October 10, 2012
The jaw joint is located just in front of each ear. It is a complex joint, and has many muscles controlling it. Many people experience severe pain in and around the joint for a number of reasons. The pain can be sharp right in the area of the joint, or it may feel like an earache. It may be persistent, and often severe, headaches result. People with TMJ problems may also experience muscles spasms in the neck, back or shoulders.
A bad bite, or persistent grinding or clenching of teeth can cause TMJ. Grinding and clenching seems to be related to stress. Correcting a poor bite and reducing stress in our lives would be ideal options, however we often need relief immediately.
Basically grinding, clenching and a bad bite cause the muscles that control the jaw to be overworked, they get fatigued and go into spasm. That is when the pain begins. An appliance can be made to wear over the teeth that will allow the muscles to rest and reduce the symptoms. Various medications can also help reduce the pain, as well as massage of the muscles, moist heat, and even physical therapy can help.
If you experience any of the above symptoms, it is not wise to ignore them, or attempt to cope with them on your own. It can get worse, without warning, and permanent damage to the joint can result, which may require surgery. The best thing to do is call our office immediately to be evaluated and get you on the road to recovery and relief.
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Are you in desperate need of dental care, but too afraid to go to the dentist? Are you facing extensive treatment which you cannot fathom without being “out”? You are not alone. For our patients who need that extra help to relax, we offer both inhalation and oral sedation.
How it works
First, we always review your medical history to determine if you are a suitable candidate. Then depending on what level of sedation you require, we offer either Nitrous (laughing gas) sedation or Oral (valium like drugs) sedation.
Nitrous Sedation– Nitrous Oxide or “Laughing Gas” is one of the safest forms of sedation available and can take the anxiety out of most routine dental procedures and cleanings. Non-allergenic and non-irritating, most patients feel the onset effects within minutes and these effects are completely reversed within about 5 minutes of gas termination. At the end of the procedure, you can safely drive home or go to work.
Almost anyone can have nitrous oxide treatment. We can vary the depth of sedation depending on your level of anxiety. Most importantly, you will feel relaxed as we care for you. The laughing gas is administered through a simple rubber hood that rests on your nose providing a feeling of numbness, security, and warmth. At or near the end of your treatment, we will provide you with 100% oxygen so you will feel completely normal within 5-10 minutes. At that point, you are ready to leave the office independently.
Oral Sedation- If cleared by your MD, you are given a pill to take one hour prior to your dental appointment. You will need a companion to drive you to and from the dental office. The pill works quickly to create a relaxed state so you will be drowsy when you arrive. During treatment, your vital signs will be monitored while you are in a sleep-like state. You will be able to respond to any given commands or questions, but will not likely recall events while the drug is in effect. This is ideal for the dental phobic patient.
Beyond creating an optimal environment for you, sedation dentistry allows us to complete multiple treatments in one appointment. You can relax while we improve your smile.”
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Oral cancer is a dangerous, yet somewhat preventable, type of cancer. It kills more people nationwide than either cervical or skin (melanoma) cancer, and only half of all patients diagnosed will survive more than five years. The most common risk factors for oral cancer are tobacco use, frequent high quantity alcohol consumption, constant sunlight exposure, habitual cheek or lip biting, or poorly fitting dentures. Although 80-90% of oral cancers are found in people who use tobacco and/or drink alcohol excessively, 25% of oral cancers occur in people who have no risk factors at all.
Your dentist could very well be your #1 soldier in the fight against oral cancer. Statistics show in about 10% of patients, dentists notice a problem area first. During a regular dental check-up, your dentist will examine your entire mouth, searching for a flat, painless, white or red spot or small sore. Other signs of oral cancer can include:
- A sore that bleeds easily or does not heal
- A color change of the oral tissues
- A lump, thickening, rough spot, crust or small, eroded area
- Pain, tenderness or numbness anywhere in the mouth or on the lips.
Two different tests are used to determine if the spot is cancerous or not. A brush biopsy is a painless test performed on areas that look harmless or do not have a clear cause. This test can detect potentially dangerous cells when the disease is still at an early stage. A scalpel biopsy, which requires local anesthesia, is usually performed on suspicious and dangerous looking areas. Remember to visit your dentist regularly. If you notice any unusual changes in your mouth, call your dentist immediately. Together you and your dentist can fight and win the battle against oral cancer.
The Oral Cancer Foundation
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How Your Oral Health Affects Your General Health
If you think about it, it makes perfect sense: poor oral health is linked to poor physical health. How so? Well, consider the big picture: your mouth is the gateway into the rest of the body and its systems. If the mouth has a chronic infection or disease, then your entire body may be indirectly or directly exposed to those bacteria. Not to mention your ability to eat is compromised and also your nutrition. Furthermore, the resources needed for your general health to function will be diverted to handle the chronic infection, weakening the overall natural protection your other systems typically enjoy. Research documents connections between gum disease and poor heart health, resulting in increased risk of stroke, as well as diabetes, problem pregnancies, respiratory diseases and osteoporosis in women. What’s more, some studies indicate that those who lose all their natural teeth may have a much shorter life span.
So what’s the answer? If you want to up your odds of a happy, healthy life, treat your body with respect and put your money (and effort) where your mouth is. Try starting with the basics: learn the latest tips, techniques and tools for top notch oral hygiene, when you are here for you next cleaning appointment. Then, branch out: incorporate a healthy diet, exercise, fresh air, and regular rest. Eliminate unhealthy habits that are counterproductive. And remember, taking care of your teeth means better well-being, and it means your body will be better able to take care of itself.
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At least 80% of the population has some degree of gum disease and most don’t know it. Gum disease is responsible for up to 70% of adult tooth loss, and it does not give clear warning signs that an untrained eye would notice. A dentist or hygienist must do a thorough and complete examination to detect it; especially in it’s early stages. Gum disease is similar to high blood pressure, or heart disease, by the time the person who has it notices symptoms it is in its advanced stages.
Gum disease has been implicated as causative factor in heart disease, stroke, diabetes, pre-mature births, and low birth weight. It is an infection of the gums and jawbones. The bacteria, and chemical by-products of your bodies attempt to fight the bacteria, can enter the blood stream and cause serious problems in distant parts of the body. It critical to have the teeth cleaned and a thorough examination a minimum of twice a year, and it is critical that you do a thorough job at home cleaning the teeth twice daily. The good news is that gum disease can be treated and prevented. Today there are numerous aids available to help us, which include special toothbrushes, toothpastes, rinses and even prescription medications can help. Your dentist can decide the appropriate treatment method only after examination of your condition.
Optio Dentistry module on Periodontal Disease
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It is well accepted that bacterial build up in the mouth is what causes tooth decay and gum disease. Proper brushing will clean all the visible tooth surfaces. However, the toothbrush cannot clean between the teeth at all. Various types of brushes and water irrigation devices are often used in an attempt to avoid flossing, but nothing will clean between the teeth effectively enough.
Everyone possess a different degree of manual dexterity, and everyone dental situation is different. We can help you floss effectively when you are here for you regular cleaning and examination. There are also some aids available to help people with arthritis of the hands. Again when you are here we can assess your individual situation and guide you toward better dental health.
Optio Dentistry module on Flossing
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The answer is a definite yes. Good nutrition contributes greatly to healthy teeth, gums, nervous system, and bones. By contrast, poor nutrition leads to poor dental health, lack of energy, poor self-esteem, and that relationship killer, bad breath. Your gums need proper nutrition to remain healthy and be less prone to gum disease. Poor nutrition can lead to decreased saliva flow, and that can cause extensive cavities and bad breath. Loading the mouth with a constant supply of sugars and starches allows the bacteria in the mouth to grow quickly and increase the risk of decay and gum disease. Soda is also very damaging. Not only does the sugar in soda help cause decay, but also the acids in the soda can dissolve your tooth enamel.
So what’s the solution? Eat nutritious foods, and eat mostly at mealtimes, brushing immediately afterwards. If you must snack, choose raw, low-sugar fruits, raw veggies, nuts, cheese, plain yogurts, boiled eggs, herbal teas and flavored waters. Drink up to 10 glasses of clean water per day. With consistency, evidence shows that you’ll not only please your teeth, but you’ll revitalize your entire metabolism, improving body weight, physical endurance, mental alertness, and well-being.
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It’s official. Women and men are NOT created dentally equal. Of course, good dental hygiene habits are necessary for all people, regardless of gender. But growing evidence shows women may be significantly more susceptible to serious health consequences unless they maintain a truly vigilant home hygiene campaign against tooth decay and gum disease. In fact, in every season of a woman’s life, she’s wise to take special precautions with regard to her oral health: during every monthly cycle, during pregnancy, and especially after menopause.
First, monthly hormone fluctuations result in increased salivary proteins making women prone to bad breath just prior to their monthly cycles. Pregnancy is another time for extra-vigilant dental hygiene, as a mother’s dental health impacts not only her own oral health but also on the health of her developing child, as early as six weeks after conception. Poor oral health has been linked to pre-mature and low birth weight babies. Further, the presence of periodontal disease in women is closely linked to the incidence of osteoporosis, and vice versa. Thus older women should be screened for osteoporosis and simultaneously make certain they have thorough dental examinations at least twice a year, at which time recommendations can be made to help enhance your home care effectiveness.
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What We See Is What We Get
To improve your care we’ve invested in a new way of looking into your mouth—a procedure that’s fast, and incredibly precise – digital x-rays. What’s even more amazing is that we get an image immediately that is large, clear, and accurate, right next to your chair…ready for discussion. Digital x-ray technology speeds and simplifies the diagnostic part of your treatment, and most importantly allows us to provide a much higher level of care.
Reduced Radiation, Radical Results
Digital x-rays use 50-90% less radiation than old-fashioned x-rays. Additional benefits include the elimination of old fashioned dark room chemicals. Which is better for the environment. The highly detailed image of your teeth on our computer screen, can be rotated, magnified, adjusted for contrast, and even color-coded for educational purposes. Further, we can store it on our computer files, thus saving paper. For insurance purposes, referrals or patient education, it can be accurately reproduced any number of times. In summary, digital x-rays are faster, cleaner, and allow us to provide better quality care.
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Dental pain can range from a mild sensation to your worst nightmare. The nerves in your teeth are each connected to a main nerve branch. The main nerve branches from upper and lower jaw both meet in front of your ears. Pain from a single tooth can radiate to your ear, or other parts of your head and neck. Very often it can be impossible for you to tell which tooth is giving you trouble.
Sometimes it takes serious “detective” work on the dentist’s part to locate the offending tooth. Any information you are able to provide us is helpful. It is also in your best interest to call the office as soon as you become aware of a problem developing. Waiting can only make it worse. We are here to help, and the sooner we can examine you, the sooner we can help, and ideally head off a severe episode of pain and suffering.
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