Dental Tips Blog

Nov
12

Flat Teeth: Three Causes

Posted in TMJ Therpy

When you look in the mirror, do your teeth look flat, sharp, or jagged? In reality, their biting edges should have a nice, smooth contour. Here are three reasons why your enamel may be starting to look flatter over the years:

End-to-End Alignment 

The older we get, our teeth start to shift toward the middle-front portion of our mouth. This can cause upper and lower teeth to bite against each other irregularly. When this happens, your healthy tooth enamel actually wears itself down…causing flat biting edges.

Getting braces can help to fine-tune your bite and give you more time out of your smile, rather than fast-forward you into needing extensive dental work.

Bruxism / Grinding 

A stressful lifestyle can give you headaches, but you might be deferring some of that stress to your teeth. When you bite down firmly because of muscle tension, project due dates, or bad traffic, it wears your bite down quicker than it should. This can make your smile look like it’s decades older than it really is.

Your dentist may recommend anything from wearing a splint, to muscle relaxers. Usually, the first step is to consciously train yourself to not clench your teeth. It can take a bit of practice!

Misaligned Jaws 

Your upper and lower jaws should fit together the right way, allowing your entire mouth to function efficiently day after day. Irregular jaw shape, size, or alignment can alter the occlusion (biting relationship) of all your teeth. In addition to seeing worn enamel, you might also experience symptoms of TMJ disorder.

Talk to your dentist today to find out how you can prevent future damage to your smile.

Posted on behalf of:
Alluvial Dental Center
1875 E Alluvial Ave
Fresno, CA 93720
559-325-0700

Sep
19

These 5 Activities Can Aggravate TMJ Pain

Posted in TMJ Therpy

Your temporomandibular joint is a very intricate part of your jaw. It’s loaded with cartilage and ligaments which scientists are still working to understand.

When it’s working normally, you hardly even notice it, that’s how smooth your temporomandibular joint is. The slightest strain or fatigue, however, is almost impossible to ignore.  Too much stress on your temporomandibular joint can result in temporomandibular joint disorder (called TMJ or TMD) which causes headaches, jaw pain, and other discomfort.

Take a look at how you’re doing in the following areas to see if there’s anything you can do to reduce tension on this delicate joint.

  1. Nibbling Habit

Nail biting, pen-chewing, and nibbling on your cheek or lip could all contribute to unnecessary stress on your temporomandibular joint. You might want to work on kicking those bad habits ASAP!

  1. Chewing Gum

Gum is a convenient breath freshener and can boost saliva production. But watch how often you chew it – chronic gum-chewing can lead to a tired jaw and chronic problems.

  1. Talking

On average, humans tend to talk about 10,000 – 20,000 words a day. Naturally, this varies with culture and personality. But if you have a job that has you on the phone for hours on end, you might want to consider giving your jaw a break!

  1. Sleep

Even the most restful activity could lead to TMJ pain. If you have a habit of grinding your teeth in your sleep, then this can cause damage to your temporomandibular joint.

  1. Stress

Tension and anxiety trigger some folks to clench their teeth tightly. Does your jaw hurt during rush-hour traffic? Is a stressful job or family problem giving you headaches? You may have TMJ or TMD due to stress-related clenching.

Ask your dentist for a comprehensive TMJ evaluation to cut your jaw some slack!

Posted on behalf of:
Sugar Creek Family Dental
1165 Gravois Rd. Suite 140
Fenton, MO 63026
(636) 255-8325

Aug
29

Treatment Options for TMJ

Posted in TMJ Therpy

You TMJ (temporomandibular joint) is a very complex joint. So complex in fact, that even experts can’t always figure what could be wrong with it. That’s mainly because it’s hard to see into the complex network of tissues. It also boils down to the fact that people suffer jaw pain for a variety of reasons.

Diagnosing the cause of your pain is often a matter of journaling and process-of-elimination. Prescribing treatment comes down to a guessing game. You have to keep trying until you find something that works!

Causes of TMD

Pain in the TMJ is broadly classified as TMD – temporomandibular disorder.

It could be part of a system condition such as rheumatoid arthritis. Signs of wear on your teeth and pronounced chewing muscles might hint that you grind or clench your teeth. This habit would tire out your TMJ. Jaw pain could result from a bad bite or even simply from sleeping funny on the side of your head.

Just as the potential causes are so varied, the treatments likewise present you with multiple options.

Try At Home:

  • Alternate placing an ice pack and a hot damp towel against your jaw
  • Take a ibuprofen to dull the pain
  • Rest your jaw, taking a break from chewy and crunchy foods
  • Practice stress reduction
  • Avoid chewing gum, even if your jaw feels ok

What Your Dentist Or Doctor May Recommend:

  • Prescription for stronger pain medication
  • Splints and guards to keep jaw from clenching
  • Restorative work to balance out your bite
  • Botox
  • TENS (Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation)
  • Surgery

If TMJ pain is making it hard for you to enjoy everyday activities, then it’s time to get help. Call your dentist today.

Posted on behalf of:
Marbella Dentistry
791 FM 1103 #119
Cibolo, TX 78108
(210) 504-2655

Jun
9

What Is a Bite Adjustment?

Posted in TMJ Therpy

A bite adjustment is what it sounds: your dentist will make changes to the way teeth fit together as you bite.

The adjustment could be very small, such as filing away excess enamel. Or it might be part of a much bigger project to stabilize your bite with multiple crowns.

Why Get An Adjustment?

Your teeth are supposed to contact each other just so. If they’re off by even a little bit, you could experience some discomfort. Your smile might also suffer permanent damage that you’re not even aware of.

A bite adjustment is not the same as getting braces. It’s very possible (and common) for teeth with great alignment to not make contact at the right points. In fact, it’s not unusual to need just such an adjustment after braces come off.

What could cause your bite to be off:

  • Damaged or improper restorations
  • Teeth out of alignment
  • Missing teeth
  • Jaw size
  • Jaw positioning
  • Tooth shape and size

How Do You Know If You Need A Bite Adjustment?

You won’t necessarily be in pain. Most folks aren’t aware they need an adjustment until their dentist mentions it. After it’s fixed, they notice the difference.

Your dentist will help you spot signs such as loose, worn, or chipped teeth, gum recession, sensitivity, and TMJ issues.

He or she will probably have you bite down on a piece of colored dental paper that leaves marks on chewing surfaces. This shows if some teeth have more surface area contact than others.

X-rays, models, and other scans, will help your dentist assemble a plan of what needs correcting.

Think your bite is off? Call your dentist today for instructions.

Posted on behalf of:
Avalon Dental Group P.C.
2205 Williams Trace Blvd #108
Sugar Land, TX 77478
(281) 240-5559

Sep
14

Adjusting Your Bite: Why Is It Important?

Posted in TMJ Therpy

You’re probably wondering what that is. Is it possible to adjust a bite? Why might you need to adjust your bite?

When it comes to adjusting teeth, more than braces might be necessary. The best way to find out for sure what your bite needs is to have it evaluated by a dental professional.

Adjustment vs. Orthodontic Treatment

Braces and other special retainers can help to encourage teeth into proper position when they are twisted out of alignment. Sometimes, it’s the height of the teeth that poses the problem. If your teeth don’t close together evenly when you bite, then this can be corrected using:

  • Special instruments used to smooth high areas
  • Composite filling material to build up low areas
  • Dental crowns to reinforce teeth
  • A combination of contouring with braces to bring your teeth into alignment

Adjusting Your Bite Can Save Your Teeth

When your bite is off, one side of your mouth closes together sooner or tighter than the other side. Those teeth will experience the brunt of the wear. This makes those teeth more prone to fracture and sensitivity.

Adjusting Your Bite Can Spare You the Headache

An uneven bite will cause your TMJ to work unevenly, as well. One side might become more strained than the other. This can lead to some painful headaches and even irreparable joint damage.

The Treatment You Need!

Your dentist or orthodontist will carefully assess your needs and explain your best options. Adjusting your bite and/or tooth alignment could give you a completely new smile. Treatment could also change your dental health for the better.

To discover what adjustments can benefit your smile, give your local dental office a call and schedule a visit.

Posted on behalf of:
Ambler Dental Care
602 S Bethlehem Pike C-2
Ambler, PA 19002
(215) 643-1122

Jan
6

Do I Have TMJ Disorder?

Posted in TMJ Therpy

The joint in your jaw that allows your mouth to open and close is called your TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint).  This joint functions when you chew, yawn and talk.  Sometimes, people can develop a disorder with their TMJ.  This TMJ disorder is called TMD (Temporomandibular Joint Disorder) or TMJD.  How do you know if you have this condition?              Some common symptoms of TMD are:

  • Migraine headaches
  • Painful muscles around the TMJ
  • Upper back and neck pain
  • Difficulty opening the mouth wide
  • Swelling on one or both sides of the face
  • Pain with chewing
  • Popping or clicking sounds while chewing
  • Jaws that get stuck or locked in one position

These symptoms can be temporary or they can be chronic and last for many years.

What causes TMJ Disorders?  Potential causes of TMD include:

  • Grinding and/or clinching their teeth (called bruxism) due to stress
  • Arthritis in the TMJ, which can damage the cartilage in the joint
  • Chewing Gum on a frequently, creating over-use of the surrounding muscles
  • Injury to the jaw or head and neck muscles, which can damage the joint

If you think you have a disorder of your TMJ, first try some self-help ideas at home.  For example, applying moist heat or ice to the sore joint, eating foods that are soft and avoiding gum chewing or yawning really big.

If this home treatment doesn’t help, visit your dentist.  If you are diagnosed with a TMJ disorder (TMD), your dentist provide you with alternative methods to manage your discomfort, or can refer you to a TMD specialist in your area who can assess your condition and offer you further appropriate treatments.

Posted on behalf of:
Soft Touch Dentistry
1214 Paragon Dr
O’Fallon, IL 62269
(618) 622-5050 

Nov
23

How Tooth Alignment Can Impact Your TMJ

Posted in TMJ Therpy

TMJ (temporomandibular joint) problems are nothing to laugh at. They can involve severe headaches, muscle tension, or uncomfortable clicking, chewing, or yawning. TMJ disorder is also very hard to treat because it is so difficult to diagnose. But sometimes, the cause may be more obvious than you think. Especially is this so when the root cause is connected to your teeth.

First, Visit Your Dentist

Are you experiencing some discomfort in your jaw? Visiting your dentist is usually the best place to start. He or she will have the best opinion as far as to what factors could be influencing the condition, and recommendations as to what steps need to be taken next.

One of the factors causing the TMJ problem could be your teeth. Consider the way your jaw works. Your jaw is a hinge and both arches of teeth need to fit evenly together at the same time for the hinge to experience even pressure. If your teeth are not properly in alignment, this could be causing one side of your mouth to close sooner than the other side. As a result, you may be chewing more on one side and straining the joint and muscles of just the one side of your jaw. Next thing you know, you’ve got TMJ discomfort.

 How to Relieve TMJ Discomfort

You could alleviate the pain with aspirin and heat packs, but you should eventually address the cause before your jaw suffers any more damage.

Your dentist will be able to show you how the alignment of certain teeth could be contributing to your TMJ problem. He or she would then discuss with you restorative and orthodontic options for evening out your bite and taking a load off your TMJ. Get started today by calling your local dentist.

Posted on behalf of:
Alan Horlick DDS
6572 Hwy 92 #120
Acworth, GA 30102
(770) 591-8446

Nov
20

Using Botox to Manage TMJ Disorder

Posted in TMJ Therpy

Botox is commonly known for its cosmetic benefits, but it has many other uses as well. If you are suffering from the discomfort results from TMJ (temporomandibular joint) dysfunction, Botox may be the answer!

How Botox Works

Botox is short for botulinum toxin, which is produced by a kind of bacteria called Clostridium botulinum. This substance acts on muscles by blocking nerve signals from the brain. This allows muscles to relax and loosen and is used to reduce wrinkles that form as a result of muscle tension. Botox injections have also been approved by the FDA for use in treating migraine and cervical dystonia (a painful condition in which the muscles in the neck contract involuntarily). Both of these conditions occur close to the TMJ.

The Effect Upon TMJ Stress

Botox is now offered by many dentists as an alternative therapy method for alleviating pain in the TMJ. Stress on the TMJ could be related to an excess of muscular activity. If you have a habit of clenching or grinding your teeth or nervously chewing or biting which has led to TMJ pain, then Botox may be help. The product relaxes the tense muscles when it has been applied. By relaxing the muscle, the joint won’t be worked as hard as it was before. This can alleviate the pain around the joint as well as headaches.

Although the use of Botox in treating TMJ problems is still experimental, recent evidence has shown that the injection can provide significant relief. To learn more about how Botox can help you deal with TMJ pain, schedule a consultation with your dentist.

Posted on behalf of:
Alan Horlick DDS
6572 Hwy 92 #120
Acworth, GA 30102
(770) 591-8446

Oct
25

How Dermal Fillers Can Help with TMJ Disorder

Posted in TMJ Therpy

For some time now, dermal fillers have been known for their cosmetic properties of filling in recessed scars, reducing the appearance of wrinkles, and plumping lips. But do dermal fillers have any application in treating pain and dysfunction of the TMJ (temporomandibular joint)?

What Are Dermal Fillers Made Of?

Most dermal fillers are made of hyaluronic acid. This acid is actually a protein that occurs naturally in the protective fluid surrounding joints. The substance helps to plump up areas of the face and neck for cosmetic enhancement, but like botulinum toxin, it can also be used to treat pain and dysfunction in the jaw.

How Can Hyaluronic Acid Help?

Hyaluronic acid is used to treat body joints that suffer from osteoarthritis. The protein is injected into the region around a joint, providing added lubrication and cushion. Recent studies indicate that for a jaw impaired by stress or osteoarthritis, the injection of a dermal filler containing hyaluronic acid could provide significant relief.

What is Treatment with Dermal Fillers Like?

Treatment is provided by a qualified practitioner in a simple office procedure. Some digital imaging may be done beforehand to provide an accurate image of the jaw for successful administration of the filler. Local anesthetic is placed before the injections are given to make the procedure more comfortable. Depending upon the exact product used and your individual needs as determined by your provider, treatment may include three to five injections each week for a number of weeks.

Are the Fillers Safe?

To date there have been no serious side-effects reported with use of hyaluronic acid as a treatment option for TMJ disorder. If you suffer from TMJ pain or dysfunction, ask your dentist about how dermal fillers can help you.

Posted on behalf of:
Grateful Dental
2000 Powers Ferry Rd SE #1
Marietta, GA 30067
(678) 593-2979

Sep
8

3 Benefits of Bite Guards

Posted in Mouth Guards

Also known as a night guard or even a stress guard, bite guards are intended to prevent you from clenching or grinding your teeth. Grinding and clenching are habits that typically occur during the night during sleep. Some people who suffer from this are not aware that they do it until they see the effects afterward. The bite guard is worn at night to prevent such detrimental activity. How can this guard benefit you?

  • Prevent damage to teeth. Grinding and clenching wears down the chewing surfaces of teeth and puts stress on their structure. This makes them prone to fractures and chipping. A guard will protect teeth from bearing the brunt of the force.
  • Preserve your dental restorations. Fillings are easily damaged by grinding and clenching. Crowns can also be shifted out of place, worn through or even chipped. Even implants can suffer from excessive biting force. All these restorations are designed to withstand normal chewing activity, but grinding and clenching can negate the benefits they provide. A bite guard is a wise investment that protects beautiful and costly restorative work from the effects of grinding.
  • Ease jaw pain. The intense activity of the chewing muscles can cause extreme fatigue on the joint that moves the jaw. Grinding and clenching can overwork your temporomandibular joint (TMJ). A guard will limit the movement of your jaw, relieving stress on your TMJ.

A bite guard may be your key to preserving a strong and healthy smile. If you are not sure whether you have the signs of a harmful grinding or clenching habit, then be sure to talk to your dentist during your next visit.

Posted on behalf of:
Dr. David Kurtzman D.D.S.
611 Campbell Hill St. NW #101
Marietta, GA 30060
(770) 980-6336

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