Posts for: November, 2016
Oral and facial clefts are among the most common and heartbreaking of birth defects. Clefts make feeding or even breathing difficult and can affect speech development.
But there's one other profound effect: an “abnormal” face caused by a cleft can have devastating consequences for a person's self-image and social relationships.
About 1 in 700 U.S. babies are born with some type of visible gap or “cleft.” It can occur in their upper lip, soft and hard palate, nose or occasionally extending to the cheek or eye region. We typically classify clefts as “unilateral” (affecting only one side of the face) or “bilateral” (affecting both sides).Â We're not completely sure on the root causes, but research so far has uncovered links with the mother's possible exposure to toxic substances, nutrient or vitamin deficiencies, or infections during fetal development.
Taking steps during pregnancy to minimize these exposures is certainly helpful. But what can be done for children born with a cleft?
A great deal, thanks to the development of surgical repair techniques over the last century. The surgical approach relies on the fact that the tissues required to repair the cleft already exist. They're simply distorted by the cleft break.
Even so, the road to restoration is a long and arduous one. Lip repairs usually take place at 3-6 months of age; palate (roof of the mouth) clefts are undertaken at 6-12 months. As the child's jaw and mouth structure develops, further surgeries may be needed to match earlier repairs with development.
Cleft repairs also require a team of specialists including a maxillofacial (oral) surgeon, orthodontist and general dentist. The latter plays an important role during the process, ensuring the child maintains good dental health through prevention and treatment of disease and dental work for at risk teeth.
The road to a normal life is difficult — but well worth it. A repaired cleft vastly improves a child's health and well-being. Moreover, it restores to them something the rest of us might take for granted — a normal face and smile.
What your dentists in Framingham want you to know
TMJ means temporomandibular joint, which is a major joint attaching your jawbone to your skull. It helps you perform important tasks like speaking and chewing your food. The TMJ is also a unique joint because it is the only joint in your body that moves in a sliding hinge motion. Because of its unique movement, it can also move out of correct alignment, causing muscle, tendon, and ligament strain and inflammation. Dr. James Cinamon and Dr. Paul Hubley at the Cinamon & Hubley Dental Practice in Framingham, MA want to share their knowledge of the TMJ.
When you have symptoms from the TMJ, you may develop a syndrome known as TMD, or temporomandibular dysfunction. Inflammation of the TMJ can lead to various signs and symptoms, including:
- Chronic headaches
- Aching, radiating facial pain
- Aching pain around or in your ear
- Jaw pain or tenderness
- Difficulty or pain while chewing or opening your mouth
- Popping or clicking when you chew
- Locking when you open and close your mouth
Your dentists in Framingham want you to try a few simple tips to get relief from TMJ symptoms. Remember to:
- Eat soft foods whenever possible
- Avoid sticky, chewy foods and chewing gum
- Avoid clenching or grinding your teeth
- Gently massage your jaw muscles several times each day
- Use ice or moist heat packs on your face and jaws
- Take pain and anti-inflammatory medication like Tylenol or ibuprofen
For stubborn TMJ symptoms that don’t respond to conservative therapy, you need to seek the help of the experts. They can help with several effective treatments including:
- Prescribing sedatives, muscle relaxants or pain medication
- Custom-made bite guards or splints
- Stretches and physical therapy
- Corticosteroid injections into the TMJ
If you think you might be suffering TMJ symptoms, don’t wait to seek out help. Early diagnosis and treatment of TMJ symptoms can keep the problem from getting worse. You deserve to live your life free of pain from TMJ symptoms. It’s time to call Dr. Cinamon and Dr. Hubley at the Cinamon & Hubley Dental Practice in Framingham, MA. Call today and feel better tomorrow!
If we could go back in time, we all probably have a few things we wish we could change. Recently, Dr. Travis Stork, emergency room physician and host of the syndicated TV show The Doctors, shared one of his do-over dreams with Dear Doctor magazine: “If I [could have] gone back and told myself as a teenager what to do, I would have worn a mouthguard, not only to protect my teeth but also to help potentially reduce risk of concussion.”
What prompted this wish? The fact that as a teenage basketball player, Stork received an elbow to the mouth that caused his two front teeth to be knocked out of place. The teeth were put back in position, but they soon became darker and began to hurt. Eventually, both were successfully restored with dental crowns. Still, it was a painful (and costly) injury — and one that could have been avoided.
You might not realize it, but when it comes to dental injuries, basketball ranks among the riskier sports. Yet it’s far from the only one. In fact, according to the American Dental Association (ADA), there are some two dozen others — including baseball, hockey, surfing and bicycling — that carry a heightened risk of dental injury. Whenever you’re playing those sports, the ADA recommends you wear a high-quality mouth guard.
Mouthguards have come a long way since they were introduced as protective equipment for boxers in the early 1900’s. Today, three different types are widely available: stock “off-the-shelf” types that come in just a few sizes; mouth-formed “boil-and-bite” types that you adapt to the general contours of your mouth; and custom-made high-quality mouthguards that are made just for you at the dental office.
Of all three types, the dentist-made mouthguards are consistently found to be the most comfortable and best-fitting, and the ones that offer your teeth the greatest protection. What’s more, recent studies suggest that custom-fabricated mouthguards can provide an additional defense against concussion — in fact, they are twice as effective as the other types. That’s why you’ll see more and more professional athletes (and plenty of amateurs as well) sporting custom-made mouthguards at games and practices.
“I would have saved myself a lot of dental heartache if I had worn a mouthguard,” noted Dr. Stork. So take his advice: Wear a mouthguard whenever you play sports — unless you’d like to meet him (or one of his medical colleagues) in a professional capacity…