Have you ever found yourself searching the internet for “causes of jaw pain?” How about TMJ pain, jaw popping, pain when chewing, or any other discomfort or difficulty in using your jaw? You’re not alone – around 15 percent of adults have some form of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder (TMD).
You might be wondering if TMJ pain can cause problems for other areas of your body, and the answer is undoubtedly yes. Aside from headaches and dental pain there are some severe problems that can result from untreated TMD. At Really Smile Dentistry we want to help you find TMD relief not only for the sake of your smile, but for the sake of your health and quality of life as well!
Your TMJ is the spot where your jawbone meets your skull. If aligned properly it can function without problems for life, but that isn’t always the case. Changes in your bite, an injury, arthritis, a bad bite, or any number of other issues can change the way your jaw fits into your skull, and when that happens your TMJ isn’t sitting right.
When your jaw joint isn’t allowed to move like it naturally does it gets seriously painful. It pops, clicks, locks, and sends waves of pain shooting through your face, neck, and back. The longer it’s left untreated the worse it can get too!
From Bite To Body: Feeling TMD Everywhere
Referred pain is a condition where a problem in one part of the body is causing discomfort somewhere else. Take a bad foot for example: you might not be walking right, which causes pain in your hip and back as well.
It’s the same with your jaw – if it’s not allowed to function properly you WILL feel it elsewhere in your body. Where, when, and how severe it happens will vary from person to person, but the pain will come eventually!
Muscles: Just Like Dominos
Don’t think of a muscle as an isolated element of your body: think of each one as a puzzle piece that relies on all its neighbors to make things work right. When something goes wrong with a particular part of the body, like your jaw joint, it throws the muscles around it into disarray. They’re forced to adapt by acting in irregular ways, which in turn forces other muscles to change their behavior as well.
Before you know it you’re experiencing pain in your jaw, your temples, your neck, and your back – all because your jaw joint isn’t working right! The spread and severity of pain can come and go with your TMD symptoms, but all that stiffness and pain is maddening!
All those facial muscles surrounding the TMJ are also near a lot of nerves as well. When your jaw is out of alignment and your muscles are feeling irritated or stressed you can end up causing problems for your nerves as well!
Plenty of TMD patients have reported numbness and tingling in their face, neck, chest, and arms because of their jaws, which can be absolutely terrifying.
It Taps Into Your Spine Too
Stiff sore muscles cause a lot of fatigue and strain on other body parts. In the case of your back and neck that strain can result in posture problems because of the way your jaw is pulling on the muscles of your neck and face.
Over time you can develop poor posture, constant backaches, and a strained neck – all because of your jaw joint! It’s hard to believe that such a simple sounding problem can do so much, but that just goes to show you how connected every part of the body is!
Getting Relief For TMJ Pain
At Really Smile Dentistry we use a series of advanced diagnostic tests to measure your jaw function and prescribe the best treatment for your unique case. From 3D imaging and X-rays to bite tests and visual exams, we’ll be able to expertly diagnose you and get you the help you need.
We specialize in neuromuscular dentistry at our Carmel office, a process by which we find how each part of your jaw and its muscles is acting incorrectly in order to fix it permanently. Using a variety of treatments we aim to eliminate your TMD, not just treat the symptoms.
We’re confident that we can deliver permanent, effective relief to your TMJ pain. All you have to do is pick up the phone and call us at 317-451-4050 or you can request an appointment online. We hope to see you soon!
Have you recently had dental implants placed? It’s an exciting new time in your life – you’re finally able to enjoy all the foods you’ve been missing, all the smiles you’ve been afraid to show, and caring for your teeth is easier than it has been in years.
We’re thrilled to see the implant results we give the patients at our Carmel office, but placing and restoring implants isn’t the end of the process. Once implants are healed and topped with a bridge or crown there’s some special care that has to be taken to ensure that they stay healthy. While implants aren’t difficult to keep healthy there are still some specifics of caring for them that’s different than a regular tooth.
The Anatomy Of An Implant: How They’re Different
It’s obvious how an implant is physically different from a tooth: it’s a titanium screw that attaches to your jaw that’s capped with a crown or bridge. That said, there are a lot of other differences between implants and teeth that go beyond how they’re built.
One of the biggest differences between a dental implant and a tooth is how they both connect to the sockets they rest in. Teeth don’t make direct contact with your bone, and instead rely on a strong layer of tissue called the periodontal ligament. The ligament is made up of a bunch of thread-like fibers that bind to small pores in your teeth and bone, holding them firmly in place.
The periodontal ligament is also responsible for fighting gum disease and other infections as well. It runs all the way up your tooth to the gumline, and is the reason your gums hold so strongly to your teeth.
Now let’s consider dental implants: they don’t have a periodontal ligament at all. In fact, there’s no tissue between the implant and the bone it rests in. Implants are made of titanium because of its unique ability to fuse to bone. Once your implant is healed it will be perfectly integrated with your bone, forming a seal that’s strong enough to outlast almost anything.
Implants are strong, but the fact that there’s no periodontal ligament surrounding them poses its own problem: it’s much easier for bacteria to make its way beneath your gumline. The gums still hold onto the implant crown or bridge, but with much less strength than the ligament can provide. The result is a risk for a condition known as peri-implant disease.
Peri-Implant Disease: Death For Dental Implants
A healthy implant will easily last you for the rest of your life, but if peri-implant disease strikes that can all change. Similar to gum disease, peri-implant disease happens when oral bacteria gets under your gums, causing inflammation, bleeding, redness, sensitivity, and gum recession.
Since your gums aren’t bonded as firmly to your implant they recede faster, and without any other soft tissue to fight the infection it can quickly attack bone. The end result of peri-implant disease is infection, death of gum tissue, destruction of bone, and loss of implants.
When an implant is lost to peri-implant disease it’s not as simple as placing a new one: the bone that held it is either severely damaged or is gone completely. There are surgical options for regrowing lost bone tissue, but we never want to let things go that far, especially when you consider how easy it is to prevent that kind of damage!
Keeping Your Implants Healthy
As we mentioned above, caring for dental implants is a lot like caring for natural teeth. If your oral hygiene habits are good you probably never even need to worry about developing it!
- Make sure you’re brushing twice a day with a soft bristled brush. Use a toothpaste that helps fight bacteria and be sure to get all around the gumline of your implant.
- Floss every night – no exceptions. It only takes oral bacteria about 24 hours to start causing irritation to your gums, and it doesn’t take much longer for it to get below them and start spreading.
- Make sure you’re seeing us at Really Smile Dentistry for regular checkups. Even if you don’t have a single natural tooth left we still need to take care of your implants!
Your Implants Are An Investment
Having dental implants placed is an investment, both financially and for your personal happiness. Don’t let something simple like a lack of proper care leave you at a loss. Take care of your implants and they’ll take care of you right back.
Spend much time on the internet and you’re probably going to find some reference to “lifehacking.” This phenomenon stems from the idea that much of what we do has become too complicated, and that there are simple solutions available that can save time, money, and effort.
In some cases these “hacks” are true. In other cases they’re questionable at best, such as with several popular teeth whitening hacks that can be easily found online.
At Really Smile Dentistry we want you to get the smile you’ve always dreamed of. In many cases that means you’ll need professional whitening treatment, like the kind we offer at our Carmel office. Take a look at these whitening tricks for yourself, but don’t expect to get the results you’ve always wanted from them!
Peroxide And Baking Soda: Can It Whiten Teeth?
If you’ve spent any time looking into ways to whiten your teeth you’ve probably noticed that hydrogen peroxide is the best way to do it. But don’t assume that brushing your teeth with a mixture of that and baking soda will be enough to whiten your teeth – it simply isn’t!
The hydrogen peroxide gels that are used to whiten your teeth are far stronger than the stuff in that brown bottle. On top of that you won’t even have time to whiten with it – saliva neutralizes hydrogen peroxide really fast!
Baking soda, on the other hand, has been reported to have at least some minimal bleaching effect. Using it repeatedly can actually damage your enamel though, so we advise against trying to whiten your teeth with it. Leave it as a last resort for the days you run out of toothpaste instead.
Mysterious Ancient Medicine: Can It Bleach Your Smile?
In the ancient Ayurvedic medicine system there’s a practice known as oil pulling. It involves using a natural oil, like coconut oil, to clean your mouth by swishing it. After ten to twenty minutes of swishing, they say, you should have a clean set of teeth and be on your way to a whiter smile.
The reality of the situation is a bit different. Sure, oil pulling can get some bacteria off your teeth and even pull dead cells off of your gums, but it isn’t tough enough to remove stains from your teeth. The only thing you’re really going to get from oil pulling, aside from sore cheeks, is a vitamin boost from having oil in your mouth for so long.
Many oil pulling advocates believe that the practice is sufficient for regular oral hygiene, but don’t be mistaken: you need to be brushing and flossing even if you oil pull. The jury might be out on the clinical effectiveness of oil pulling, but practical knowledge says that you can skip the swishing and stick to tried and true methods.
Citrus And Bananas: Do Their Peels Contain Whitening Power?
One of the sillier rumors floating around the internet is that you can whiten your teeth by rubbing them with the inside of a banana or citrus peel. There are various reasons why one method is preferred over the other, but the results are generally the same: nothing.
Some people have reported seeing real results from banana peels, and there is a reason for that: the magnesium and potassium in banana peels can temporarily polish the surfaces of your teeth. In just a few minutes away from the mirror that shine will fade, leaving your teeth looking the same as they did before.
Citrus is just a plain bad idea. The acid in the peels – which is reportedly the thing that bleaches your teeth – causes your enamel to soften and erode just like plaque bacteria does! Repeat exposure to citrus peels as a whitener is sure to get you some kind of result: a cavity.
How To Really Whiten Your Teeth
There’s only one way that’s been proven to whiten teeth again and again: professional whitening with a hydrogen peroxide gel. When you come to our Carmel office to whiten your teeth you’re getting a system that’s custom tailored to your wants and needs, not some over-the-counter or internet DIY stuff.
We’ve been creating great, shining smiles for years at Really Smile Dentistry, and we’d love to show you what we can do with yours. We’re confident that you’ll be amazed with your new look – and all without rubbing banana peels on your face.
You would probably having a hard time finding someone who didn’t want to whiten their smile at least a bit. The stains of coffee, wine, tea, and other foods build up on our teeth and end up causing them to become dull, grey, or even yellow.
Finding a teeth whitening solution that works can seem difficult, or even impossible, but that’s because you’ve probably been looking in the wrong places. Here’s some questions to ask and things to be aware of when you want to get results the first time.
1: Does Over-The-Counter Teeth Whitening Work?
We’ve talked about this before, and the answer still stands: commercial teeth whitening kits are a crapshoot at best. While you can get results from them it’s difficult to really get what you want. There’s a number of things stacked against commercial teeth whitening kits, none of which are problems if you get whitening done at our Carmel dentist office.
- Commercial whitening isn’t as strong as the products we can prescribe. You simply won’t be able to get the same dramatic whitening we can provide.
- Whitening trays in over-the-counter kits aren’t designed to fit your mouth, so they won’t seal in whitening gel properly. This weakens the gel or completely eliminates the whitening effect!
- Whitening gels are unstable, and if they’re left to sit they’ll get weaker. Who knows how long that kit you bought has been on the shelf, but it’s not going to be as strong as something fresh!
2: What’s In My Whitening Gel And Why Does It Work?
When it comes down to real whitening with real results there’s only one thing that really does the trick: hydrogen peroxide. Professional whitening products all use hydrogen peroxide because it’s so effective at breaking down the molecules that cause stains.
Other products, like carbamide peroxide, still rely on hydrogen peroxide to do the job. Remember how we said that whitening gels left on the shelf lose strength? That’s because hydrogen peroxide is so unstable. Add a urea molecule to it, however, and you’ve got carbamide peroxide, something way more durable.
With durability comes a loss of potency, which is why professional whitening products avoid using anything besides the real deal. Check out the whitening kits at the store – most of them are carbamide, and if they aren’t they’re just weakened hydrogen peroxide. You’re losing out either way.
3: How Do I Know Professional Whitening Will Work?
Aside from the years and years of great whitening results we have to show for it there’s the added knowledge that you’re getting a plan custom tailored to your unique needs. The strength of whitening gels can vary vastly from product to product – even in the professional whitening world. That’s why we always perform an exam and consultation that allows us to select the right product for you.
When you get a professional whitening treatment at Really Smile Dentistry you’re getting something just as customized as any other treatment we provide. From the gel to the custom-made whitening trays, everything comes together to work perfectly for YOU!
4: Do I Need To Constantly Whiten My Teeth?
Let’s be realistic: no amount of bleaching, erasing, or correcting can eliminate wear and tear permanently. Your teeth get a lot of use, and there’s no way that teeth whitening is going to be permanent. As you continue to eat, drink, and live life your teeth will become stained, but whitening can turn back the clock again and again!
The teeth whitening we’re able to perform at our Carmel office breaks up stain particles and keeps your smile white and bright for a long time, but if you continue to smoke, drink coffee or wine, and eat foods that discolor your teeth you won’t have that new shade of white forever. The bottom line is that your white smile will last longer if you ditch some of those staining foods.
Real Whitening Is Possible
Whitening teeth isn’t exactly a fine science – hydrogen peroxide removes stains, period. The tricky part is getting the solution that’s strong enough for your unique needs, custom built to fit your unique mouth, and convenient enough to not be a burden.
The whitening we offer at Really Smile Dentistry is exactly that. We’re confident that you’ll love the results that you get in just a few weeks of nightly whitening treatments. Don’t wait another day to come see us – that white smile is as close as your next appointment!