Posts for: July, 2016
Most people have tightness or soreness in their jaw from time to time. These symptoms usually go away within several days and are not cause for alarm. But sometimes, the pain can become so intense that biting, chewing and even breathing is very difficult. When a child has symptoms like these, they are likely to have developed a TMJ disorder. If you're searching for a family dentist in Charlotte, NC, contact Hockaday & Baucom DDS. Here's everything you need to know about TMJ disorders.
Signs and Symptoms of TMJ
A TMJ disorder is a medical problem related to the temporomandibular joint, which is a hinge that connects your jaw to the temporal bones of your skull. A TMJ disorder can cause pain in the neck, face, head or jaw; clicking or popping sounds when closing and opening the mouth; problems biting or chewing; and a jaw that can be locked shut or locked open. TMJ disorders can affect children of any age, but are much more common in teenagers.
Causes of TMJ Disorders
A punch to the jaw or impact in a car accident can damage the cartilage disc of the joint, break the jawbone or cause dislocation of the TMJ. Bruxism (teeth grinding or jaw clenching) can trigger a TMJ disorder. Bruxism overworks the TMJ, which can cause a disc in the joint to move out of place or wear down. Stress is also thought to be a factor in developing this disorder. Strenuous physical tasks can aggravate the pain by causing overuse of jaw muscles.
Diagnosing TMJ Disorders
Our family dentists in Charlotte will examine your child and take x-rays so they can view your child's jaw, temporomandibular joints and teeth. The dentists may need to do other tests, like computer tomography or magnetic resonance imaging to confirm a TMJ disorder. The earlier a TMJ disorder is diagnosed and treated, the better.
TMJ Disorder Treatments
Successful treatment of TMJ requires case-by-case judgment, careful diagnosis, and a well-defined treatment plan. Examples of reversible TMJ treatments include: medications, jaw stretching and relaxation exercises, and stabilization splints. Examples of irreversible TMJ treatments include: adjustment of the bite by grinding the teeth, extensive dental work, mandibular repositioning splints, orthodontics and surgical procedures.
If you or your child has symptoms of a TMJ disorder, call Hockaday & Baucom DDS in Charlotte, NC at (704) 553-2348 to schedule an appointment. Our dental team is committed to providing you and your family with the best treatments possible.
As a member of the best-selling pop group Spice Girls, Mel C (AKA Sporty Spice) enjoyed her share of musical superstardom. At the band’s peak in the Nineties, the young singer’s signature look featured baggy sweatpants, an assortment of tattoos, a nose stud and a gold-capped incisor, front and center in her mouth. Today, Melanie Chisholm is still singing — but now she’s a mom, an amateur triathlete… and that gold tooth is just a memory. Not only that, her smile looks more evenly spaced and whiter than it did when she was referred to as the “tomboy” of the group.
What happened? In our view, it all boils down to changing tastes — plus a little bit of help from dental professionals. As the “wannabe” singer proves, there’s no single standard when it comes to making your teeth look their best. Your own look is unique to you — and your smile can reflect that individuality.
For example, crowns (caps) are substantial coverings that may be placed on teeth when they are being restored. They are available in three types: gold, all-porcelain, or porcelain-fused-to-metal. The latter two are tooth-colored, while the gold is — well, shiny like gold bling. Which one is right for you? In many cases, it’s your choice.
Likewise, dental veneers — wafer-thin shells that can correct cosmetic issues by covering the surface of your teeth — can be made in a variety of shades. Their hues may range from natural ivory to Hollywood white, and everything in between. What’s the best color for you? Only you can say.
Some people opt for a “smile makeover” that uses small irregularities in the spacing and color of teeth to create a more “natural” look. Other folks want a perfectly even, brilliant white smile that dazzles the eye. Still others are looking to match or restore the smile they once had — perhaps even re-creating a signature gap between the teeth. As long as there are no other dental issues involved, the choice is yours.
So if you’re unhappy with your smile — or if you feel it doesn’t reflect the person you “wannabe” — why not talk to us about a smile makeover? Just call our office to schedule a consultation. You can learn more about this topic in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Beautiful Smiles by Design” and “The Impact of a Smile Makeover.”
While they're resilient, your child's teeth aren't invincible. Daily hygiene and regular dental visits are important, but you should also be alert for problems and take action when they arise.
Here are 4 areas that could cause problems for your child's teeth, and what you should do — or not do — if you encounter them.
Teething. This is a normal experience as your child's first teeth erupt through the gums. The gums become tender and painful, causing constant gnawing, drooling, disturbed sleep and similar symptoms. You can help relieve discomfort by letting them bite on a chilled (not frozen) teething ring or a cold, wet washcloth. Pain relievers like ibuprofen in appropriate dosages can also help — but don't apply ice, alcohol or numbing agents containing Benzocaine directly to the gums.
Toothache. Tooth pain could be a sign of decay, so you should see us for an examination. In the meantime you can help relieve pain with a warm-water rinse, a cold compress to the outside of the face, or appropriately-dosed pain relievers. If the pain is intense or persists overnight, see us no later than the next day if possible.
Swollen or bleeding gums. If you notice your child's gums are red and swollen or easily bleed during brushing, they could have periodontal (gum) disease. This is an infection caused by bacterial plaque, a thin film of food particles that build up on the teeth. You can stop plaque buildup by helping them practice effective, daily brushing and flossing. If they're showing symptoms, though, see us for an exam. In the meantime, be sure they continue to gently brush their teeth, even if their gums are irritated.
Chipped, cracked or knocked out tooth. If your child's teeth are injured, you should see us immediately. If part of the tooth has broken off, try to retrieve the broken pieces and bring them with you. If it's a permanent tooth that was knocked out, pick it up by the crown (not the root), rinse it with clean water and attempt to place it back in the socket. If you can't, bring the tooth with you in a container with clean water or milk. The sooner you see us, the better the chances for saving the tooth — minutes count.