Dental Tips Blog

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

Apr
29

Do You Have TMJ Disorder?

Posted in TMJ Therpy

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJD) is a condition that affects many adults. There’s a lot of confusion about the condition, and many people are unsure whether or not they have it (or they think they do, but it’s actually another problem!) TMJD has several classic symptoms that overlap with other types of orofacial conditions.

Popping or Locking of the Joint

Jaw popping or locking in place indicates that something is out of alignment. The jaw could potentially become locked open or shut for an extended period of time, requiring a professional’s help to reposition it. 

Deviation when Opening and Closing

If the jaw is functioning improperly, it could be due to damage within the joint. This would case the jaw to deviate to one side or the other when opening and closing. 

Severe Pain

Overuse of the jaw joint can cause pain, but if regular things like eating breakfast or talking become painful, then it’s time to have your dentist see what is wrong. Using warm compresses and pain relievers can alleviate temporary pain.

To determine whether or not you truly have a TMJ disorder, your dentist will need to conduct an exam. It could be that chronic clenching or grinding is causing the excessive strain of the joint. This will be determined by palpating your facial muscles, feeling the joint move and assessing the wear patterns on your teeth. A bite splint is usually effective at preventing stress-induced TMJ pain that is caused by clenching and grinding. Some dentists also offer services like Botox or muscle relaxers if the condition is truly restricted to the joint itself. Schedule an exam with your dentist for the pain relief that you deserve.

Posted on behalf of:
Kennesaw Mountain Dental Associates
1815 Old 41 Hwy NW #310
Kennesaw, GA 30152
(770) 927-7751

Feb
4

Is Stress Destroying Your Smile?

Everyday stress like work, traffic or busy schedules can make us experience tightness of the jaw and teeth clenching. It’s just one of the ways that some of us handle a stressful lifestyle. Unfortunately if we experience this day after day, our teeth can suffer from it. Even though tooth enamel is the hardest thing in our bodies, when it’s worn against itself over and over it can cause problems like:

  • Broken or chipped teeth
  • Worn, flat tooth edges
  • Broken restorations
  • TMJ disorders
  • Headaches
  • Muscle pain

Since wear and fractures are irreversible, it’s best to stop them from happening in the first place. Your dentist can screen for minor areas of wear at each of your dental checkups to see if this is a problem. Some of these areas will show up on the chewing surfaces while others look like worn or broken enamel along the gumlines. Monitoring this wear as well as assessing the areas around your TMJ can determine if grinding or clenching is becoming a significant concern. If it is, you’ll need to take some steps to keep it from getting worse.

Wearing an occlusal guard at night or during stressful times of the day (such as your work commute) can prevent tooth damage and also reduce the strain on your TMJ. Each mouth guard is custom fitted so that it feels comfortable while also staying securely in place whenever you’re wearing it. The durable acrylic material keeps the teeth slightly apart, which eliminates wear and disengages the TMJ muscles.

If you suspect that you’re beginning to experience side effects of grinding or clenching, let your dentist know right away.

Posted on behalf of:
Mitzi Morris, DMD, PC
1295 Hembree Rd B202
Roswell, GA 30076
(770) 475-6767

Jul
17

Bite Analysis

Posted in TMJ Therpy

How you bite is not something that most people give much consideration to, until, that is, their jaws begin to ache. Optimal bite and jaw position are essential in dental care. Known technically as “occlusion,” bite analysis and correction is extremely important as the foundation of dentistry. How the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) functions in the mouth will determine how the teeth fit together and work. When the jaw joints are misaligned, it results in an uneven distribution of biting forces and is considered to be a major factor for TMJ syndrome.

Improper bite alignment can cause pain in the mouth and jaw as well as the deterioration of teeth. When teeth do not fit together properly in the mouth they can push against each other when a person closes his/her mouth. This causes force against the TMJ, and repeated force can cause soreness, discomfort, and even severe pain in many patients. The wearing down of the tooth enamel is also a negative factor in malocclusion (improper bite).

Dentists have found a link between teeth grinding and malocclusion. Teeth grinding can cause severe headaches, sleep loss, jaw pain, and other symptoms. TMJ can also cause many of the same symptoms, and both teeth grinding and TMJ can be caused by malocclusion.

Having a bite analysis done by your dentist is the first step in correcting the misalignment of your bite. A bite analysis is a computer based assessment that looks at how the teeth in a person’s mouth fit together. It can show bite problems on a detailed, digital screen that can not be seen by a visual exam.

You don’t have to suffer from TMJ pain, headaches, or excessive tooth wear. Talk with your doctor about having a bite analysis performed to help your mouth fit, and feel, its best.

Posted on behalf of Dr. James C. Kincaid

Google

Dec
18

Dental Factors that Contribute to Headaches

Posted in Mouth Guards

Are headaches becoming a way of life? Do you find yourself waking up in the morning with headaches, or developing them randomly throughout the day along with tenseness in your face, neck, and shoulders? If that’s the case, your headaches may have an underlying cause that is related to your teeth or oral tissues.

TMJ disorder is one of the most common orofacial related causes of headaches and muscle pain through the neck and shoulders. If you have under increased stress, you may find that you tense or tighten the joint throughout the day or when you sleep. This strains the muscles around the jaw or TMJ area, radiating pain throughout the surrounding tissues. Wearing a bite guard to help guide your jaw into a relaxation position can eliminate this tension.

Grinding your teeth throughout the day or when you sleep will also cause strain on the TMJ. A bite splint can prevent your teeth from closing tightly against one another, and reducing the amount of pressure put in your muscles. It will also prevent severe wear of the tooth enamel, which is a common result of untreated grinding or bruxism.

Severe tooth malocclusion, or misaligned teeth and jaws, can cause abnormal functioning of the jaw and muscles in the head. You use your mouth thousands of times a day to talk, eat, laugh, and smile. Repetitive use of the mouth when it does not function properly can cause strain. An improper bite relationship can stress muscles and wear down joints. By correcting your bite through orthodontic therapy or oral surgery, you can benefit from proper functioning as well as increased appearance of your teeth.

Posted on behalf of Dr. James C. Kincaid

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