Are you experiencing pain in your mouth, ear, jaw, or the entire right or left side of your face? Do you feel pain when trying to chew or talk? Are you experiencing muscle spasms, locking joints and severe headaches? If you are undergoing one or more of these symptoms, you could be suffering from TMJ disorder.
Below we will discuss TMJ disorder, the causes, symptoms and treatment options.
What is TMJ?
TMJ, also known as the temporomandibular joint, is a hinge that connects at the joint of the jaw and the skull, connecting the temporal bone and lower jaw. There is a temporomandibular joint located on the left and right sides of your jaw. Its primary function is to allow the jaw bone to open and close when you are chewing and talking.
If the temporomandibular joints are working correctly, both will be functioning in harmony, without pain, when you are opening and closing your mouth.
What is TMJ Disorder?
TMJ disorder is when the joints are not working in synchronized motions as you are opening and closing your mouth. The joint may twist or slide when the jaw is making the open and close motions, causing pain to your mouth, jaw, face, or all three.
TMJ affects everyone differently; some people experience chronic pain in multiple areas, while others may not.
This condition is also known to be more common in women than in men.
What Causes TMJ Disorder?
It is exigent to determine the actual cause of TMJ disorder. Experts suggest that there are several reasons behind the origin of TMJ disorder, such as:
Genetics – Researchers have primarily looked at genes related to how people respond to stress, since stress is a possible cause for TMJ disorder. A genetic cause does not mean if your mother had TMJ disorder due to stress then you will too; it merely means your chances are a bit higher to develop TMJ disorder at some point.
Jaw Injury – This refers to any damage, such as high impact, to the jaw affecting temporomandibular joints.
Arthritis – Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints that can affect the function of the temporomandibular joints.
Osteoarthritis– This is known as a degenerative joint disease that causes the deterioration of cartilage.
Bruxism – Also known as grinding the teeth, bruxism primarily happens while a person is sleeping and can lead to inflammation and pain in the temporomandibular joints.
Clenching – This can take place while awake or sleep. Clenching of the teeth is closely linked to stress.
Physical Activity – Severe vigorous physical activity can cause TMJ disorder; this can also be associated with physical stress on the body.
What Are the Symptoms of TMJ Disorder?
As mentioned previously, most people that are suffering from TMJ disorder have pain in their mouth, ear, or jaw. They may also experience the locking or spasm of muscles.
Other symptoms include:
Difficulty opening/closing the mouth
Clicking or popping when opening/closing the mouth
How Can I Treat TMJ Disorder?
There are a variety of treatment options available, depending on the level of pain you are experiencing and the cause of TMJ disorder.
The pain associated with TMJ disorder can generally be treated with over the counter medications, such as ibuprofen, however some people may experience more chronic pain and require prescription painkillers or muscle relaxers to alleviate the pain.
In some severe cases, surgery may be a treatment option, though surgery is never the firstrecommended treatment option.
Is It Possible to Avoid TMJ Disorder?
There are a few suggestions available to avoid TMJ disorder:
Take smaller bites when eating
Avoid chewing gum
Avoid biting hard objects (e.g. fingernails & pen lids)
Apply moist heat when experiencing muscle spasms
When Should I Seek Medical Care for TMJ Disorder?
Everyone’s case of TMJ is different, so knowing when to seek medical care will vary case to case. In most instances, TMJ disorder can be treated at home, however, if over the counter medications do not eliminate the pain then it is advised to seek medical care.
If a person’s jaw is stuck in the open or closed position, it is advised to seek immediate medical care as well.
I Think I Have TMJ Disorder – Is It Permanent?
TMJ disorder is not considered a permanent condition. TMJ generally goes away with the appropriate treatment, but the disorder can come back in times of stress or if reinjured.
Be sure to follow up with a medical professional and follow the treatment plan you have in place.
Contact us at Lifetime Dental Health at 614-333-9442, our professional dental staff will be more than happy to assist you with your dental concerns.
As summer grows near, most people are looking forward to some well-deserved relaxation. During this time, you are primarily concentrating on picking the perfect destination, the best time to travel and even arranging an intense, yet flawless vacation schedule to fully enjoy yourself.
Often we seem to overlook a thing or two during the craziness of vacationing; even though oral hygiene probably takes less time to complete than most of your daily tasks, it is one of the most common activities that seem to be easily overlooked during vacation.
Below we will discuss the importance of executing proper oral care; which will include five super simple tips that will help you stay on top of your oral hygiene while on vacation.
Why is it important?
Daily oral hygiene is essential because it helps eliminate bacteria that can lead to bad breath, gum disease, and even tooth decay. As recommended, you should brush and floss at least twice a day to make sure you are adequately cleaning your teeth and gums.
Once you have this type of positive oral cleaning routine, you do not want to fall out of habit, especially because of a vacation. Just going one to three days without brushing and flossing can cause severe plaque buildup, although it may take more than one to three days for a cavity to develop.
However, if you happen to lose your routine and get out of the habit of the proper daily oral care, it may make it easier to skip a day here and thereafter you return from vacation, which will eventually lead to more serious dental issues down the road!
How can I stay on top of oral hygiene while vacationing?
Acknowledge the importance of healthy teeth
First, you want to recognize the importance of having healthy teeth. If you can agree that keeping your teeth clean is just as important and essential to life as eating or drinking, then you will be more likely not to omit to complete the task as needed.
Bring your dental kits
As you are packing, be sure to include your toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and mouthwash. It is recommended that when you pack your dental supplies to pack the travel sizes. Doing this helps you pack light and makes less of a hassle.
If you happen to forget to pack your toothbrush, or maybe the kids left it at the last destination, do not fret, most hotels have complimentary toothbrushes and toothpaste at the front desk.
Another suggestion would be to make sure and pack a few extra travel size dental supplies, just in case you find yourself in a pinch.
Bring some bottled water
Depending on where you are traveling or how you are traveling, bottled water can be essential to have.
For example, if you are driving for an extended period of time and there are not any rest stops available to brush your teeth after you had your morning coffee, then having a bottle of water would definitely be beneficial. It would only take a few moments to find a place to stop and brush your teeth, using your travel size dental kit and bottled water to rinse when you were done.
Bottled water would also be beneficial if you were in an area that did not have clean drinking water. You do not want to brush your teeth with water you cannot drink!
Don’t over-do it on the sugar
It is your vacation, so you should definitely enjoy the new foods you may encounter during your trip.
You don’t have to steer clear of your favorite sweet treats either. However, you want to be sure not to overindulge on the sugary treats. No matter how delicious or how “well deserved” the sugary sweetness may be, any sugar can contribute to tooth decay.
If possible, keep fruits, nuts, and other low sugar snack options for enjoying in between your vacation style meals.
Be prepared for dental emergencies
No one plans to experience a dental emergency, such as chipped teeth or gum abscesses, but we all know that life happens and it is possible. You always want to be prepared for a dental emergency in any situation, but especially while on vacation!
While vacationing, you should plan ahead and locate the dentist offices closest to where you will be staying.
You should also carry your dental information with you. That way if you were to experience a dental emergency, you would easily be able to provide the applicable information to the dentist office, and ultimately expedite your care.
What did we learn today?
Overall you can enjoy a relaxing, successful vacation without omitting your oral hygiene care. If you realize the importance of including a proper oral hygiene routine in your vacation planning, it will not feel as if you are not doing any extra work. Also, the tips listed above will help you jump-start the process and help put your mind at ease.
Call us today at Lifetime Dental Health at 614-333-9106 to schedule your check-up before vacation, or if you have any summer dental hygiene questions.
Summer is time for frolicking in the sun, a little less work (hopefully), and more time spent with family whenever possible. There are trips to the beach, lazily lounging poolside, and soaking up the sun…carefully, of course. But what about going to the dentist? Everyone does that, right? While a visit to the dentist is not usually on the summer “bucket list,” it ought to be, and here’s why.
My Oral Health Can Wait ‘Til Fall… Can’t I Take The Summer Off?
You may not feel like throwing in the beach towel and booking an appointment with the dentist, but summer gives you no excuse to get lazy about oral care. The entire family needs to fit in the time to be seen for a general check-up, as much as you would rather pack up for a family picnic or a trip to the park. Oral health maintenance is a year-round matter, and taking the summer season off could only make things worse come fall, and for the future. Even if no one in the family is feeling tooth pain or having other oral issues, being proactive means that regular dental visits should not be skipped come summer. After all, your teeth do not know what season it is, so treat them well 365 days per year.
The Kids Are Going Away For The Season To Summer Camp. Should We See The Dentist Before They’re Off?
By all means, bring the kids in for a check-up before they go away to camp. Once they are off for the summer, they may not have access to decent dental care until they are back home. This means a cavity, crack, or other issues will remain unchecked, potentially worsen, and cause the child pain or discomfort. Even if there is a dentist available at their camp or close by, kids may not mention they are having issues because they do not want to miss out on the camp fun with the other kids. As you plan for their summer camp departure, be sure to put “Make an appointment with Lifetime Dental Health” on your to-do list. If they have already left for camp, remind your kids to brush and floss regularly (as always), and if they notice a problem, to alert their camp counselor right away. Once the kids return home, be sure to book a visit with us as soon as possible so we can prevent additional issues from arising and repair anything necessary. And remember, along with your care packages, include a brand new toothbrush, a tube of toothpaste, and some dental floss. A little nudge will remind the kids to take care of their teeth while at camp.
My Whole Family Loves Summer Snacking. The Treats Are Too Good To Pass Up. Are There Foods To Avoid Altogether?
“Everything in moderation” is always a good goal to keep in mind when it comes to snacking, but there are some foods specific to summer that are not the best for your teeth. Those ooey gooey campfire roasted marshmallows can stick to the surface of the teeth, so brush them as soon as you can after enjoying those sweet s’mores. The same goes for the tasty treats you will get off the ice cream truck. Sugary frosty cold drinks sure hit the spot when the sun is blazing and you’re drenched in sweat, but they will also wreak havoc on your teeth if you do not practice good oral hygiene after slurping them up. Enjoy your favorite summertime foods, but be sure to care for your teeth with the same level of enthusiasm. It doesn’t take long to make a difference.
Summer is not a time to slack off in terms of dental health; it is just too important to neglect, no matter the season. The whole family can focus on summer fun, but bring the topic of oral care to the table too. The kids will follow in their parents’ footsteps, so be a good role model and book your dental appointment this summer at Lifetime Dental Health. We are a family-friendly practice with patients of all ages. Your family will be in the best of hands at Lifetime Dental Health and Drs. Barry and Love can’t wait to see you, so kick off your summer with a smile that is as healthy as can be.
Book an appointment for a check-up for yourself and the rest of your family as soon as possible by calling 614-333-9106. Our front desk staff will find you a slot ASAP, we’ll fit you in, then you can get back to your summer adventures. ‘Til then, take care of your teeth at home – summertime and anytime — by brushing, flossing, rinsing, and eating right. It is up to you to stay healthy, and we’re your proactive and preventative partner in making a positive impact on your family.
Snoring is often poked fun at, but it’s no laughing matter. Around 90 million Americans experience snoring nightly. For half of those people, snoring may be a sign of a dangerous sleep disorder called Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Obstructive sleep apnea always causes loud snoring, but loud snoring isn’t always a sign of obstructive sleep apnea. Snoring in the absence of OSA is referred to as primary snoring. Snoring due to OSA is bad news by any measure.
What causes snoring?
Snoring is caused when the tissues in the back of the throat relax to an extreme degree. These tissues slide partially into the airway, where they vibrate when air passes across them. The severity of a person’s snoring is affected by their build, weight and many other factors.
How is snoring due to sleep apnea different?
In Obstructive Sleep Apnea, a person’s breathing slows or even stops. “Apnea” itself refers to a temporary halt in breathing. The brain senses a sharp, rapid rise in carbon dioxide and rouses the sleeper briefly, so briefly that there’s no memory of the sleep interruption. Sleep returns immediately upon the resumption of normal breathing. This pattern occurs over and over during the night, from a few times to hundreds of instances. Unlike primary snoring, sleep apnea is caused by a fundamental failure of a primary life sustaining function—in this case, breathing.
Snoring in OSA sounds different from primary snoring. Snoring in OSA is very loud, followed by silence due to the airway being choked off by the back of the tongue and tissues in the lower oral cavity. Next, loud gasping and choking noises following, sometimes accompanied by snorting or half-formed vocalizations.
Sleep quality with OSA is abysmal. OSA causes the release of stress hormones that put immense pressure on the heart and major blood vessels. OSA contributes to high blood pressure, daytime tiredness, chronic fatigue, and even depression. People with OSA tend to gain weight, which makes their situation even worse. OSA leads to metabolic syndrome, in which nutrients aren’t efficiently processed or absorbed by the body. Work performance suffers because of OSA and interpersonal relationships suffer. OSA also may lead to congestive heart failure, atrial fibrillation, heart attack, and stroke. The above disorders are all primary risks of OSA.
Sometimes OSA causes breathing to stop for more than a minute. Lack of fresh oxygen injures organs and tissues on a microscopic but cumulative level. The brain uses almost one-quarter of the freshly oxygenated blood in the body at any given time. A drop in oxygen impairs brain function, causing impairments in memory, mental clarity, and retention of information.
There are more concerns. Lack of consistent, restful, regenerative sleep leads to a marked drop in concentration and coordination, which can cause accidents. People may nod off in episodes of micro-sleep
How is primary snoring treated? What about OSA?
Primary snoring can be treated by over-the-counter nasal strips and sleeping in different positions. Reducing alcohol intake sometimes relieves primary snoring. In cases of OSA, several options are available. In the case of an obese patient, weight loss can relieve pressure on throat tissue. Large tonsils and adenoidal tissues can be removed to open up air passages. The CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) device is the most common and best treatment. CPAP uses a small air blower, which forces a steady stream of air onto the face of the wearer via tubing and a mask. Although CPAP treatment is effective, sleeping with a CPAP machine is challenging. Many people find it awkward and uncomfortable.
There are newer devices on the market that use different technology to alleviate sleep apnea, such as the Expiratory Positive Airway Pressure device (EPAP). Provent, an EPAP system, uses nasal plugs with tiny valves that partially close during exhalation, generating pressure in the airway that keeps it from closing. Provent requires no masks, no electricity and is portable. Provent requires a prescription.
Mouthpieces are also available that treat OSA. They help your throat to stay open by gently moving your jaw forward, which in some cases is enough to relieve obstructive sleep apnea. If you want to try this
approach, you’ll be referred to a dentist who specializes in sleep medicine to be custom-fitted for a mouthguard.
EPAP and primary snoring
The FDA has approved the Theravent snore therapy system for use as an over-the-counter primary snoring treatment. Theravent devices fit over the nostril, creating positive pressure that keeps the airway open when exhaling.
Get help for OSA
No one should dismiss snoring as an unavoidable annoyance. There’s at least a fifty percent chance a snorer has obstructive sleep apnea. A physician can make an accurate diagnosis, most often through a sleep study. There’s no reason to give up on getting the best sleep of your life. With diagnosis and treatment, all the harm from OSA can be prevented.
Consult our professionals at Lifetime Dental Health if you are a snorer, and we can discuss possible next steps to get you the sleep you deserve!
When you’re thinking of making out your New Year’s resolutions this January, consider adding improved oral hygiene to your list. Brushing and flossing daily is a great way to prevent cavities and gum disease, as well as maintaining an appealing smile. Making a habit of good oral hygiene will save you time, money and discomfort!
Flossing keeps your gums healthy and invigorated while removing food particles and plaque from between teeth and beneath the top of the gumline. Toothbrushes just can’t reach between teeth as effectively as good quality dental floss can. Flossing is essential to the prevention of plaque buildup. Plaque is a sticky film of decaying particles of food and bacteria that eat those particles. In doing so, they release toxins that attack the gums. Plaque must be brushed and flossed away, or it will turn into tartar. Tartar is also filled with bacteria that produce toxins that irritate and damage the gums. Daily flossing removes plaque as well as stimulating blood circulation in the gum tissues. Oral irrigators, sometimes called water picks, aren’t as helpful as dental floss, but they can remove food particles from between teeth. Plaque is very sticky and needs floss to remove it. Once plaque hardens into tartar, it takes a dentist to remove it.
If your gums bleed during flossing, you may have gingivitis. Gingivitis is the first phase of periodontal disease, but take heart. Gingivitis is reversible. Two weeks of daily gentle flossing and brushing should return your gums to health.
The signs of periodontal disease include receding, swollen and bleeding gums. Pay attention to the appearance of your gums as you floss and you’ll be able to get ahead of any problems.
Use a high-quality toothbrush
Always use a soft-bristled brush, whether you’re using a manual or electric toothbrush. Your goal is to brush away plaque and food debris, not scrub it off. Scrubbing with a stiff-bristled brush abrades gum tissue and puts unnecessary wear and tear on your enamel. Aggressive brushing can cause gum tissue to recede or even become infected.
High-quality electric toothbrushes tend to be more effective at removing plaque than manual brushes. The result is healthier teeth and gums. Most electric toothbrushes have interchangeable heads and offer separate modes for regular brushing, brushing sensitive teeth, etc.
Get a professional cleaning twice a year
As with all issues surrounding healthcare, prevention is worth its weight in gold. Twice yearly visits to your dental hygienist helps keep your smile appealing and healthy. Regular cleanings remove tartar, which can build up in hard-to-reach places even with conscientious flossing. Sometimes tartar can build up along the roots of your teeth, which requires a procedure called scaling and planing. Scaling removes tartar beneath the gum line, while root planing helps smooth the tooth roots to make them less vulnerable to plaque and tartar accumulation.
Smoking damages gums and other oral tissues. Smoking causes the gums to thin and pull away from teeth while causing pockets to develop between the gums and teeth. Plaque and tartar accumulate easily in those pockets and cause tooth loss. Smoking tends to dry up saliva, which deprives the mouth of natural protection from bacteria.
Consider limiting staining beverages
Beverages that are darkly pigmented like red wine, tea and coffee stain teeth. Enamel is filled with microscopic tubules that trap staining material easily. Daily brushing will remove surface stains, but the stains trapped in the enamel’s tubules must be removed by your dentist. However, there are many over-the-counter whitening products that work, albeit much more slowly and less effectively than professional whitening.
You can find whitening toothpastes, gel pens, whitening strips and more that offer up different benefits. These products work best when you use them consistently. Make sure that any whitening toothpaste you use has fluoride. If it doesn’t, you will need to brush with a separate fluoride paste.
Drink plenty of water every day and limit sugary drinks
The best drink for your teeth (and the rest of you) is water. It irritates your oral tissues, helps dislodge food particles, and washes at least some bacteria away. Tap water is superior to bottled water for your teeth because it has fluoride. Bottled water may or may not have any fluoride, and while we can’t argue its purity, teeth need fluoridated water.
Drink as few sugary beverages as possible, and that includes sports drinks and diet sodas. If you drink something like a soda, it’s vital for the health of your teeth that you rinse your mouth out vigorously with water, then brush as soon as you can. People rarely do that, and the sugar from a soda or sports drink lies on teeth, giving bacteria a ready-to-devour food source. Diet soda isn’t a big improvement. Sodas that contain phosphoric acid break down the structure of enamel on a microscopic level, giving cavity-causing bacteria places to thrive.
Brush your teeth twice daily
It’s an absolute must to brush your teeth daily. Brush 30 minutes after meals and before bedtime. Don’t forget to gently brush your tongue.
Most New Year’s Resolutions don’t make it past the end of January but make this year your best year ever for great oral hygiene. Your teeth and mouth will thank you!
If you want to jumpstart this year’s dental health with a checkup, call us to set up an appointment!
Have you ever felt pain in your jaw joint or the muscles around it? The trouble could be the temporomandibular joint. This joint assists in talking and chewing. Any damage or injury to this joint may lead to TMJ Disorder. Treatment, on time, can eliminate any risks that may be associated with it.
What is a temporomandibular joint?
A temporomandibular joint or TMJ is the synovial type of hinge joint present on both sides of the head. It includes the jaw bone, muscles, and ligaments which all work together to help mouth movements. The TMJ works in an all-way motion. Firstly, is the top-down motion to help to open and close the mouth. The second one is called the ‘translation motion’ which is specific for the lower jaw movements. This movement enables a person to eat or talk.
What movements usually are possible at TMJ?
Since TMJ is a hinge type of synovial joint, it allows extension and flexion. Extension in TMJ shows as depression of the jaw and flexion is the elevation of the jaw. Apart from these, it also allows some degree ofgliding and rotational movements. The muscles of mastication accompany these movements. Hence, TMJ has a significant role in the chewing process as well. The muscles of mastication include temporal, masseter, medial and lateral pterygoids. They have their attachments on the bones taking part in TMJ, so their movements cause the movement of TMJ and chewing also occurs as a result.
What is TMD?
Temporomandibular joint disorders or dysfunction is abbreviated is TMD. It is a broad term which involves the problem in the temporomandibular joint and its muscles. Most common symptoms of TMD include pain in the jaw, difficult or painful chewing, and pain in the teeth. It is also known as the central sensitivity syndrome or sometimes functional disorder coming under the umbrella of fibromyalgia. It involves musculoskeletal, neuromuscular and even rheumatologic problems resulting in TMD.
Who is more prone to TMD?
Exact causes of TMD are not known yet. But as mentioned earlier, TMD is sometimes considered under a central sensitivity syndrome and attributed to a low threshold for pain like fibromyalgia. Some rheumatologic disorders may also involve TMJ for example, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. They can cause pain and restricted movement in the joint. Some genetic and hormonal disorders may also cause TMD. Trauma may also result in injury or dislocation of the joint and cause severe symptoms. Psychological factors like excessive stress, anxiety and sleep deprivation are also important risk factors for the development of Temporomandibular Joint Disorders.
What is TMJ dislocation and how is it treated?
In TMJ dislocation may occur during yawning or taking a big bite of food. This causes extended contraction of the lateral pterygoid muscles attached to the joint capsule and articular disc of TMJ. Excessive contraction results dislocation of the head of the mandible from the joint’s anterior aspect. You can’t elevate your jaw to normal position, and it freezes in a depressed state. Sometimes, during a fight, side blow to the jaw causes lateral dislocation of the joint. Blows can also result in fractures of the mandible making the situation more complicated. Relocation, bandaging of the joint and good painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs are used for the treatment of TMJ dislocation.Lifetime Dental provides detailed information and expert solutions for the treatment of TMJ Disorder.
What is arthritis of the TMJ?
Inflammatory joint conditions like osteoarthritis also involve TMJ and cause the symptoms of TMD. Degenerative diseases of the joint cause disabling situation and dental complications for the patient. Dental occlusion and joint clicking are also known as crepitus are one of the complexities of TMJ arthritis. Clicking movement of the joint is due to the anterior disc of the joint which shows delayed movements. These sounds are heard during the elevation and depression of the jaw.
What are the ways to diagnose TMD?
There is a specific diagnostic criterion for the TMD diagnosis formulated in 1992 known as RDC/TMD. It stands for Research Diagnostic Criteria method for Temporomandibular joint disorder. In 1997, it was revised. The major points of the criteria are as follows:
Recurring pain in the jaw during chewing and around the ear during the joint function.
Mandibular movements appear to be asymmetric.
Pain is present for at least three months.
Radiologic diagnosis of the TMD is also possible if the joint and bones are directly involved. X-rays and MRI is considered for the diagnosis. Bone scintigraphy is another way to know the TMJ disorder. Headaches are also strongly associated with TMD.
What is the best way to manage TMD?
Management of TMD is complex and may require a multi-disciplinary approach. Mostly, the cause of TMD is treated if easily identified. For neurological and functional pain disorder, behavior and cognitive therapy are beneficial. Muscle relaxation techniques, hypnosis, and yoga help soothe the pain in patients. Intra-oral appliances or bite plates are placed as splints to fit into the upper and lower jaw. Physiotherapy is also provided for such patients as this helps in regaining the lost mobility most safely. Medication may range from simple painkillers to anti-consultants and anti-depressants. Surgery, if required, in some cases of TMD may be performed.Lifetime Dental provides in-depth guidance on how to manage TMJ Disorder.
What is Bruxism and how is it associated with TMD?
Teeth’s grinding during sleep is called bruxism. Patient clenches and grinds his teeth during sleep and is unaware of this condition. When he wakes up, he complains symptoms just like TMD. Some psychological and CNS problems are associated with bruxism, but the exact cause is unknown. Research is still ongoing to find out whether bruxism and TMD have any association. But one thing is for sure that Bruxism aggravates TMD.
Lifetime Dental provides you with the best treatments for your problems. Access to more information onour website.
Felt pain in your jaw? Call our practice right now!