Neuromuscular Dentistry – Where the Mouth Meets the Body

Neuromuscular dentistry places your jaw back into its correct alignment so as to relieve the symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorder or TMJ (TMD).

TMJ/TMD is an illness that affects you when your jaw is structurally imbalanced. The symptoms of TMJ/TMD can cause pain, discomfort, and serious dental problems that can be treated with neuromuscular dentistry. Symptoms of TMJ/TMD include:

· Headaches

· Migraines

· Ringing in the ears

· Locking of the jaw

· Clicking/Popping of the jaw

· Limited jaw movement

· Worn Teeth

· Chipped Teeth

· Cracked Teeth

· Grinding/Clenching your teeth

· Sensitive/Sore Teeth

· Sore jaw muscles

· Pain in the head, neck, and shoulders

· Facial Pain

These symptoms arise when your temporomandibular joint is misaligned, giving you a bad bite and creating excess stress on muscles, joints, teeth, and bones in your face, head, neck, and shoulders. If you are suffering from one or more of these symptoms, a neuromuscular dentist may be able to relieve you of your TMJ/TMD symptoms by placing your jaw into its optimal position, giving you a better bite.

Neuromuscular dentists use state of the art computer technology to observe the movement of the temporomandibular joint when your jaw is being moved and when it is at rest to determine its optimal placement.

In order to treat you and alleviate the symptoms that you are suffering from, your neuromuscular dentist will work with you to design a treatment plan that is specifically designed for your wants and needs. In general, treatments follow three steps.

First, ULF-TENS technology is used to stimulate, massage, and relax the muscles in your jaw in order to rid them of waste and stop the pain and muscle spasms that are associated with TMJ/TMD. Next, your jaw will be stabilized so that the neuromuscular dentist can determine what the best treatment plan will permanently fix your bite. Lastly, your neuromuscular dentist will work with you to design and implement a long-term management process that will correct your bite.

Tips Concerning Procedures Performed At Family Dentistry Clinics

Family dentistry clinics are dental clinics that provide basic dental care for all members of the family group. The family groups usually cover children, adults, and aging adults. Each of these age groups has specific issues they have to address with their oral care, and a family dentistry clinic is prepared to see all of the ages through their routine dental needs.

You cannot confuse family dentistry practices with general dentistry practices. Although general dentistry practices see their patients through the average dental needs they incur, many of these practices limit the patients they see to adults only. They do not perform dental procedures on children or the aging adults.

When you find a clinic that provides dental services for all members of the family you will likely be visiting an office complex that has more than one dentist on staff. They often have a pediatric dental expert for the treatment of children and their dental needs, a general dentist to treat the adults, and a dentist that is schooled to provide care for geriatric patients, denture wearers, and people who are aging.

Children need to have their teeth cleaned on a regular basis. They need their teeth x-rayed so the dentist can see how the adult teeth below the surface are forming, and when to expect those teeth to emerge. They need their teeth to receive caps, and protective covers when they are damaged during falls, and other accidents. They need cavities filled, and the children need a dentist that can instruct them on proper oral hygiene practices.

Adults need their teeth cleaned regularly. They need cavities filled, chipped teeth repaired, they often need root canals performed, and other procedures to help save a tooth from loss. They need a dentist that can recognize gum diseases and treat them, and they need proper instructions on how to care for their adult teeth. Tooth whitening is done more often on this age group because of all of the drinks and foods adults consume that stain their tooth enamel.

The aging patients are more likely to need tooth replacement than the younger adults do. As we age the health of our teeth and gums often suffers so we are more prone to tooth loss, and the need for dentures, or dental implants. Older patients with their natural teeth require tooth whitening procedures because of years of drinking and eating foods that cause stains, and because age causes discoloration of the tooth enamel. Older individuals also have more instances of gum disease, and complications due to the other illnesses they have, and the medications they take for those illnesses.

It is imperative that everyone has a regular dentist they see for their oral health concerns. When you develop a problem that needs addressed by a specialty dentist your regular dental professional will be able to recommend specialists, and will be beneficial in helping you set up an appointment with these other professionals. Your regular dentist is your first defense against gum diseases, and complications that cause the loss of teeth.

Tips On Choosing Family Dentistry Facilities

All dentists work on teeth, but not all dentists, or dental clinics are created equal. You have dental clinics that specialize in family dentistry and you have dental clinics that specialize in pediatrics, orthodontics, geriatrics, and cosmetic corrections.

Most family dentistry clinics fall into the category of general dentistry. In general dentistry the clinic takes care of the most commonly occurring dental problems. The following procedures can be gotten when you see a dentist practicing in general dentistry.

• Tooth extractions
• Tooth fillings
• Tooth cleaning
• Dental check ups
• Oral hygiene instruction for children
• Root canals
• Caps on teeth

Having a dental clinic that specializes in family dentistry will allow you to have a first line of defense against dental complications. You will have someone that knows what preventative measures you need to take, and someone that can recommend the experts that can fix any problem that your family develops.

In order to find a clinic that specializes in family dentistry that suits the needs of your particular family you have to look into advertisements for local dentists. You will be able to determine if the dental clinic will treat everyone in your family from their advertisements.

You cannot select the dental clinic on the advertisement alone. You will need to visit the clinic and meet the staff there. See if they give guided tours of their facilities, and speak to all of the staff members to find out how they handle children, emergencies, and the many problems that your family will face over the next few years.

Remember that you are selecting an establishment that you will have a relationship with for many years to come. You want to feel comfortable with the members of the staff, with the rules of the clinic, and with the dentist that does the work.

You must have trust in your dentist if you are going to accept their judgment concerning your teeth, the teeth of your children, and the treatments that you will all require. If you do not trust the dentist then you will feel reluctant to have procedures done without getting second opinions. Second opinions will cost you time and money, so it is better to find a dental clinic that you have faith in and see them first.

Go see the dentist for a minor care procedure like a tooth cleaning before you decide to switch your entire family to their practice. While you are there you will be able to see how the dentist deals with their patients, and what methods of pain relief they provide. This can help you to choose the right dentist for your needs.

Before you make a final decision on who to use as your primary care dentist make an appointment for your children and see how the children respond to the doctor. You want the children to be comfortable, to respect the opinion of the doctor, and to want to follow the instructions of the doctor. If they do not feel this way then keep looking until you have a dentist they do feel this way about.

Socioeconomic Benefits of Cosmetic Dentistry

It seems like every model in the modern age has pearlescent white teeth; the glowing smile that can be seen for miles. Some might argue that modern image editing has become too advanced, and some might argue that there is an unnecessary amount of vanity in cosmetic perfection. Despite the critics, there is an insurmountable amount of truth in human nature, and people do gravitate toward naturally attractive qualities like straight, white teeth.

It’s almost a given that every person wishes that they had beautiful, straight teeth genetically. The truth is that the greater majority of people are not born with a perfect set of teeth. Studies say that anywhere between 25% and 50% of the population gets or needs braces at some point. Fortunately, there are easier ways to change the appearance of your teeth that aren’t so costly or invasive.

The teeth whitening treatments offered by modern cosmetic dentists are astounding. Most yellow, orange or brown teeth stained by things such as coffee, tea, smoking or age can be greatly lightened with a simple bleaching procedure. Most procedures can whiten the teeth from five to seven shades, but sometimes up to twelve shades! These drastic improvements can have long-lasting effects on not on your smile, but your self-esteem.

The benefits offered by cosmetic dentistry don’t end there. Studies show that more confident people generally earn more over a lifetime. A bright, confident smile can exude a sense of self-pride and could help make that first impression on the job interview or with the new client. This improved sense of self is not solely mental, but also physical. First impressions are an integral part of life and business and a gleaming smile can help to ensure that the proper impression was made. Who knew your dentist could provide this?

A dentist is much more than just a secondary form of healthcare. Not only can the effects of teeth whitening and cosmetic dentistry have an impact on your personal life and career, but seeing a dentist can prevent just as many problems as seeing a doctor for a checkup! Regular cleanings keep your teeth and gums healthy and can prevent serious and costly health problems in future.

Remember, when picking a dentist, choose carefully! Find a well reviewed dentist with plenty of experience that you feel comfortable with. An excellent dentist provides an invaluable source of comfort, confidence and great health!

Fear of Dentistry

How many people can say that their occupation requires them to have an intimate understanding of fear and anxiety? As a dentist with many years of experience, understanding fear is fundamental to my job. The most common sentiment among my patients is that they like me, but hate the dentistry. “No offense!” is a phrase I hear all too often, and truthfully, I don’t blame them. There are many reasons why people are afraid of coming to the dentist and most are legitimate. So why are so many people afraid of the dentist? You might be thinking to yourself that the answer is simple. Generally, and quite obviously, the fear stems from the possibility of dental pain.

However, if we dig deeper, we realize that the reasons for patient fear and/or anxiety are varied. The most common reason for fear is the result of a patient’s recollection of a traumatic experience when the dentist caused him pain or embarrassed him by making light of his fears. Strong, negative memories of the incident can recur whenever the patient needs to see the dentist. On the other hand, a large number of people are afraid of the dentist or certain procedures, but have never personally had a bad experience at the dentist’s office. These are the patients who have heard that dentistry is painful and learned to be fearful. The source of their information is usually friends, family or the popular media. A perfect example of learned fear is the child who is visiting the dentist for the first time. I sometimes hear fearful patients in the waiting room creating a negative impression for their children. The child does not know what to expect from that first visit, but when a parent says, “tell the dentist if he is hurting you,” the child is now expecting pain. In addition to the fear transferred from friends and family, dentistry has taken a beating in the popular media. Can you remember a television show or movie where a dentist is portrayed in a positive light? The likely answer is a resounding “No!” There is even a horror film called The Dentist.

The three most common fears associated with dentistry are:

– The potential for pain during dental treatment – will it hurt?

– Fear of the condition of their mouth – just how bad is it?

– Loss of control during dental treatment – will he stop if it hurts?

Dental treatment always has the potential to produce discomfort as there is no such thing as 100% pain-free dentistry. Trust me, I find absolutely no pleasure in bringing pain to anyone. On the contrary, I truly believe that in addition to good technique and a gentle touch, helping a patient to achieve full anesthesia is a requirement of the job. What I or any other dentist can do to make it a pleasant experience is make sure that the patient is profoundly numb and to be aware of his needs as he is being worked on. When my patient tells me, “that wasn’t bad at all,” I take it as a glowing compliment. Many of my new patients are scared to learn about their oral condition. While it is normal to fear for the worst, it is important for the patients to realize that if there are pre-existing conditions, they will only get worse with time. Tooth decay does not improve on its own. To alleviate the stress, I tell my patients that no matter how bad the results, I will advise and help. Regardless of the outcome, with knowledge and support, we will find solutions that meet their needs and expectations. The last reason for fear is a lack of control.

When meeting a new dentist, you do not know how good he is technically and you are trusting him to take care of you. That is putting a lot faith in someone you just met. You are effectively giving a stranger access and control over a private part of your body. A person in that situation does not know what to expect and the unknown is scary. Upon meeting a new patient, I usually ask him if he has any special concerns, educate him on the procedure I will be performing, and assure him that if he feels even the slightest hint of discomfort, to please let me know. Should he experience any discomfort, I will stop immediately and inquire about what exactly he is feeling. I try to return some of the control back to the patient.

As you can see, there is an overarching theme – the fear of the unknown. Those who are most afraid of the dentist have allowed their imaginations to run wild because they do not know what to expect. When I meet a patient for the first time, I usually perform a new patient interview which serves two purposes:

(1) to get to know the patient and to gauge his expectations; and
(2) for the patient to get to know me and to have any questions answered.

Communication between the dentist and the patient is of utmost importance. I have found that 99% of the time, knowledge resolves their fears. My role as a dentist is to understand a patient’s expectations, improve his dental health, and then to educate him on how to avoid dental problems in the future. I do not expect my patients to ever enjoy dentistry, but as long I can help them understand their needs and make it a relatively pleasant experience, I’ll take that as a successful outcome.