Archive | TMJ

Have TMJ? Why You May Want to Consider Veneers

Dental VeneersTemporomandibular Joint Disorder, or TMJ, can cause patients a host of problems including pain, swelling, stiffness, popping of the jaw, earaches, and the inability to chew foods like steak and chewing gum. However, TMJ can also cause interference with things like braces. How exactly can TMJ affect your ability to get braces and what are some of the alternatives? Read on to learn more.

The Problem With Traditional Braces

Depending on the severity of your TMJ and just how bad the damage is, braces may be a no-go to help straighten your otherwise crooked smile. Because during the straightening process the jaw is often moved in order to help with the overall alignment process, it can place an undue amount of pressure on the temporomandibular joint— in return exacerbating any of the symptoms that you may already be experiencing. However, just because you do have TMJ doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to get braces. During your initial consultation with Dr. Janice Scott, you will receive an x-ray that will help determine just how bad your TMJ is and if you are a decent candidate for braces. If you are deemed as an unsuitable candidate for braces, veneers may be a good option for you.

The Next Best Thing

Did you know that veneers can be used to help with not only the size, color, and shape of your teeth but also how straight they are? If you are an unsuitable candidate for traditional braces due to your TMJ, then Dr. Janice Scott may recommend that you look into dental veneers. Dental veneers involve filing down your original teeth and then placing a porcelain veneer directly on top of them with a dental adhesive. By both looking and acting like your natural teeth, dental veneers provide patients with the perfect way to straighten their smile without having to mess with their jaw.

If you have TMJ and are wanting to get your teeth straightened, you may have to consider getting dental veneers. However, you won’t be able to fully determine what is best for you until after you receive a dental exam. To learn more, contact Dr. Janice Scott.



How to Treat a TMJ Flare Up

TMJ treatments stockton caTMJ or Temporomandibular Joint Disorders are jaw disorders that affects both the jaw bone and the muscles around it— leaving you with the inability to open your mouth very wide, chew certain types of foods, or move your jaw from side-to-side. Although not much is known about the cause behind TMJ, it is known that factors like stress can cause a flare up to occur. If you notice that your jaw is starting to hurt, feel sore, or is acting up, try following these three tips in order to calm down your flare-up and get back to feeling like your normal self once again.

  1. Move It Side To Side

Much like your body needs to stretch after a good workout, your jaw needs to stretch as well. If you notice that your jaw is starting to feel tense and tight, try to slowly move it side to side. If you notice that it is catching or getting caught, slowly work through it until it is loosened up. You can also try opening and closing your mom repeatedly in order to loosen up your jaw as well.

  1. Avoid Hard Foods

If you’re like many people and enjoy a nice juicy steak, you’re going to hate this suggestion. But during a TMJ flare up, it’s important to avoid hard to chew foods like steak, chewing gum, apples, carrots, celery, etc. When you are eating these foods, you are putting a lot of strain on your jaw and jaw muscles— in turn, leaving your jaw feeling completely out of whack and likely very sore for days to come.

  1. Heat It Up

After a long day at work, help your TMJ calm down by using a heat pack. Look for a heat pack that is made of rice or corn— you can even make one yourself— as these materials easily mold to your face without causing any sort of extreme discomfort. The heat will help your jaw to loosen up and will leave you feeling more relaxed than before. Try heating it every hour for about ten minutes or until you notice that your jaw is starting to loosen up.

To learn more about TMJ, contact our office today!

4 Things to Know About TMD

TMD Stockton CA

It’s estimated that around 10 million Americans are affected by TMD.  If you think you or a loved one is suffering from TMD, here are 4 facts about the disorder that you may not already know.

What is TMD?

Temporomandibular joint dysfunction or TMD, is a condition that involves the joint that attaches the jawbone to the skull. The condition produces various unpleasant symptoms such as jaw pain, headaches, or even chronic ear pain. If left untreated, TMD can cause severe pain making it difficult to eat or speak, or can even result in a locked jaw. However, just because you are suffering from some sort of jaw discomfort, it doesn’t automatically mean that you are suffering from TMD.

How do You Treat TMD?

Typically when you’re first diagnosed with TMD, mild-treatment is recommended such as eating soft foods, applying ice and heat, and even taking an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication. If the condition persists, medications or even a mouth-guard are recommended. Although sometimes necessary, it is very rare for an individual suffering from TMD to have to undergo any sort of oral surgery.

How is TMD Caused?

One of the leading causes of TMD is the grinding of teeth during sleep or stressful situations. However, this isn’t the only cause of TMD, and research is still being conducted as to the root of this condition. Other causes of TMD include direct impact to the jaw or extreme clenching caused by stress.

How is TMD Diagnosed?

TMD is typically diagnosed via a series of x-rays and a complex oral examination by a dental professional. During this examination, the dentist will massage around the jaw to find the source of pain and discomfort, and to feel for any noticeable swelling.

From the treatment to the cause of TMD, these 4 things will help you better understand the disorder and decide if it’s time for you or a loved one to visit a dental professional. If you’re suffering from extreme jaw pain or discomfort, schedule an appointment with a dentist today, because you might be suffering from TMD.

Is Your Headache a Symptom of TMJ?

TMJ stockton caAs a non-specific symptom, having headaches can mean various things. Their triggers, duration, and severity can vary wildly. But in some cases, a debilitating headache may be an indication there is something wrong with your teeth, bite, or jaw alignment. If this is the case, there’s a good chance you may be suffering from TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder.

What makes a headache a TMJ headache? Here are the classic signs:

  • There’s a clicking or popping sound when you open your jaw. A clicking noise is an indication of misalignment, particularly in the lower jaw.
  • There’s something off with your bite. As the only joint in the body that has to perfectly align when opening and closing because of the teeth within it, it’s normal for your bite to misalign when there’s something wrong with your temporomandibular joint.
  • You snore often. Snoring is a warning sign that you’re not sleeping as soundly as you should, and a misaligned lower jaw can be one of the causes of snoring. If your lower jaw is too far back, it’s likely your tongue is in the same position, which can trigger snoring.
  • Your TMJ headache is accompanied by pain at the back of the neck, temples, and the back of your head.
  • You have FHP (forward head posture). Many TMJ disorder sufferers have poor posture and FHP is the most common. FHP can be the body’s response to a bad bite.

If you’re currently seeking relief from a TMJ headache and its corresponding symptoms, seeing various health care providers rather than relying on a single medical opinion is encouraged. A dental professional is one of the health care providers who can help you explore the different treatment options for TMJ. Call us to schedule an appointment.

Dental Splints and Occlusal Guards for TMJ Pain

 The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects your skull and jawbone via a hinge-like structure that gives your jaw a considerable amount of flexibility for talking, chewing, and swallowing. In some people, this joint becomes dysfunctional, and causes severe pain not only in the joint itself, but also in the muscles and ligaments that control its movement.

TMJ pain generally has one of the following causes:

  • Injury or dislocation
  • An underlying health condition such as osteoarthritis
  • Stress-related habits like grinding the teeth or jaw-clenching
  • Incorrect jaw alignment
  • General stress in ones life

When TMJ pain is caused by stress or improper jaw alignment, the use of a simple dental device can help reduce the pain, and even eliminate it altogether.

Occlusal Guards

Many people who clench their jaw or grind their teeth in response to stress are unaware that they’re doing it, simply because it most often happens while they are asleep. Often they only become aware when it starts to cause TMJ pain or other problems that are apparent when they’re awake. If you have this problem, you may benefit from using an occlusal guard, an acrylic device shaped to fit over the upper or lower teeth, and prevent damage caused by grinding and clenching.

Wearing an occlusal guard can not only help to reduce TMJ pain—if you grind your teeth, wearing a guard can also prevent costly dental problems in the future, caused by the wearing down of tooth enamel. The device is easy to take care of, as it only requires daily cleaning with cold water. Would you rather invest in an occlusal guard/ bite guard/ splint or would you rather wait 10-20 years down the road and place 28 caps or crown on your teeth due to the excessive wear on your teeth from grinding.  I have seen teeth split that never had a cavity on it, from grinding.  I have seen the enamel “wiped away” on the top of the tooth from grinding.

A properly fitted occlusal guard will create the ideal bite in plastic.  What would you rather wear away, the enamel that God gave you or a piece of plastic?  It may be expensive and “your insurance does not cover it!”.  Many dental benefit companies do not cover occlusal guards.  Does that mean you should not have one?  Absolutely not!  Your dental health is between you and your dentist, not your dental benefits provider who is primarily concerned with profits.  A prevention now can save you costly repairs in the future.

Custom-made Splints

Improper jaw alignment can cause TMJ pain because when the upper and lower jaw don’t line up properly, the muscles that control the jaw are forced to work harder to bite and chew. This problem can be solved with the use of custom-made splints that support the jaw in a more efficient and less painful alignment.

The splints are made by taking an impression of the patient’s mouth, and using it as a mold to create a special kind of occlusal guard that is worn when you are asleep.  These bite guards should NOT be worn 24 hours a day as you may get so comfortable with your new bite, you are not able to return to your old bite without the splint without having discomfort.  If you have some stressful periods in your life, then it is OK to wear it during that time, but not full-time.  The splint is designed and shaped specifically to correct improper jaw alignment. Over time it works to realign the patient’s biting surface, which helps relieve TMJ pain because it reduces the amount of work the jaw muscles have to do.

When we are asleep, one can do much for forceful damage to our teeth and joint.  If you are grinding, an occlusal guard may be the perfect solution for you.

If you believe you may have TMJ or have other oral health concerns, please contact Deer Park Dental for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Do you grind your teeth? Do you have Jaw pain? Dental Treatment for TMJ

Janice G. Scott DDS

     Sometimes the first time we realize that we grind our teeth is when a family member comments on how LOUD we grind.  You may have noticed that your child or sibling grinds a lot. Your dentist might comment that you are showing some wear on your teeth.  Sometimes it can be seen in the back molars and sometimes on the front teeth, especially the cuspids (some people call these teeth the “eye teeth”).
     Children often grind their teeth and can wear them down a lot.  Some kids will wear their teeth close to the gum-line.  The good news is that your child’s grinding is not an indication that it will be a problem in his or her adult teeth.
     Many people find that they first start grinding when they are under a lot of stress!  It could be a new job, a death in the family, a college student going through final exams or just the everyday things that keep our lives so busy each day. Sometimes stress can change the jaw relationship (how your teeth touch each other in your mouth as you open, close, chew, swallow and grind)  from a tolerable one to one your body cannot handle.
     So how do we make things better? First, try engaging in more exercise, meditation, and other stress-relieving activities!  It is good to avoid sugar and caffeine, drink lots of water, make sure that you get enough sleep and exercise, and try to de-stress your life! (This is not always easy!)
     If that doesn’t work, sometimes an appliance, called a “bite guard,” can help.  There are many types of bite guards. Some bite guards are soft, like a sports mouth guard.  This can be helpful on some patients by just changing how your teeth touch each other.  In more severe joint disorders, this simple solution may not be good long-term. A hard or soft bite guard can also help prevent wearing away the enamel or causing sensitivity and fractures in your teeth.  It can be a lot less expensive to replace a plastic bite guard that you might wear out than to replace a tooth that is damaged from grinding.  You must also be careful as some types of bite guards, which do not touch all the teeth, can allow the teeth to drift and then your bite can change dramatically making chewing more difficult.
     Other patients with more severe wear or joint disorders and pain may need a more complex appliance.  A bite guard in this case is more like an orthopaedic appliance that will help to center the jaw joint in the socket so that is is more comfortable at night.  We call this an SRA or Superior Repositioning Appliance. It attempts to create a more ideal bite by aligning your teeth around the hard acrylic and guiding the jaw joint closer to the center of the socket. Not only can these appliances protect your teeth and joint but they can also help to relieve pain in your jaw joint by relieving pressure and swelling in the tissues around the joint.
So…. diet, nutrition, exercise and a positive atmosphere can help.
If still not better, see your dentist to see if a bite guard can help you.