Posts for: February, 2016
Accidents happen. And if an accident causes an injury to your jaws or surrounding facial area, it could result in serious damage. Without prompt treatment, that damage could be permanent.
You’ll usually know, of course, if something is wrong from the extreme pain near or around a jaw joint that won’t subside. If you have such symptoms, we need to see you as soon as possible to specifically diagnose the injury, which will in turn determine how we’ll treat it.
This is important because there are a number of injury possibilities behind the pain. It could mean you’ve loosened or displaced one or more teeth. The joint and its connective muscle may also have been bruised resulting in swelling within the joint space or a dislocation of the condyle (the bone ball at the end of the jaw), either of which can be extremely painful.
These injuries also cause muscle spasms, the body’s response for keeping the jaw from moving and incurring more damage (a natural splint, if you will). After examining to see that everything is functioning normally, we can usually treat it with mild to moderate anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce swelling and pain and muscle relaxers to ease the spasms. We may also need to gently manipulate and ease a dislocated jaw into its proper position.
In the worst case, though, you may actually have fractured the jaw bone. The most common break is known as a sub-condylar fracture that occurs just below the head of the joint with pain and discomfort usually more severe than what’s experienced from tissue bruising or dislocation. As with other fractures, we’ll need to reposition the broken bone and immobilize it until it’s healed. This can be done by temporarily joining the upper and lower teeth together for several weeks to keep the jaw from moving, or with a surgical procedure for more severe breaks that stabilizes the jawbone independently.
It’s important with any persistent jaw or mouth pain after an accident that you see us as soon as possible — you may have an injury that needs immediate attention for proper healing. At the very least, we can help alleviate the pain and discomfort until you’re back to normal.
If you would like more information on treating jaw injuries, 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 “Jaw Pain — What’s the Cause?”
It is common knowledge that orthodontic braces straighten your teeth and provide the perfect smile. However, did you know that braces can also make your teeth healthier? Together with your Worth, IL dentist at All Smiles, you can get the facts on why braces mean a healthier mouth.
How Braces Make Your Teeth Healthier
- Easier to Clean: Tooth crowding or overlapping create very small and hard-to-reach areas. Straightened teeth reduce these areas and provide an easier-to-clean smile. The ability to clean all sides and areas of the tooth decreases your chance of bacteria buildup, which leads to tooth decay and gum disease.
- Better Bite: Braces correct bite issues like overbite or crossbite in addition to straightening teeth. A bad bite affects chewing and eating and causes tooth sensitivity, cracked teeth, jaw pain and gum disease. By correcting bite issues, chewing is made easy and the teeth align with one another, avoiding the chance of them clashing and hurting each other.
- Decreased Chance of Gum Disease and Tooth Decay: Tooth decay and gum disease occur when bacteria build up on the teeth to form plaque and tartar. The plaque and tartar irritate the gums, causing them to bleed and become sore and swollen. Straightening the teeth and making them easier to clean allows plaque and tartar to be removed by the proper brushing and flossing techniques with less of a chance to miss a spot. These conditions eventually lead to tooth loss and should be treated as early as possible.
Am I a candidate for braces?
Braces from your Worth dentist help straighten the teeth of people of all ages. Children at-risk for poor tooth or bite development also benefit from braces as they can guide the teeth into growing into the correct positions. If you have one of the following orthodontic problems, you will probably benefit from braces:
- misaligned teeth
- overcrowded or under crowded teeth
- irregularly spaced teeth
For more information on braces, please contact your dentist at All Smiles in Worth, IL. Call (708) 448-0333 to schedule your consultation for braces today!
Can you have healthy teeth and still have gum disease? Absolutely! And if you don’t believe us, just ask actor David Ramsey. The cast member of TV hits such as Dexter and Arrow said in a recent interview that up to the present day, he has never had a single cavity. Yet at a routine dental visit during his college years, Ramsey’s dentist pointed out how easily his gums bled during the exam. This was an early sign of periodontal (gum) disease, the dentist told him.
“I learned that just because you don’t have cavities, doesn’t mean you don’t have periodontal disease,” Ramsey said.
Apparently, Ramsey had always been very conscientious about brushing his teeth but he never flossed them.
“This isn’t just some strange phenomenon that exists just in my house — a lot of people who brush don’t really floss,” he noted.
Unfortunately, that’s true — and we’d certainly like to change it. So why is flossing so important?
Oral diseases such as tooth decay and periodontal disease often start when dental plaque, a bacteria-laden film that collects on teeth, is allowed to build up. These sticky deposits can harden into a substance called tartar or calculus, which is irritating to the gums and must be removed during a professional teeth cleaning.
Brushing teeth is one way to remove soft plaque, but it is not effective at reaching bacteria or food debris between teeth. That’s where flossing comes in. Floss can fit into spaces that your toothbrush never reaches. In fact, if you don’t floss, you’re leaving about a thirdÂ to half of your tooth surfaces unclean — and, as David Ramsey found out, that’s a path to periodontal disease.
Since then, however, Ramsey has become a meticulous flosser, and he proudly notes that the long-ago dental appointment “was the last we heard of any type of gum disease.”
Let that be the same for you! Just remember to brush and floss, eat a good diet low in sugar, and come in to the dental office for regular professional cleanings.
If you would like more information on flossing or periodontal disease, please contact us today to schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Understanding Gum (Periodontal) Disease.”