Posts for: June, 2012
The term TMD means “Temporomandibular Disorder.” But if you suffer from this disorder, it means pain. The pain can be mild or severe, acute or chronic, and it can appear to be centered in different locations, making it difficult to diagnose.
People who clench or grind their teeth because of stress often experience the pain of TMD. They might not even know they are engaging in these habits, because they do them subconsciously, for example when driving in traffic or engaging in vigorous exercise. Another cause of TMD might be an injury such as a blow to the jaw.
You can feel your temporomandibular joints working if you place your fingers in front of your ears and move your lower jaw up and down. On each side the joint is composed of an almond shaped structure at the end of the lower jaw, called the condyle, which fits neatly into a depression in the temporal bone (the bone on the side of your skull near your ear). A small disc between the two bones allows the lower jaw to move forward and sideways. The joints are stabilized by ligaments and moved by muscles.
TMD pain is the result of a process that begins when a stimulus such as psychological stress or an injury to the joint causes spasms (involuntary muscle contractions) in the muscles that move the joint. Blood vessels in the muscle begin to accumulate waste products, causing chemical changes and lactic acid buildup in the muscle. Nerves in the muscle then signal the brain to stop the movement of the jaw by registering pain.
TMD pain can appear to originate from various locations in your jaw, head, or neck. This is why it's important to make an appointment with our office for a professional assessment and diagnosis.
Treatment aims to relieve the symptoms of pain and discomfort and to prevent them from recurring in the future. Treatment can include heat, mild painkillers, muscle relaxants, soft diet, and simple jaw exercises, as well as education regarding the causes of TMD. To prevent further pain you may be provided with a “bite guard,” or referred to relaxation training with a licensed therapist. A bite guard is designed to prevent the lower teeth from biting hard into the upper teeth. It is commonly worn at night, but can also be worn during the day if clenching and grinding are apparent.
If these simpler treatments do not solve the problem, we may recommend more complex procedures such as bite adjustment or, as a last resort, surgical treatment may be needed.
For many brides and grooms, planning for their wedding is something they start weeks, months or even years in advance. Obviously for most couples, these plans include finding the perfect location, dress, reception area, florist and caterer. However, a growing number of couples (and parents of the bride and groom) are also looking to cosmetic dentistry prior to the wedding. A smile makeover to correct an issue and boost self-confidence makes sure that your wedding pictures are truly memorable.
If this sounds like you, take the first step towards the smile you have always wanted. To create your ideal smile, we will first meet with you to hear your concerns, goals, expectations and wedding day timeline. Feel free to bring in photos or magazine images of smiles that illustrate exactly what you want, do not want, as well as images of smiles that you consider beautiful. We will give you a thorough examination, review photos you bring with you and ensure that everyone understands and agrees with your smile makeover treatment decisions. You will also be informed about what you should expect immediately prior, during, and following your treatment.
We pride ourselves on using the latest technologies and techniques to restore natural-looking smiles. Our smile makeovers have a two-fold design plan in that we artistically create the cosmetic look you want while ensuring you obtain optimal functionality and oral health. After all, we all on the same team for helping you achieve the look you want for your wedding and maintaining your smile for years to come.
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No one wants to experience pain when they go to the dentist. However, are you aware that anesthesia is beneficial to both you and your dental professionals? It enables us to concentrate on doing our best work with the assurance that you are perfectly comfortable. In fact, local anesthesia has literally revolutionized pain control; it is one of the most effective tools in dentistry and medicine.
But before we continue, let's cover a few of the basics. “Anesthesia” (“ana” – without; “esthesia” – sensation) literally means without feeling or pain. “Local” refers to the site at which the anesthesia is used, in other words, where the action (and pain relief) is needed. Local anesthetics come in two varieties: topical and injectable.
We use topical anesthetics to numb just the top surface of the gums or oral lining surfaces of the mouth to provide surface comfort during procedures such as a superficial teeth cleaning. We apply them in a variety of ways: with a Q-tip, cotton swab, adhesive patch or a spray. Most importantly, we use them before administering injections (shots) so you don't feel a thing.
Injectables deliver medication though a needle that will briefly block the sensation of pain from the teeth, gums and bone. They accomplish this by temporarily blocking the conduction of electrical impulses along the nerves that supply the gums and teeth with feeling so that you can be treated comfortably. They are especially important for treatments such as filling a deep cavity, tooth cleaning or extraction, or for gum surgery.
So which anesthesia is right for you?
Depending on the type of treatment or procedure we are performing, we will select the most suitable anesthetic. However, if you normally feel anxious about your dental visits, please let us know this in advance when scheduling your appointment. Having this knowledge in advance, we can ensure that your experience is free of both anxiety and pain — a result that will make both of us happy!
To learn more about this topic, continue reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Local Anesthesia For Pain-Free Dentistry.” Or you can contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions.