chemistry you are coping with, the stresses in your life, and the phases of recovery. We have expertise in counseling, as well as oral health diagnosis and dental restoration.

Without judgment, we get to know our patients as special individuals. We connect with them deeply. We provide the space and time our patients need to make appropriate decisions for themselves and we respectfully empower them to stay in control of their health choices.

The last thing you need to fear is going to the dentist. We are the anti-anxiety dental practice for those who have undergone addiction and are now finding that a new life of abstinence has positive benefits.

We extend our hand to you and welcome you to call us today. Call 561-732-8877.


Alcohol, Teeth Damage, and Gum Disease - Learn more at Recovery Dentistry of Boynton Beach | Dr. Jamie Alexander

Teeth Damage, Gum Damage, and Alcoholism

Teeth Damage and Alcoholism: 4 reasons you need special care.

There are four primary reasons why many dental patients in recovery are in need of special care and treatment for long standing gum disease and other teeth damage related to chronic alcoholism:

  1. Alcohol abuse irritated their gum tissue.
  2. While abusing alcohol, their tendency was to let proper oral hygiene and regular dental visits lapse. Plaque development on their teeth led to gum inflammation.
  3. Eating a nutritious diet was also a low priority so their immune systems were not working effectively, allowing oral inflammation to advance.
  4. They ignored the early signs of teeth damage and did not receive the treatment they needed to prevent gum infection from spreading.

Because infectious oral bacteria travel through your blood stream to foster inflammation throughout your body, treatment of gum disease will lower the risks of developing systemic health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, and immunological disorders. Many studies have shown that when gum health is restored, other disease conditions improve significantly.

cannabis abuse can affect your oral health | Recovery Dentistry

Cannabis Abuse and Your Oral Health

In general cannabis abusers have poorer oral health than the population of people who do not abuse substances. Oral hygiene neglect and deferral of dental checkups and professional teeth cleanings are not the only factors.

Cannabis smoke acts as a carcinogen and is associated with heightened risk for malignant lesions in the soft tissue of the mouth and throat. Users are prone to oral infections, possibly due to the immunosuppressive effects of cannabis.

Cannabis abuse also can result in acute anxiety and paranoid thoughts, which sometimes makes dental treatment of abusers difficult.

Local anesthetic containing epinephrine that is commonly used with some dental procedures may seriously prolong tachycardia (rapid heart beat) that is already present due to a large dose of cannabis.

If you are in recovery for cannabis abuse or using cannabis while in a recovery program, you owe it to yourself and your dentist to be honest about your usage. If you are fortunate to be in the Boynton Beach, FL area, Dr. Jamie Alexander is a dentist who is dedicated to helping individuals in recovery restore oral health and nice smiles. Being open with Dr. Alexander about your medical history, substance abuse history, and oral health goals will enable him to safely help you.

Seeking dental care does not need to be a frightening experience. The entire care team at Jamie J. Alexander, DDS, is compassionate and understanding. From the moment you call, you will sense they genuinely care about you.

Protecting against teeth grinding (bruxism) and jaw clenching when in recovery from addiction | Recovery Dentistry, Jamie J Alexander of Boynton Beach

How to Protect Against Teeth Grinding

Protecting Your Teeth from Grinding & Clenching

In recovery, your stress level is high and one of the oral health problems you may be suffering from is teeth grinding (bruxism) and clenching. Fortunately, Dr. Jamie Alexander—Boynton Beach’s “recovery dentist,” is an expert in treating teeth grinding and jaw clenching to eliminate muscle pain and excessive wear on your tooth enamel.

As stress levels increase, it is very common to unconsciously grind and clench your teeth. You may not be aware of the amount of grinding and clenching you are doing, especially during sleep. When the internal stress you are experiencing is transferred via your teeth, it puts significant force on your jaw joints (TMJs), muscles, teeth, tooth roots, tooth ligaments, jaw bone and gum tissue.

Many who are in recovery have tender muscles along their cheekbones, jaw joints, and temples. Their necks, jaws, and heads frequently ache. If you are experiencing this to any degree, Dr. Alexander recommends that you request an appointment to assess your oral health and determine if you should have a mouth guard to wear at night. He is an expert in making custom mouth guards so they are comfortable and appropriately seat your jaw in the joints to relax your jaw muscles while you sleep. These mouth guards, also known as bite splints, can teach your jaw muscles to relax. Many of our patients wear their bite splints during times of the day when they notice they are in pain. Relaxation and comfort are a big relief.

Learn how to deal with teeth grinding in addiction recovery

This is one of many reasons you might want to give us a call—561-732-8877. Our compassionate receptionist will answer your questions and guide you in scheduling the appointment you need. If you are new to the practice, you are welcome to schedule a no-obligation, complimentary consultation with Dr. Alexander.

Learn more about the dangers of tooth decay due to alcoholism, at Recovery Dentistry of Boynton Beach

Alcoholism and Tooth Decay

Have Concerns about Tooth Decay from Alcoholism?

Now that you are in recovery from alcoholism, you may be wondering why your teeth became decayed during your period of alcohol abuse. The majority of alcoholic beverages contain sugar, the primary cause of demineralization of tooth enamel. During your time of drinking you may have binged and vomited, which caused high levels of acid in your mouth, exposing tooth enamel to erosion. And, since your faculties were impaired, oral health was likely a low priority. The longer optimal oral hygiene lapsed and professional dental cleanings were delayed, the greater the opportunity there was for enamel erosion.

Dental decay is a progressive disease that will not stop until it is treated. A cavity will grow unless damaged tooth enamel is removed, oral bacteria is eliminated from the site of the cavity, and the cavity is packed with a protective filling or the “clean” tooth is covered with a protective crown.  Dr. Jamie Alexander—Boynton Beach, Florida’s “recovery dentist,” compassionately restores teeth with tooth-colored fillings and crowns. If decay or other damage is too extensive for these treatments, dental implant treatment may be the optimal way to replace the unhealthy tooth. Traditional treatments for a lost tooth—a fixed bridge supported on crowned adjacent teeth or a removable denture, also may be discussed as appropriate alternative treatments.

Did you know? Alcohol contains sugar, the main cause of tooth enamel loss

Do you have painful teeth and see the signs of decay when you look in the mirror? Do you want a nice, healthy smile again? Do you long for compassionate care by a dentist who understands your situation and respects your bravery to live a new life in recovery? If you are in recovery from alcoholism, we invite you to contact Dr. Jamie Alexander of Boynton Beach, FL today at 561-732-8877 to schedule a free consultation.

Oral Health Recovery and Heroin Addiction | Dr. Jamie Alexander, Recovery Dentistry in Boynton Beach

Oral Health Recovery and Heroin Addiction

About Oral Health Recovery from Heroin Addiction

Heroin addicts often experience tooth decay and gum disease with resultant tooth loss. This is because heroin causes them to crave sugary foods and drinks that promote tooth decay and gum inflammation. A side effect of heroin addiction is teeth grinding, which can wear away and fracture dental enamel. Add to this long lapses in oral hygiene and a lack of dental care, and the results can be quite severe.

If you are in a recovery program near Boynton Beach, you are fortunate to have a local dentist who is an expert in the care of individuals in recovery.

Dental decay is a progressive disease that will not stop until it is treated. A cavity will grow unless damaged tooth enamel is removed, oral bacteria is eliminated from the site of the cavity, and the cavity is packed with a protective filling or the “clean” tooth is covered with a protective crown.  Dr. Jamie Alexander — Boynton Beach, Florida’s “recovery dentist,” compassionately restores teeth with tooth-colored fillings and crowns. If decay or other damage is too extensive for these treatments, dental implant treatment may be the optimal way to replace the unhealthy tooth. Traditional treatments for a lost tooth—a fixed bridge supported on crowned adjacent teeth or a removable denture, also may be discussed as appropriate alternative treatments.

Gum Disease and Teeth Grinding Treatment for Those in Recovery from Heroin Addiction | (561) 732-8877

Treatment of gum disease can also be successfully achieved in the comfort of Dr. Alexander’s office under most circumstances. Because infectious oral bacterial travel through your blood stream fostering inflammation throughout your body, treatment of gum disease will lower the risks of developing systemic health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, and immunological disorders. Many studies have shown that when gum health is restored, other disease conditions improve significantly.

Tooth grinding may have had an impact on your jaw joints and muscles, creating tenderness. The stress of being in recovery commonly causes those in recovery to grind and clench their teeth. This is not unique to those recovering from heroin but all individuals in recovery. Dr. Alexander has expertise in the treatment of tooth grinding (bruxism) and clenching, and other temporomandibular joint disorders.
[ learn more about teeth grinding here ]

You are a brave person who has already achieved much by surrendering to addiction withdrawal and recovery. You can now have oral health and a nice smile that will allow you to confidently pursue employment and social relationships. Your new life deserves a new confident smile!

Give our compassionate receptionist a call and schedule an initial complimentary consultation with Dr. Jamie Alexander to discuss your concerns, oral health objectives, medical status, and what Dr. Alexander recommends for beginning your journey to restored oral health. Call 561-732-8877.

Recovey from Meth Mouth in Boynton Beach with Dr. Jamie Alexander and Recovery Dentistry

Recovery from “Meth Mouth”

Recovering from “Meth Mouth” with Dr. Jamie Alexander

Use of Amphetamines, including methamphetamine, has long lasting effects on brain function, can lead to heart problems and seizures, and is associated with high rates of dental decay and gum disease. A University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) study of 571 methamphetamine users found that 96 percent had experienced dental cavities and 58 percent had untreated tooth decay. Only 23 percent retained all of their natural teeth, compared to a tooth retention rate of 48 percent among the U.S. general population.

There are four primary factors leading to high incidences of dental decay, gum disease, increased tooth wear, tooth fractures, and tooth loss among methamphetamine users, what is sometimes referred to as “meth mouth”:

  1. Poor oral care while using amphetamines.
  2. Cravings for sugary high-calorie carbonated beverages, as much as several liters a day.
  3. Grinding and clenching of teeth as a side effect of the drug use.
  4. Extreme xerostomia (dry mouth condition) as a side effect of the drug use, reducing the amount of protective saliva.

If you have fought the battle, freed yourself from addiction, and are now in recovery, you can take immediate steps to improve your oral health and restore your smile. An entire mouth makeover is conceivable and doable. Dr. Jamie Alexander and his entire dental team are here to help.

We invite you to read about our services, caring approach, and genuine passion to help you have a healthy life. We welcome you to give us a call at 561-732-8877. We’ll be happy to schedule you for an initial private and complementary consultation with Dr. Alexander in our Boynton Beach dental practice.