Dental Tips Blog

Sep
13

6 Ways Anxiety Can Affect Your Smile

Posted in TMJ Therpy

Anxiety disorder typically involves feelings of worry or nervousness that are disproportionate to a trigger or that happen for no apparent reason. Anxiety stimulates the body’s fight-or-flight response.

Chronic anxiety takes a toll on your body. Here are some of the ways anxiety can affect your oral health.

  1. Teeth Grinding

In a tense situation, you may find yourself gritting your teeth. Chronic stress can even make you do this in your sleep. Teeth grinding loosens dental restorations, wears away tooth enamel, and puts teeth at risk of fracture.

  1. Disrupted Oral Hygiene Routine

Mental health imbalances such as anxiety can make you neglect basic brushing and flossing which are necessary for preventing disease.

  1. Substance Abuse

Untreated anxiety-sufferers are prone to abusing drugs and alcohol in an effort to calm themselves. Such substances can have serious negative effects on the mouth.

  1. Acid Erosion

There’s a close link between emotional health and digestive health. Anxiety can cause digestive distress that may lead to GERD, indigestion, or even vomiting. Stomach acids that make their way to your mouth can erode tooth enamel.

  1. TMJ Problems

Does chronic stress make you clench your jaw tightly? This can put a strain on your TMJ and cause soreness and stiffness when you chew or yawn.

  1. Dry Mouth

Anxiety can make your mouth dry out by stopping your saliva flow. The situation may worsen if you start taking an anti-anxiety medication. Certain drugs such as antidepressants have dry mouth as a side-effect. Dry mouth is uncomfortable and increases your risk for oral disease.

How can you protect your smile if you are an anxiety-sufferer? Talk with a dentist near you to find out.

Posted on behalf of:
Riverwood Dental
3350 Riverwood Pkwy #2120
Atlanta GA 30339
(770) 955-2505

Aug
5

Can Braces Cause TMJ Problems?

Posted in TMJ Therpy

Some braces wearers are convinced that braces are the cause of their jaw pain. Can braces actually cause TMJ pain, however?

What Is TMJ?

TMJ is the“temporomandibular joint.” That’s the ball-and-hinge joint that connects your lower jaw to the rest of your face. Your TMJ is responsible for actions such as chewing, speaking, and yawning.

If you experience any pain or hear clicks or pops when you move your jaw, then you may have TMJ disorder or temporomandibular disorder (TMD).

What Causes TMJ Disorder?

There is no single cause of TMJ disorder or TMD. Most of the time, degeneration seems to result from unusual wear and tear or overuse.

For example, people who grind or clench their teeth or chew a lot of gum tend to have TMJ issues.

Teeth that don’t fit together correctly can put more strain on one side of the jaw than the other. So, it is possible for crooked teeth to cause TMJ pain. But straightening teeth with braces can help to make it better.

Braces put pressure on teeth alone. They don’t need any leverage from the jaw joint to work. If anything, straightening teeth may help balance out the bite and take some stress off the TMJ.

The Painful Facts of Braces

Although they don’t cause TMJ, braces can cause some soreness. The metal brackets and wires are sharp on soft tissue like lips and cheeks. Pressure put on the tooth roots can make the gums and bone around teeth sore, but it shouldn’t affect the TMJ.

Do you want to minimize braces pain? Are you wondering if you suffer from TMD? Get answers to these questions and more by visiting your local dentist.

Posted on behalf of:
West Hill Family Dental
132 New Britain Avenue
Rocky Hill, CT 06067
(860) 563-3303

Jun
18

What Is TMJ?

Posted in TMJ Therpy

Have you ever heard someone complain that they have “TMJ?” Could you possibly have it? Here’s what you should know about the condition commonly referred to as TMJ.

What Is Your TMJ?

“TMJ” is an abbreviation that refers to the temporomandibular joint. This joint is found where your jaw attaches to your skull. There are two of these joints and you can feel them by opening and closing your jaw while pressing your fingers against either side of your head just in front of your ears.

Your TMJ is simply a normal part of your anatomy. So, what does it mean when people talking about “having” TMJ like it’s a painful condition?

Understanding TMD/TMJD

The TMJ is filled with ligaments and soft tissues that can become strained with use over time. The resulting swelling causes pain and limited jaw movement. This condition is called temporomandibular joint disorder or “TMD” (and even “TMJD”) for short. Sometimes it’s called “TMJ disorder.

When you hear someone talk about “having TMJ,” they’re not just announcing that they have a joint that you don’t. They mean that they’re suffering from pain and inflammation in their TMJ. A dentist, however, will call it “TMD.”

Do You Have TMD?

Almost everyone suffers from jaw pain at some point in their lives. Your TMJ works hard all day every day, so you may feel some discomfort after a big yawn or after several hours of chewing gum.

TMD is usually connected to other serious issues such as arthritis, a teeth-clenching habit, or even a poorly-aligned bite.

If you suffer from jaw pain on a regular basis or have limited jaw opening, then you should contact your dentist for a TMJ assessment.

Posted on behalf of:
Feather Touch Dental Care
1175 Peachtree St. NW Ste 1204
Atlanta, GA 30361
(404) 892-2097

Feb
3

5 Things You Never Realized Are Bad for Your Oral Health

Posted in TMJ Therpy

How many things on this list sound familiar to you? As it turns out, any one of the following common activities or items could cost you your smile.

A Nibbling Habit

Pen caps, fingernails, lips, and more. “Nibblers” often find something to chew on to satisfy this nervous habit. Chewing on things that aren’t food is bad for both your teeth and jaw. You risk chipping your front teeth and forcefully aligning them to get in a good nibble could put a strain on your TMJ.

Rough Tooth Brushing

More isn’t always better – not when it comes to tooth brushing, at least. Many people think that teeth are just bones and don’t realize that something as soft as toothbrush bristles could hurt them.

It is possible, however, to literally scrub away enamel after years of brushing too hard. Rough brushing can also irritate the gingiva and cause gum recession.

Dry Mouth

It’s not just uncomfortable; dry mouth is a recipe for oral health disaster. Without a healthy saliva flow, cavity-causing bacteria flourish. Thirst may also move someone to sip on sugary drinks and suck on sweet candy, both of which can worsen decay.

Orange Juice

Acidic fruits may be high in vitamin C, but eating too much can dissolve tooth enamel. Rinse out with water after eating sour fruit or fruit juice and wait a half hour before brushing away the residue.

Baking Soda Toothpaste

Baking soda makes the perfect toothpaste in a pinch and it’s the active ingredient in whitening toothpastes. The only issue is that frequent use can abrade tooth enamel and even scratch up some dental restorations.

Ask your dentist for more oral health tips to find out how to have healthy teeth for a lifetime.

Posted on behalf of :
Prime Dental Care
417 Wall St
Princeton, NJ 08540
(609) 651-8618

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

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

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