TMJ, or temporomandibular joint disorder, affects the joints that connect the lower jaw and the skull. Early symptoms can be mild, but the condition can become severely painful and affect normal functioning. Here is a deeper look at what TMJ patients may experience.
As inflammation develops in the jaw joints, TMJ patients may notice clicking sounds and sensations when they open or close their mouth. Some visible inflammation may be present in the form of swelling around the area.
Pain may only be slight in the early stages of TMJ, but it can become severe over time. At first, pain may only be present directly in the jaw joints. As the condition progresses, patients may also have pain surrounding in the neck, face, and shoulders.
Finally, TMJ may progress to the point that patients cannot open or close their mouth for a time, otherwise known as lock jaw. The joints are essentially swollen to the point of debility at this stage. With early treatment from our dentist in Houston, patients will be less likely to reach this stage of TMJ.
Many treatments are available for TMJ depending on the cause. At a consultation with our TMJ dentist in Houston, patients can find out about the options.
Gum disease has two stages – moderate and severe, otherwise known as gingivitis and periodontitis. While gingivitis can be reversed with rigorous daily oral care, periodontitis is a serious condition. It can cause bleeding, tender, and bleeding gum tissue, as well as heart conditions, stroke, and diabetes. Fortunately, our Houston dentist can perform several treatments and procedures to eliminate periodontitis and reverse its effects.
The first method used to combat severe gum disease, other than increased at home care, is a deep cleaning. A deep cleaning is also called a scaling and root planing, or SRP. It involves removing built up plaque just above and just below the gum line.
If a scaling and root planing is not successful, a few different surgical methods can be used. Gum flap surgery is a more invasive way to remove plaque. Our expert in periodontics will make an incision in order to remove plaque from the tooth root surfaces. They can also use this time to mend the bone if the disease has led to jaw bone loss. A gum grafting can also be performed to replace lost gum tissue.
Our dentist will work with you in order to plan your gum disease treatment.
Bruxism is the habitual clenching and grinding of the teeth. This typically occurs at night during sleep, meaning patients often do not realize they are doing it. If it does come to your attention, it is important that it is treated by an expert as soon as possible, as untreated bruxism can lead to serious negative effects.
Bruxism can lead to:
- Headaches (bruxism patients can experience three times as many headaches than those without the habit)
- Ear aches
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Facial myalgia (aching jaw and facial muscles)
- Lock jaw or consistent difficulty opening the mouth
- Sleep disruption of either the patient or a sleep partner
- Tightness in the shoulders
- Excess tooth mobility
- Inflamed and/or receding gums
Long term effects include tooth wear and breakage due to the repeated pressure and friction. Developing TMJ, temporomandibular joint disease, is also a common side effect. TMJ is a condition in the jaw joints that leads to many of the above symptoms, as well as others.
Seeing our Houston dentist for treatment is necessary to eliminate these risks. A mouth guard is the typical form of treatment. This is custom designed to you, and fits perfectly in place around your teeth. This prevents your teeth from contacting those opposite and causing any further damage.
Our teeth are meant to last us our whole lives, but sometimes issues occur that requires the removal of a tooth. Our Houston dentists will always recommend keeping your tooth and restoring it over any other option, but if it is unhealthy beyond proper and/or full repair, it is better if it is extracted.
Tooth extraction is necessary if a tooth has suffered physical damage that has affected its inner layer, where the pulp (nerves, tissue, and blood vessels) resides. It is also necessary if it has become infected and a root canal treatment has not been successful. Furthermore, a tooth can suffer so much decay that it is no longer strong enough, on its own or with a restoration.
Dental extraction is a fairly simple process. Our expert in tooth extraction in Houston will use a tool to clamp the tooth, and move it from slide to side. This loosens it from its ligaments gradually until it can be removed. Teeth that are difficult to extract may need to come out in pieces. Several restorations may be available to replace the tooth, including partial dentures, dental bridges, and dental implants.
If you have a tooth that is not healthy enough to function properly, it may need to be extracted. Contact our office today.
Patients will be happy to know that tooth bonding is the easiest and least expensive dental treatment today. It is used in the field of cosmetic dentistry to correct aesthetic issues and perfect the look of the teeth.
Our cosmetic dentists in Houston will recommend dental bonding for several reasons. It can be used to change the shape of the teeth, such as to make them longer or wider. Bonding can also be used cover damage, such as dips and crevices in dental enamel, as well as cracks and chips. It is also a great way to fill in spaces between teeth without utilizing an orthodontic appliance. Teeth that feature intrinsic stains can be covered with dental bonding when teeth whitening treatment won’t be effective.
The dental bonding material is a composite resin that matches the color of dental enamel. Our expert in tooth bonding in Houston molds and shapes it in order to fill in space properly and flush. After it is in place, they polish it to match the natural sheen of the teeth.
After your teeth are perfected with tooth bonding, it is best to avoid smoking, as well as staining foods and drinks, as composite resin can become discolored.
Although teeth are generally durable, they can still break under the right circumstances. When this occurs, you can encourage the best possible recovery by taking certain steps. Here is what to do right away and what type of treatment options you might have for a dental emergency in Houston.
What to Do Immediately
As soon as you can, contact our dentist to schedule an emergency appointment. If your tooth has been knocked loose or if a large piece has broken off, put the tooth or piece in your cheek to keep it moist and protected until your visit. Use ice or anti-inflammatory medication to control pain.
Possible Treatment Options
A tiny chip may only require bonding, but more severe breakage is an emergency and will need more treatment. An onlay, crown, or root canal may be recommended to seal and protect the tooth. Some knocked-out teeth can be put back in place. Finally, some severe breakage may make tooth extraction necessary.
Getting the treatment you need without delay is often key in preventing complications from tooth breakage. Fortunately, a full range of treatments is offered at our office to address breakage of any severity. You can contact our dentist for treating a broken tooth in Houston to learn more about addressing these situations.
Tooth recontouring is a treatment that falls within the category of cosmetic dentistry. It is the reshaping and restructuring of one or more teeth. It is also referred to as ondoplasty, slandering, and stripping. You might be interested in this treatment if you would like to:
• Fix chips
• Smooth out bulges or pits in enamel
• Adjust slightly irregular shaped teeth caused by crowding or irregular growth
• Reshape the canines, which can be too pointed
Our Houston cosmetic dentist often performs this procedure in order to create more harmony and balance in the smile and face. Reshaping teeth that feature dips and pits is also a preventive treatment, as bacteria, plaque, and tartar can accumulate in these spaces.
Patients with teeth that have serious issues that affect their dental or oral health should be treated appropriately, as opposed to simply being recontoured. Though not a substitute for veneers or bonding, it is often used in combination.
The process begins with an exam with our expert in tooth recontouring in Houston, during which your candidacy is determined. A sanding disk or diamond bur is used to remove small bits of enamel. Sandpaper is sometimes used to reach the area in between teeth. The tooth or teeth are then polished.