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The Daily Grind Of Bruxism | July 2017

Madsen and Hirsch | Bruxism Blog | July 2017 BlogMOST PEOPLE GRIND OR CLENCH their teeth briefly when annoyed or in a tense situation. That level of teeth-grinding isn’t really something to worry about. It’s when you do it far more frequently, often without even realizing it (you might even do it in your sleep!), that it can potentially become a serious problem. The medical term for this kind of teeth-grinding is bruxism.

Bruxism: What and Why

Sleep bruxism (or nocturnal bruxism) can happen as a side-effect of snoring and sleep apnea, and awake bruxism (or diurnal bruxism) can happen as a side-effect of stress in your daily life. However, not everyone with a sleep disorder or a stressful life has bruxism, and not everyone with bruxism has a sleep disorder or a ton of stress. Another possible cause is improperly aligned teeth.

Because there isn’t one clear cause, treatment can sometimes be tricky, and the focus is often on the symptoms and minimizing the damage more than curing the underlying condition. Even if you aren’t aware that you’re grinding your teeth, any of the following symptoms could point to bruxism:

  • Sore jaw (with sleep bruxism, your jaw will be most sore when you wake up, whereas with awake bruxism, it’ll be most sore before you go to bed)
  • Frequent headaches from all the strain
  • Hypertrophy in your jaw muscles (because you’re giving them quite the workout!)
  • Shifting teeth
  • Flattened chewing surfaces of teeth
  • Exposed dentin and increased tooth sensitivity
  • Chipped/cracked/split teeth
  • Tooth loss

Your Next Steps
Depending on which type of bruxism you have, there are a variety of treatments or approaches to either reduce the grinding or the damage it causes.

Behavioral Therapy

With behavioral therapy or habit-reversal techniques, you can become more aware of your clenching/grinding habits and consciously work to stop. This one works better when you have awake bruxism than sleep bruxism, because it’s obviously much harder to control your jaw muscles in your sleep.


Particularly for stress-related bruxism, relaxation techniques such as yoga, deep breathing exercises, massages, warm baths, calming music, and a full night’s sleep can help you de-stress and stop grinding.

Wearing A Bruxism Appliance

A bruxism appliance or splint serves as a pillow between your upper and lower teeth. It won’t stop the grinding, but it protects your teeth from damage and can also help relax muscles. We make these in the dental office.


Muscle relaxant medication might help you unclench while you sleep. However, medicine is rarely used to treat bruxism, especially if other treatments are helping.

Botulinum Toxin (Botox or Xeomin)

Botox or Xeomin injected into the Masseter Muscles (large jaw muscles in your cheeks) have been shown to be of remarkable help in decreasing bruxism by weakening the muscle forces used in clenching and grinding.  The safe and painless injections also help in reducing the hypertrophy of the muscles resulting in a softer and less square jawed appearance.  Many patients have also experienced relief from headaches with added help of injections into the Temporalis Muscles on the sides of the forehead.

Check out this video for more information and a few other ideas on how to combat bruxism or minimize the damage:



We Can Help!

If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms, it may be due to bruxism and you should schedule an appointment so we can make a plan for how to address it. You don’t want to leave it untreated until it gets to the point where it’s damaging your teeth.

We love our patients!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.


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See What Invisalign® Can Do For Your Smile | June 2017

Madsen and Hirsch | Invisalign Blog | June 2017 BlogIF YOU WANTED TO STRAIGHTEN your teeth back in the day, you really only had one option–traditional metal braces. Nowadays, our patients have a variety of different options when it comes to how they would like to have their teeth straightened and what is most convenient for them. At our office, we offer Invisalign®! 

Invisalign Treatment Provides Many Benefits

Not everyone is a good candidate for Invisalign, but if you are, it may be a great option to achieve your dream smile!

allowing you to go throughout your daily activities with most people being unaware that you are undergoing orthodontic treatment! The aligners are custom-made for you, ensuring a perfect, comfortable fit.

Of course one of the best perks of choosing Invisalign is being able to eat whatever you want! Because you can take your aligners off while eating and drinking, you don’t have to worry about staying away from the foods that you love. Invisalign trays also don’t affect your oral hygiene routine like traditional braces do. You can brush and floss as you normally would!

You also won’t have to worry about getting used to metal brackets that may cut into your cheeks and lips at the beginning of treatment or during sporting events. With Invisalign, you don’t have to sacrifice comfort to get the smile you’ve always wanted.

As an Invisalign patient, you’ll generally have less office visits than those with traditional braces. So if you have a busy schedule but still want to improve your smile, Invisalign might be just the thing for you!

Dr. Hirsch has also recently been certified as a MTM Aligner Therapy Provider.  MTM Aligners are an affordable alternative to Invisalign for minor tooth movements. 

Talk To Us About Invisalign

We want your treatment to reflect your unique smile, lifestyle and personality. Call us today to discuss any questions you might have about Invisalign or make an appointment for a FREE consultation.

You can also download my FREE REPORT:  Why Invisalign Is Right For You. 


Click Here to download your report.


At our practice, we believe your SMILE deserves the very best.  

Thank you for choosing our practice. We absolutely love our patients!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.


Seasonal Allergies? They Can Affect Your-Dental Health! | May 2017

Dental Blog | Dr Madsen & Dr. Hirsch | Madison WI DentistsSPRING IS ON THE HORIZON and we couldn’t be more excited! Chirping birds, blooming flowers, and warmer weather are just a few of the things we look forward to when spring comes around. We have to admit though, there is one thing about the season that’s not particularly appealing, and that’s allergies.

Be Aware Of These Dental Side Effects During Allergy Season

Many of you have experienced it, red, itchy and watery eyes and the constant sneezing and congestion. The effects of seasonal allergies can go even further, however, and may even affect your oral health! Here are some mouth-related symptoms to be on the lookout for when seasonal allergies strike.

Tooth Pain

When your body reacts to allergens in the air, you often end up with congested sinuses. Sinus pressure in the maxillary sinuses can sometimes cause the upper molars to ache. Treating your allergies and the congestion should relieve tooth pain. If the pain persists, however, make an appointment with your dentist. It’s important to make sure any aching teeth aren’t the result of tooth decay.

Bad Breath

All that mucus your body is creating can also be bad news for your breath. When you’re congested, mucus from the sinuses leaks into the back of the throat–we call this “post-nasal drip.” Not only can post-nasal drip lead to a sore throat, it can also be the cause of persistent bad breath.

Dry Mouth

Many of you will reach for antihistamines to keep your allergies under control this spring. As helpful as they are, they can often lead to an unpleasant side effect: dry mouth. Saliva is our number one defense against cavity-causing bacteria, so when your mouth is dry, you have a higher risk of developing tooth decay.

Protect Your Mouth This Spring

We want your mouth to stay healthy, even during allergy season. Here are some helpful tips to help you protect your mouth this spring:

  • Continue to practice good oral hygiene. Brush at least twice a day, and floss on a daily basis!
  • Take allergy medication as recommended by your physician, but remember to drink plenty of water to compensate for dry mouth.
  • Try gargling with salt water to help with congestion. Dissolve half a teaspoon of salt in a full glass of warm water and gargle for a few seconds before spitting it out.

To get a more in-depth look at what causes those pesky allergies and what you can do to avoid them, check out the video below!



Don’t Let Allergies Get The Best Of You

We know how difficult spring can be for some of our patients because of allergies. Keep practicing good oral hygiene and call us if you need anything! We’re here to get you through allergy season with a smile on your face.

Thank you for ACHOO-sing our practice! (Gesundheit…)


The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.


Relief is Now Available! | April 2017

I have been a dentist for a long time. My goal has always to find the best treatments for our friends who come in for care. Some problems that people have can be frustrating to treat. My friends who are physicians tell me that some problems need to be maintained, but as a dentist I am used to providing treatments that have definite improvement. 

Madsen and Hirsch | Bruxism Blog | April 2017

One of the problems that people have is “Bruxism”. Bruxism is a term that dentists use to describe clenching and grinding ones teeth. It is estimated that two thirds of people have parafunctional behavior (perhaps it is even higher).  People that have severe cases of bruxism fall in to two categories; people who are in a lot of pain, and people who break everything. An increase in muscle size from exercising the muscles of mastication causes an increase in strength, and the force generated has broken teeth and crowns and even split teeth. People who have orofacial pain have a dis-coordination of muscles that result in a lot of isometric firing of opposing muscles resulting in pain, headaches and increased parafunction.

In the past, our ability to correct these problems was to use splint therapy and adjustment to distribute forces among many teeth. This technique has worked well for mild to moderate cases, but we always had difficulty with someone with severe bruxism. 

Now we have a new technique to help people who suffer from bruxism! I am really excited by the results. We have been using botulinum toxin to reduce the strength of muscles. After injection, the botulinum toxin reduces the ability to contract, eliminating pain and damage and returning the muscles to normal function.    

Sara had been having bite problems that we had been treating with different bite appliances. Despite this treatment, she continued to have orofacial pain and headaches. These expanded to neck and back pain. She was having pain when she worked with patients in her function as our dental hygienist. She was getting very frustrated with the pain.  We completed an orofacial evaluation and placed Xeomin brand botulinum toxin in various muscles. The procedure was done on a Friday. On the following Monday she reported that by Saturday she had already felt improvement in pain and she noticed that she reduced the frequency and force of her clenching. On that same day she noted that it was the third day in a row that she didn’t have a headache (the first time in over a year)! She had no need to take any pain relievers over the weekend. Sara said this Is “life changing”, and her husband Doug is happy as well!

It makes me feel great to have an effective treatment method to change the life of people suffering from a chronic problem, and Sara’s story reinforces it for me. Reading scientific papers and looking for the latest in treatment modalities is a must for today’s dentist but seeing results in real life is immensely satisfying and really exciting!—Dr. Craig Madsen

Keep Up On Your Pet's Dental Health | March 2017

Madsen and Hirsch Dental Office | Madison WI DentistYou probably don’t think about checking your dog or cat’s mouth very often, but it’s important that you do. Dental problems can often lead to other health problems in your pet, not to mention they can be painful and costly. As with our own teeth, prevention is key!

Here are some things you should do to keep your furry friend’s mouth healthy:

  • Have your pet’s teeth checked and cleaned at least once a year by a veterinarian
  • While daily toothbrushing is ideal for your pet, at least get in three to four good brushing sessions per week (using toothpaste specially formulated for them–not human toothpaste)
  • Make sure your dog or cat is on a nutritious diet that is good for their teeth; your veterinarian will help you know what kind of food is best
  • Chew toys are great for scraping plaque off of your dog’s teeth and can be a great supplement to tooth brushing!
  • There are many products out there that can help keep your pet’s teeth healthy and breath fresh. Talk to your veterinarian about what products they recommend for your dog or cat’s oral hygiene routine!

Watch the video below to see how to properly brush your pet’s teeth:

Healthy Smiles Make It All Worthwhile

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), 70 percent of cats and 80 percent of dogs have some kind of oral disease by the age of two or three. That’s why attending to your pet’s oral health on a daily basis should be as normal to them as their daily walks.

After enough practice, they may even look forward to toothbrushing time! And while brushing your pet’s teeth may be a lot of work, just remember, healthy smiles make all that work worthwhile.

We’d love to see your pets’ smiles! Snap a photo of you and your pet showing off your pearly whites and post it to our Facebook page!

Thank you for reading our blog and supporting our practice.




Tips For A Younger Looking Smile | February 2017

Madsen and Hirsch Dental Office | Madison WI DentistTHERE ARE COUNTLESS methods we use to try and turn back the clock on our appearance. Whether it’s hip wardrobes and hairstyles or costly cosmetic surgeries, people go to great lengths to recapture the look and feeling of their youth.

Despite all of these anti-aging fads and gimmicks, studies show your smile can do more to make you look younger than anything else!

Good Oral Hygiene Keeps Your Smile Looking Younger, Longer

The simplest thing you can do to keep Father Time at bay is to practice good oral hygiene habits. Brushing twice a day and flossing regularly promotes healthy teeth and gums and keeps your smile looking and feeling clean. If we ignore these simple habits, we put our smiles at risk of harmful bacteria which can lead to unsightly effects such as:

• Cavities,
• Tooth discoloration or tooth loss,
• And periodontal disease.

Maintaining good oral health throughout your life doesn’t just preserve the appearance of your smile, but it can preserve your overall health too. Bleeding gums caused by periodontal disease can allow bacteria from your mouth to enter your bloodstream and affect other parts of the body. Research suggests gum disease can increase our risk for serious health problems, including…

• Diabetes
• Endocarditis and cardiovascular disease
• Osteoporosis
• Strokes
• Alzheimer’s Disease

Brighten Your Smile With Professional Tooth Whitening

Even when you take good care of your teeth, over time they naturally yellow. Micro-fractures, thinning enamel, and built-up stains all make your teeth look duller and older. But, that can be changed with tooth whitening!
There are several tooth whitening solutions, each with their own unique benefits. From over the counter whitening strips to in-office whitening treatments, we can help you decide which whitening solution is best for your smile.

Cosmetic Dentistry Can Give You The Look You Want

Whether you need just few touch-ups or would like an amazing dental makeover, cosmetic dentistry can provide exactly the look you want. Cosmetic dentistry has both therapeutic and aesthetic benefits. Treatment can repair your teeth and correct your bite, and at the same time give you the gorgeous smile you’ve always wanted!

Cosmetic Enhancements  Can Give Your Smile that extra “POP”

We now can offer you Botox or Xeomin to smooth the skin and dermal fillers to add volume to lips and to the surrounding areas of the mouth and nose.  This is an exciting adjunct to our practice that is now available to you. These injections can also be helpful for those suffering from myalgia and overdeveloped masseter muscles from clenching and grinding habits.

Be Confident In Your Smile

One of the best ways to appear more youthful is to smile more! This can start a wonderful cycle too! Smiling more can actually make you happier, and make you want to smile more.

We love our patients and love seeing your bright shining smiles each day. If you have any questions about how we can give you a healthier, more beautiful smile, give us a call and set an appointment to visit our practice or let us know in the comments below!

Thank you for brightening our day.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.