Everything You Need to Know About TMJ Pain

Everything You Need to Know About TMJ Pain

TMJ pain affects an estimated 15 percent of Americans and can cause a variety of issues, from headaches to tooth damage. But what does it mean? And what does it mean for your mouth? Here’s everything you need to know about TMJ pain and TMD.

What does TMJ stand for?

TMJ is an acronym for the temporomandibular joints, which include the jaw muscles and joints that work the jaw, allowing you to open and close your mouth and to chew, swallow, and talk.

The TMJ are located on each side of the face and are ball and socket joints with a complicated network of discs, bones, ligaments, and muscles that work together to allow the jaw to move.

What does TMD stand for?

TMD is an acronym for temporomandibular joint dysfunction or temporomandibular disorder, sometimes also referred to as a TMJ disorder. Any issue that causes pain during or interferes with the function of the TMJ can be referred to as TMD.

What causes TMD?

TMD can be caused by a variety of issues, including misalignment of the teeth or jaws, injury, dislocation of the jaw, arthritis, and stress (which can cause grinding or clenching the teeth).

What are the symptoms of TMD?

A major symptom of a TMD is TMJ pain. TMD can also cause tenderness in the jaw muscle, clicking or popping of the joints, or difficulty moving the jaw.  

How do you treat TMD?

TMJ disorders can be treated with various methods, depending on the cause of the disorder. Your dentist may recommend that you quit chewing gum, eat soft foods, or use heat to ease the pain. You may be fitted for a night guard or bite plate, which can prevent tooth grinding and clenching.

If your TMD symptoms are caused by stress, you may need to use relaxation techniques to reduce stress and relieve tension on the jaw. If your teeth or jaw is not properly aligned, you may be prescribed orthodontic treatment to correct the misalignment. In cases of arthritic TMJ pain, anti-inflammatory or arthritis medication may ease your symptoms.

Should I see a dentist for my TMJ pain?

Absolutely. Only by seeing a dentist can the cause of your TMJ pain be diagnosed and the course of treatment be undertaken to ease your TMJ pain.

Are you experiencing tooth or mouth pain that you think may be caused by TMJ issues? Schedule an appointment with Weber, Mountford & Ruszkowski Family Dentistry.

Want a Whiter Smile for Holiday Parties? Here’s What You Should Know About Whitening

Want a Whiter Smile for Holiday Parties? Here’s What You Should Know About Whitening

This time of year calls for a lot of smiling, from family photos for Christmas cards to pretending you liked the gift you got from your in-laws to greeting your friends, family, and coworkers at holiday parties. With so many opportunities to show off your pearly whites, you want a white smile. Here’s what you should know about whitening:

Over-the-Counter Treatments

There are lots of whitening products available over-the-counter at your local drugstore. These include whitening toothpaste, mouthwashes, strips, gel and trays, and light systems. They also range in price, with toothpaste and mouthwashes at the lower end of the cost spectrum.

Some of these products include hydrogen peroxide and bleach teeth to whiten them. Others include less harsh whitening agents just remove surface stains. Peroxide products are going to be more effective, but they can also cause sensitivity. Additionally, while these products can help you whiten your smile and prevent staining, they aren’t as effective as treatments your dentist can prescribe.

Dental Treatments

There are also whitening treatments available to you through your dentist. These include gel and tray systems, similar to what you can get from the drugstore, but stronger and more effective, as well as high-powered light systems. Some of these may involve in-office treatments, while some may just be whitening products prescribed to you by your dentist.

Weber, Mountford & Ruszkowski Family Dentistry offers Zoom! Whitening treatments. The in-office Zoom! treatment is a one-time, 90-minute session in the dental office with the Zoom! Whitening lamp, plus custom-fit bleaching trays and a six-month supply of bleaching gel for touch-ups. There is also a “take home” Zoom! treatment, which includes custom bleaching trays and a two-week supply of bleaching gel. Both of these treatments contain desensitizers to reduce sensitivity from bleaching and can whiten your teeth up to eight shades!

Ready for a whiter, brighter smile for the holidays? Weber, Mountford & Ruszkowski Family Dentistry offers in-home and in-office Zoom! Whitening treatments to help you get a whiter smile in no time!

Are Dental X-Rays Safe for Children?

Are Dental X-Rays Safe for Children?

Nowadays we are much more aware of the effects of chemicals and radiation on our bodies, we can have some warranted skepticism about the way we expose ourselves to these things, and the hazards to which we expose our kids. X-rays are one of these things that may cause concern. Are dental x-rays safe for children? Here’s what you should know:

Radiation

X-rays are a form of radiation that is passed through the body in order to create an image of the bones. When x-ray technology was first discovered, the level of radiation used was high, and in some cases toxic.

That is not the case today. The level of radiation in dental x-rays is low enough to be considered very safe, and is, in fact, comparable to the level of environmental radiation that we are exposed to on an everyday basis. Even though dental x-rays occur near the brain, they don’t put your children at increased danger.

Dental issues

The risk of x-rays is not only mitigated by the fact that they’re no more significant than the radiation in our environment, it’s overwhelmingly overruled but the risk incurred by not getting dental x-rays. Teeth are the only exposed bone surfaces in the human body, and as such, they are very susceptible to damage and very important to protect.

Adults suffer tooth decay and cavities, and children are even more susceptible to these issues since they are less skilled in taking care of their dental hygiene and often actively avoid brushing and flossing their teeth. They also might not notice when something is wrong with their teeth. For these reasons, it’s absolutely crucial children get dental x-rays on a regular schedule, along with dental cleanings.

Is it time your kids got their x-rays or six-month checkup? Set up an appointment today with Weber, Mountford & Ruszkowski Family Dentistry!

Could Your Bad Breath Be a Sign of Something Worse?

Could Your Bad Breath Be a Sign of Something Worse?

Bad breath is in and of itself a problem: it’s unpleasant, unattractive, and can affect your interactions with others. But sometimes bad breath is more than a sign of bad hygiene, it’s a symptom of an underlying problem or health condition.

What causes bad breath?

Bad breath, or halitosis, can be caused by a few different things. It can be caused by something as harmless as foods with strong odors, like garlic or onion, or food being trapped between teeth that need to be brushed or flossed out. But it can have some more sinister causes, including tooth decay or gum disease. Using alcohol-based mouthwashes can also exacerbate bad breath. Even though they claim to freshen your breath, the alcohol dries out the mouth, which can make your breath smell even worse.

Other medical problems can cause bad breath as well, particularly those that involve digestion, stomach, or liver issues. Dry mouth due to dehydration, mouth breathing, or medicinal side effects can cause bad breath, as can infections such as strep throat, tonsillitis, and sinusitis.

How do you find out what’s causing bad breath?

First, make sure you’re dental hygiene habits are up to snuff. Bad breath isn’t always a sign of a deeper medical issue, so before you panic, make sure that you’re brushing your teeth at least twice daily, flossing every day to get out the tricky bits of food, and that you brush your tongue when brushing your teeth—food particles and residue can get stuck on your tongue, too. Also, consider what you eat. If you eat a lot of stinky foods, cut back for a time to see if that makes a difference in your halitosis.

If your dental hygiene is amazing and you still have bad breath, then it’s time to see a dentist. Your dentist can confirm that your oral care routine is working (and if it’s not, can help you fix it) and determine whether the issue is caused by something else. If it’s an issue of gum disease, dry mouth, or tooth decay, that’s something your dentist can catch and treat. For other issues, they will be able to recommend that you see a doctor who can thoroughly diagnose your issue.

Is it time you found a solution to your bad breath? Whether it’s from dry mouth, diet, or something more serious, we can help! Set up an appointment today with Weber, Mountford & Ruszkowski Family Dentistry.

How to Take Care of Your Oral Health During Pregnancy

How to Take Care of Your Oral Health During Pregnancy

While your oral health is always important, just like other aspects of your health, it’s particularly important during pregnancy. There are myriad dental concerns that can arise with pregnancy that you should be aware of before and during pregnancy.

Gum Disease

New research suggests that women with gum disease who become pregnant are at a higher risk for having premature babies who are at a low birth weight. This might occur because gum disease causes increased levels of the fluids that induce labor. While this hasn’t been definitively proven, you should keep gum disease in check by practicing good dental hygiene and having regular dental checkups.

Morning Sickness

Vomiting from morning sickness can have more than just an effect on your stomach and your appetite. The stomach acid and bile in sick can erode the enamel of your teeth. After episodes of morning sickness, rinse your mouth with water and either brush your teeth or use a mouthwash with fluoride to cut acid levels and fortify your teeth.

Dry Mouth

Many pregnant women experience dry mouth, which can put them at risk for tooth decay and infection (not to mention bad breath!). Staying hydrated with water and chewing sugarless gum can help alleviate the symptoms of dry mouth, but if it gets too severe or uncomfortable, your dentist can help find a mouthwash or other solution.

Red or Bleeding Gums—”Pregnancy Gingivitis”

Many pregnant women also find that their gums appear more red than normal or bleed very easily during tooth brushing; some even have severe gum swelling and bleeding. All of these symptoms are signs of “pregnancy gingivitis,” a common experience beginning as early as the second month of pregnancy. These symptoms occur due to the increase in estrogen and progesterone, which enhance the gums’ reaction to irritation. Good oral hygiene, including brushing twice a day and flossing daily are the best ways to handle these symptoms.

 

If you have concerns about your dental health at any point in your pregnancy, don’t hesitate to see a dentist. Set up an appointment today with Weber, Mountford & Ruszkowski Family Dentistry!