Posts for: July, 2015
Find out how to fight back against your TMJ-related pain.
If you experience persistent jaw pain and stiffness, it could be caused by TMJ (temporomandibular) disorder, a condition that affects the jaw joint and muscles. If your Framingham, MA dentist has diagnosed you with TMJ then the next step is to find a treatment plan that works for you. Find out the different TMJ treatments available and how they could alleviate your pain.
When it comes to treating your TMJ pain, less is more. Try more conservative measures at first and then continue to work you way to more aggressive ones if you aren’t finding the relief you need. Here are some ways reduce TMJ symptoms:
Apply heat: Using a heat pack wrapped in a towel can help to reduce pain and jaw stiffness. Never apply the heat pack directly to skin without first wrapping with a towel. Be careful when handling anything hot so you don’t burn yourself.
Change your diet: If you notice jaw pain, particularly after eating then it may be time to examine your diet. If you have a diet rich in hard or crunchy foods than you may want to adopt a new, softer diet that contains more yogurt, cheese, soft breads, and brown rice. Don’t try to stretch your mouth to extremes to eat foods like a whole apple or large sandwich. Cut the food into more manageable slices first. Also avoid chewing gum.
Over-the-counter remedies: If you are looking for a short-term solution to your pain and inflammation then over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen can be a lifesaver from your symptoms. If your pain is so persistent and severe that OTC medications just aren’t cutting it, your Framingham, MA dentist can prescribe a stronger pain medication or muscle relaxant.
Stretching/Strengthening exercises: It might sound strange, but performing gentle jaw exercises can actually improve your jaw’s range-of-motion and stability. After your Framingham, MA dentist is able to evaluate your condition and the possible cause of your TMJ we will then be able to suggest the proper exercises to help reduce your symptoms.
If you don’t notice an improvement in your symptoms after trying these helpful hints then it’s time to see your Framingham, MA dentist for a different treatment plan. Call the office of Dr. James S. Cinamon and Dr. Paul J. Hubley today to schedule an appointment. Don’t let jaw pain take over your life.
Fans of the primetime TV show The Middle were delighted to see that high school senior Sue, played by Eden Sher, finally got her braces off at the start of Season 6. But since this popular sitcom wouldn’t be complete without some slapstick comedy, this happy event is not without its trials and tribulations: The episode ends with Sue’s whole family diving into a dumpster in search of the teen’s lost retainer. Sue finds it in the garbage and immediately pops it in her mouth. But wait — it doesn’t fit, it’s not even hers!
If you think this scenario is far-fetched, guess again. OK, maybe the part about Sue not washing the retainer upon reclaiming it was just a gag (literally and figuratively), but lost retainers are all too common. Unfortunately, they’re also expensive to replace — so they need to be handled with care. What’s the best way to do that? Retainers should be brushed daily with a soft toothbrush and liquid soap (dish soap works well), and then placed immediately back in your mouth or into the case that came with the retainer. When you are eating a meal at a restaurant, do not wrap your retainer in a napkin and leave it on the table — this is a great way to lose it! Instead, take the case with you, and keep the retainer in it while you’re eating. When you get home, brush your teeth and then put the retainer back in your mouth.
If you do lose your retainer though, let us know right away. Retention is the last step of your orthodontic treatment, and it’s extremely important. You’ve worked hard to get a beautiful smile, and no one wants to see that effort wasted. Yet if you neglect to wear your retainer as instructed, your teeth are likely to shift out of position. Why does this happen?
As you’ve seen firsthand, teeth aren’t rigidly fixed in the jaw — they can be moved in response to light and continuous force. That’s what orthodontic appliances do: apply the right amount of force in a carefully controlled manner. But there are other forces at work on your teeth that can move them in less predictable ways. For example, normal biting and chewing can, over time, cause your teeth to shift position. To get teeth to stay where they’ve been moved orthodontically, new bone needs to form around them and anchor them where they are. That will happen over time, but only if they are held in place with a retainer. That’s why it is so important to wear yours as directed — and notify us immediately if it gets lost.
And if ever you do have to dig your retainer out of a dumpster… be sure to wash it before putting in in your mouth!
If you would like more information on retainers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “The Importance of Orthodontic Retainers” and “Why Orthodontic Retainers?”
For decades, traditional braces were the only orthodontic choice for moving misaligned teeth. Although they’re quite effective, they can cause discomfort and, for teens especially, embarrassment due to their noticeable metallic appearance.
In recent years, though, technology has produced an alternative to braces that’s proven effective for many types of patients. Besides being less cumbersome and disruptive to everyday life than braces, clear aligners have another advantage that appeals to teens — they’re much less visible.
Introduced in the late 1990s, clear aligners are a system of individual trays made of nearly invisible polyurethane plastic worn over the upper teeth. The trays are computer-generated based on the patient’s individual mouth structure captured in photographs and x-rays. Each tray in the sequence is incrementally smaller in size; the patient begins wearing the first aligner in the series for about two weeks, 20 to 22 hours a day. They then switch to the next tray in the series for about the same amount of time, and continue in this fashion until they’ve worn each aligner in the series.
Besides their improvement in appearance, aligners also have another advantage: unlike traditional braces, aligners can be removed from the mouth for eating or on a limited basis for rare important social occasions. Brushing and flossing are also much easier with aligners, which don’t pose the same access problems as traditional braces.
Clear aligners were once only effective with select types of orthodontic patients, which didn’t always include teens. Over the last decade, however, significant changes to design and additional implements have widened their application to more patients, especially teens. For example, we can now add tiny “power ridges” to the aligner design that give greater precision over desired tooth movement to create a more controlled and efficient force on the teeth. More recent aligners are also being produced with a thinner, more comfortable material.
A thorough orthodontic exam will tell whether your teen is a good candidate for clear aligners. If so, they’ll benefit from a more comfortable and less embarrassing experience while gaining a new smile for life.
If you would like more information on clear aligners, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Clear Aligners for Teens.”