Posts for: November, 2015
As many as 36 million adults in the U.S. suffer from some form of chronic jaw pain. What’s more, many of these may also experience other painful conditions like arthritis or chronic fatigue in other parts of their body.
Chronic jaw pain is actually a group of difficult to define disorders collectively referred to as temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJD or also TMD). TMD not only refers to pain symptoms of the temporomandibular (jaw) joints but also of the jaw muscles and surrounding connective tissue. Most physicians and dentists agree TMD arises from a complex range of conditions involving inheritable factors, gender (many sufferers are women of childbearing age), environment and behavior.
A recent survey of approximately 1,500 TMD patients found that nearly two-thirds of them also suffered from three or more related health problems like fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, headaches, depression and problems sleeping. The understanding of TMD’s connection with these other conditions is in its early stages of research, but there’s avid interest among healthcare providers to learn more and possibly devise new treatments for TMD in coordination with these other related conditions.
In the meantime, TMD patients continue to respond best with the traditional approach to treatment, including physical therapy, thermal (hot or cold) compresses to the area of pain, medication and modifying the diet with more easier to chew foods. In extreme cases, jaw surgery may be recommended; however, success with this approach has been mixed, so it’s advisable to get a second opinion before choosing to undergo a surgical procedure.
Hopefully, further study about TMD and its connection with other conditions may yield newer treatments to ease the pain and discomfort of all these conditions, including TMD. You can stay up to date on these and other developments for coping with the discomfort of TMD at www.tmj.org and through your healthcare provider team.
If you would like more information on TMD, 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 “Chronic Jaw Pain and Associated Conditions.”
Dental implants may seem like a more costly alternative to dentures or bridges, but getting implants may actually save you money in the long run. Your Englewood NJ cosmetic dentist, Dr. Mark Docktor of Dental Arts of Englewood, explains why implants may actually be less expensive when compared to alternative tooth replacement options.
Bridges must be replaced
Bridges typically must be replaced after five to 15 years. Over the course of your lifetime, you may need to replace a bridge several times. When you choose a bridge as a replacement option, the teeth on either side of the missing tooth must be ground down slightly to accommodate the appliance. The grinding can increase the risk of tooth decay and may make it more likely that you will eventually need costly root canals on those teeth.
Dentures require regular maintenance
Your gums and jaw bone start to shrink after you lose a tooth. As the shrinkage progresses, your dentures may become loose. Relining or rebasing the dentures or getting new dentures can solve the problem, but will increase your costs. Keep in mind that the cost of dentures, denture maintenance and bridges will only increase as time goes on. When you choose a dental implant, you'll pay a one-time fee and never pay another dime after the procedure is finished.
The consequences of missing teeth can be costly
Some people decide that they'll just live with a missing tooth, but that decision won't necessarily help you save money. When there's a gap in your teeth, the other teeth drift toward the opening in an attempt to fill the space. The drifting results in crooked teeth or teeth of varying heights. Not only does this mar your appearance, it also can affect your bite or make it difficult to remove plaque from your teeth.
As a result, you may be more likely to develop gum disease, tooth decay or TMJ disorder.
Replacing a missing tooth promptly can help you avoid costly dental bills years after you lose a tooth. If you've been considering a dental implant, call Englewood NJ cosmetic dentist Dr. Mark Docktor of Dental Arts of Englewood at (201) 894-9998 and find out how you can keep smiling with a dental implant.
Professional basketball player Lamar Odom is sometimes known as “the candyman” because of his notorious fondness for sweets. But when his sweet tooth finally caught up with him — in the form of a mouthful of decayed teeth — the six-foot-ten-inch, 230-pound hoops star admitted that he had been avoiding treatment… because he was afraid of going to the dentist!
It took two Kardashians (Khloe and Kim) and a painful toothache to finally persuade Odom to sit in the chair. Once he did, it was found that he needed a root canal, a wisdom tooth extraction, and several fillings. Yet the fretful forward sailed through the whole set of procedures in a single visit, and walked out with a big smile afterward. How did his dentists make that happen?
Put it down to the “magic” of sedation dentistry. With anxiety-relieving medications that can be delivered orally (in pill form or by gas) or intravenously (into the bloodstream), the techniques of sedation dentistry can help even the most fearful patients get the dental care they need. That’s good news for about 50 percent of the population, who admit they’re at least somewhat afraid of the dentist — and even better for the 15 percent who avoid dental care completely due to their fear.
Dentists have a number of ways to ease apprehensive patients through a dental visit. An oral anti-anxiety drug can be given in pill form about an hour beforehand. Nitrous oxide (sometimes called “laughing gas”), which is administered by a mask placed over the mouth or nose, may also be used to relieve anxiety. The calming effects of these medications help make any nervousness melt away — and in many circumstances, mild sedation is all that’s needed to ease the fear.
For lengthier or more complex procedures, intravenous (IV) sedation may be recommended. Unlike deeper (unconscious) sedation, IV sedation doesn’t cause “sleep.” Instead, it puts you in a comfortable semi-awake state, where you can still breathe on your own and respond to stimuli… but without feeling any anxiety. And when the procedure is over, you probably won’t have any memory of it at all.
IV sedation can be administered by dentists who are specially trained and equipped with the proper safety equipment. While sedation is being provided, you will be monitored at all times by a dedicated staff member; when it’s over, you will rest for a while as the medication quickly wears off. Then (as is the case with oral sedation), you’ll need another person to give you a ride home.
Does sedation dentistry really work? Lamar Odom thinks so. “I feel so much better,” he said when his 7-hour procedure was over. “I feel like I accomplished something.”