Dental Tips Blog

Sep
19

Is Jaw Alignment Surgery Right for You?

Posted in TMJ Therpy

A misaligned jaw is when the mandible is too big or too small to evenly line up the upper and lower teeth. Sometimes, the upper arch is at fault. Either way, it’s a bad bite that can’t be corrected by straightening the teeth with orthodontics.

The solution is to surgically correct the jaw positioning.

Do you think that you or a family member may need jaw surgery?

Signs You May Need Jaw Alignment Treatment

  • Excessive enamel wear
  • Open bite (upper and lower teeth do not meet)
  • Jaw protrudes out
  • Chin is receded into your neck
  • Chronic dry mouth
  • Difficulty keeping lips closed together
  • TMJ pain
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Sleep apnea
  • Facial imbalance

What You Should Know About Jaw Surgery

Realigning your jaw isn’t something you can just opt for in hopes of improving your facial profile. It’s far more than a cosmetic procedure.

Jaw alignment surgery tends to be a last resort since it’s so drastic. Dentists and oral surgeons will only recommend it once it’s clear that braces will be insufficient to correct your bite. Additionally, surgery is indicated if poor jaw alignment causes intense pain or affects the way your TMJ functions in daily life.

Opting to have jaw surgery isn’t an overnight process. You may need to have some orthodontic treatment before the operation as well as afterwards. It can take years to see the results you want, so you have to be patient and be willing to invest in the time required.

Professional Jaw Evaluation

If you want to find out whether jaw alignment surgery is a reasonable treatment option for you, then contact an experienced oral surgeon in your area for a consultation.

Posted on behalf of:
Wayne G. Suway, DDS, MAGD
1820 The Exchange SE #600
Atlanta, GA 30339
(770) 953-1752

Sep
9

Jaw Reconstruction – What to Expect

Posted in TMJ Therpy

You may need jaw reconstruction if you were born with abnormal jaw development. Injury, cancer, and arthritis are other reasons people get jaw surgery. Even a person’s genetic influence can play a part in jaw problems.

Jaw reconstruction is done when the jaw’s shape results in:

  • Difficulty eating
  • Wear or fractures in teeth
  • Facial imbalance
  • Sleep apnea
  • TMD pain
  • Crooked teeth that no braces can fix

Before you undergo orthognathic surgery, you want to know what to expect.

It’s a Long Process

Orthognathic surgery (to correct developmental problems in particular) requires a lot of preparation. Braces may have to be worn to help align the teeth as much as possible before the surgery. Including that and healing time, your entire journey to a more functional jaw could take as long as two years. Be prepared for a long-term commitment.

No Scars

The good news is that nothing will show when you have jaw surgery. It’s all done from the inside. So while jaw surgery is pretty big, it won’t look like your face has been patched up. Bone plates and screws will help hold your jaw in its new position and these are all hidden underneath the skin.

You’ll Need Time to Recover

Jaw surgery if often an outpatient procedure performed with mild sedation. But you will need lots of rest in the days to come. Plan to take off anywhere from one to three weeks from work or school to allow your body to rest. You may not notice a big difference right away, due to mild swelling, but your jaw will start to look better in the months following the surgery.

Consult your dentist or oral surgeon for more details on what orthognathic surgery could mean for you.

Posted on behalf of:
Gold Hill Dentistry
2848 Pleasant Road #104
Fort Mill,  South Carolina 29708
(803) 566-8055

Mar
6

Can Crooked Teeth Cause TMJ Disorder?

Posted in TMJ Therpy

Your TMJ (temporomandibular joint) is the hinge-like joint that is your jaw. When that joint malfunctions or gets inflamed, the condition is called TMJD, TMD, or temporomandibular joint disorder.

Is there any connection between having crooked teeth and developing a painful jaw dysfunction?

Tooth Alignment Matters

Tooth alignment involves more than looks alone. The positioning of your teeth impacts the health of your entire mouth.

For example, cavity-causing bacteria can hide out in the tight spaces between overlapping teeth.

But the problems don’t stop there.

“Natural” tooth alignment isn’t something an orthodontist just made up. When teeth come in nice and straight, this allows them to equally interact in the chewing process. Straight teeth improve the function and balance of your bite.

How is Your TMJ Involved?

If crooked teeth are experiencing uneven pressure during biting and chewing, then this means that the joint moving those teeth is also affected.

Sometimes, a tooth out of alignment may meet the opposing teeth sooner than its neighbors. This can mean that the jaw is closing sooner on one side than on the other.

To illustrate, imagine what it would feel like to chew on just one side of your mouth all the time.

That’s what can happen to your jaw if crooked teeth are throwing your bite out of balance. One side gets worked harder than the other. Over time, the stress can lead to major problems.

What should you do?

If you suspect that you have any symptoms of TMD like pain, stiffness, or limited jaw opening, contact your dentist. Find out how your bite may be affecting your TMJ. Your dentist or orthodontist can use braces to correct bite problems that cause or aggravate TMD.  Orthodontic treatment could be the ticket to a more comfortable smile.

Posted on behalf of:
Broad Street Braces
2010 South Juniper Street
Philadelphia, PA 19148
213-234-3030

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
27

How to Prevent TMJ Problems

Posted in TMJ Therpy

Your TMJ (temporomandibular joint) is easy to take for granted until something goes wrong.

TMJ pain is almost impossible to live with. The discomfort can interfere with normal daily activities like chewing, yawning, talking, and laughing. To make matters worse, diagnosing the cause of a TMJ disorder and then treating it is very difficult.

So if you have no complaints so far, then now is the perfect time to make sure you’re taking good care of your jaw in order to avoid TMJ problems.

Relax

Stress is a major factor in TMJ issues. Tension can cause you to unconsciously clench your teeth and jaw muscles. This is just another great reason to make sure you’re getting plenty of sleep and eating well.

De-stress before bedtime with a cup of soothing herbal tea, a warm bath, or some relaxing music.

Get a Mouthguard

A teeth clenching and grinding habit taxes the TMJ and most often occurs during sleep. If you have this habit, then a night guard may help you limit the stress your jaw experiences.

Choose Not to Chew

Of course, you don’t want to never use your jaw. That would put on the fast-track to weakening. But it’s a good idea to occasionally evaluate just how much you work that joint.

Do you regularly chew on ice cubes from your drink? Do you constantly have a piece of gum in your mouth? When your jaw frequently engages in such activities, it can weaken and cause wear on the joint. Excessively strong cheek muscles can also put a strain on the TMJ.

How is your TMJ doing? Find out by scheduling a visit with your dentist or oral surgeon.

Posted on behalf of:
Les Belles NYC Dentistry
420 Lexington Ave #228
New York, NY 10170
212-804-8884

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

Jan
9

3 Ways Orthodontic Treatment Can Ease TMJ Pain

Posted in TMJ Therpy

An estimated 10 million Americans are suffering from jaw-related pain. Are you one of the thousands of people seeking relief? You’re probably wondering where to begin. How about with your child’s orthodontist?

Although this may seem like an unlikely resource for your TMJ disorder, these dental experts could actually help you find relief in a few different ways:

  1. Medicate Safely

After taking a look at your jaw and assessing its range of motion, an orthodontist can make some suggestions. Rather than self-medicating, you should ask an orthodontist how to treat the problem at its root cause. If medication is necessary, a medical professional will give you an appropriate prescription. 

  1. Straighten Your Teeth

Obviously, this is what you would expect an orthodontist to specialize in. But how can this help you out with jaw pain?

Severely misaligned teeth could be forcing your jaw to work overtime with unnatural motions. Over time, your TMJ will become fatigued. Straightening your teeth could free up your jaw to slide more fluidly and evenly.

Who knows? A few months in localized braces could help your bite to close more completely and comfortably than ever before.

  1. Create a Custom Jaw Splint

Sometimes, a simple splint or mouthguard is enough to keep your jaw from experiencing too much stress. An appliance can prevent your teeth from closing together and grinding side to side. Even if you don’t know of an orthodontist who makes these, your local dentist will have an idea.

Why wait any longer? If you’ve just about had it with TMJ pain, then it’s time to plan a visit to an orthodontic office.

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

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

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