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emportomandibular Joint Disorder

TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Disorder) Relief Options

Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome

Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) is also known as the TMJ joint. This connects the upper and lower jawlines. The joint is found at the base of the skull. This joint is different than the majority of joints in the body due to the unique structure. The composition of the joint is a protrusion of the mandible against a skull indentation and a structure of cartilage located between the articular discs or bones.

Ligaments from different areas of the neck and head hold the joint together. This guides the movements of the jaw while providing support. The lower jaw’s motion is assisted by the muscles connected to the ligaments. The joint opens the mouth in two different ways. The joint is similar to a hinge in the way the mouth is opened and closed.

The lower jaw moves upwards and downwards in a sliding motion. This is referred to as translation. Some of the most common actions include eating, singing and yawning.

Quick Tips: Are you feeling the effects of TMJ damage or believe your pain is related to TMJ? Contact our Brooklyn dental office today to schedule your appointment and meet with a dentist to see if it’s a TMJ related issue.

The Potential Causes of TMJ Damage

Temporomandibular joint disorder results when there is damage to the TMJ. When the joint is fractured, it can become sore and swell. This limits the movement of the lower jaw. Severe pain will radiate to the neck and head. Fracturing the articular disc or arthritis of the TMJ is rare. This condition is unable to be treated with just anti-inflammatory drugs. In some cases, sore muscles and ligaments can be relieved with ice.

The Signs and Symptoms of TMJ

There are numerous signs of temporomandibular joint disorder. It is difficult to be certain if the individual has this condition because the majority of the signs can also indicate other issues. A proper diagnosis can be made by a dentist through a complete dental and medical history. The appropriate x-rays must be taken and a clinical examination performed for a diagnosis. The most common signs include:

• Headaches, earaches and pressure in the back of the eyes
• Difficulty biting or chewing
• An out of place, locked or stuck jaw or tenderness in the muscle
• Severe aching in the ear, jaw or face
• Facial swelling
• A popping or clicking sound when the mouth is opened or closed
• A sudden change in the way the individuals lower and upper teeth fit together (a dental occlusion)

Diagnosing TMJ Symptoms and Causes

There are numerous different causes of temporomandibular joint disorder. The individual needs to visit either a medical or dental professional for an examination. This is when the jaw will be examined and potential causes discussed. In most instances an examination involves the following:

• Feeling and listening to the joint when the mouth is opened and closed
• Pressing on areas near the jaw to identify the cause of the discomfort or pain
• Observing the jaw’s range of motion

If an issue is suspected, the following may become necessary.

• An examination of the jaw and teeth through x-rays
• Revealing issues with the surrounding soft tissue or joint disc through an MRI
• Detailed images of all the bones required for the joint through a CT scan

According to the American Dental Association:

Diagnosis is an important step before treatment. Part of the dental examination includes checking the joints and muscles for tenderness, clicking, popping or difficulty moving. Depending on the diagnosis, the dentist may refer you to a physician or another dentist.

A temporomandibular joint disorder can sometimes be diagnosed with an arthroscopy. A small, thin tube called a cannula is inserted by a doctor into the joint space. An arthroscope or small camera can then be inserted so the area can be viewed. This can assist in the determination of a diagnosis.

TMJ Treatment

In some instances, the symptoms of a temporomandibular joint disorder will go away with no treatment necessary. If the cause is unknown and the symptoms continue, there are numerous treatment options. Sometimes, more than one is used simultaneously. Medications combined with a non-surgical treatment can offer relief from the pain of a TMJ disorder.

If over the counter medications such as anti-inflammatories and pain relievers do not provide relief, the dentist or physician may prescribe pain relievers for a short period of time including prescription strength ibuprofen. Tricyclic antidepressants including amitriptyline are sometimes prescribed for depression.

In low dosages, these medications are effective for pain relief, sleeplessness and bruxism control. Muscle relaxants can be used for a few weeks or just a few days for the pain resulting from muscle spasms due to TMJ.

In many cases, the NIDCR also recommends a “less is often best” approach in treating TMJ disorders

TMJ Therapies

The therapies not involving drugs used for TMJ disorders include:

Physical Therapy: Exercise is important for treating Temporomandibular joint disorder. In addition to exercise, strengthening and stretching the jaw muscles is important. The treatments may include ultrasound, ice, moist heat and exercise.

Occlusal Appliances: Appliances are used for TMJ such as mouth guards or oral splints. Individuals experiencing jaw pain often benefit from a firm or soft device placed over the teeth.

Counseling: Counseling and education enable the individual to understand the behaviors and factors triggering the pain so they can be avoided. This includes grinding or clenching the teeth and biting fingernails.

Surgical TMJ Procedures

When standard treatments are ineffective, the physician may recommend the following procedures.

Arthrocentesis: This procedure is minimally invasive. Small needles are inserted into the joint. This enables the irrigation of the fluid through the joint. Inflammatory byproducts and debris can then be removed.

TMJ Arthroscopy: In certain instances, arthroscopic surgery can treat different types of temporomandibular joint disorders as well as open-joint surgery. There are fewer risks and complications associated with TMJ arthroscopy than open-joint surgery. This procedure also as limitations.

Injections: Certain individuals will benefit from corticosteroid injections directly into the joint. Injections of (Botox) botulinum toxin type A directly into the muscles of the jaw may provide relief from the pain resulting from TMJ disorders.

Open-Joint Surgery: This is generally only an option if there is a structural issue diagnosed within the joint or if conservative treatments have been ineffective. The dentist or physician may recommend (arthrotomy) open-joint surgery to replace or repair the joint.

There are more risks with open-joint surgery than any of the other treatments. This procedure requires careful consideration. The individual should be aware of the pros and cons.

Modified Condylotomy: This is a way of indirectly addressing the TMJ. Surgery is performed on the mandible as opposed to the actual joint. This treatment is helpful for both locking and pain.

Contact our Brooklyn dental office today to schedule your appointment and meet with a dentist to see if it’s a TMJ related issue.

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wisdom teeth and molar impaction extraction causes signs symtoms brooklyn new york

Wisdom Teeth: What Your Should Know

What are Wisdom Teeth and Why Do We Get Them?

Between the ages of seven and ten, four new teeth begin to form in the back of the mouths of children. One begins to develop behind each of the molars on both the top and the bottom.  They will not come through the gums and become known to the young person for several more years.  Between the ages of 17 and 25 is usually when some tenderness is felt behind the back molars as the new molars start to emerge through the gums.

No one knows for sure why people get them as they seem to have no purpose, and they don’t fit in the human mouth.  The only known idea is that these four molars were a kind of reserve from thousands of years ago when human jaws were bigger. This was before people had created eating and cutting utensils. In those days people gnawed and chewed their food from leaves, roots, and chunks of meat. All this chewing wore their teeth down, and these new ones would have replenished their chewing ability.

These new teeth are called wisdom teeth and are the last or third molars.

What are the Symptoms and Problems of Emerging Wisdom Teeth?

In most cases, there isn’t enough space in the mouth for them.  As they try to emerge, they may become impacted. This means they are blocked by the molars already there and are stuck under your gums or in the jaw.  A wisdom tooth becomes impacted when it remains completely in the jawbone, or when only a part of the tooth emerges from the jawbone, or after the tooth has pushed through the jawbone but not yet completely through the gums.

Food can get trapped in the gums around the emerging tooth, which possibly causes a dental infection.  The new tooth may grow out of alignment and begin to crowd and force the displacement of an existing back molar.  If a wisdom tooth does not emerge through the mouth tissues, sometimes a cyst forms around the wisdom tooth which can damage the bone, the surrounding teeth and expand the jawbone.

According to the American Dental Association, here’s when you should speak with your favorite Brooklyn dentist:

Every patient is unique, but in general, wisdom teeth may need to be removed when there is evidence of changes in the mouth such as:

  • Pain

  • Infection

  • Cysts

  • Tumors

  • Damage to neighboring teeth

  • Gum disease

  • Tooth decay (if it is not possible or desirable to restore the tooth)

What Are the Dental Treatments for Complications of Wisdom Teeth?

As they begin to emerge, your Oceanview Dental Care dentist needs to monitor them closely. The dentist watches for misalignment allowing trapped food particles and bacteria to grow. Your dentist will observe the spacing and determine if the new molars are growing straight or applying force to nearby molars. Is there enough space for you to floss? Is there any pain, swelling or jaw stiffness that requires treatment? The dentist will watch for any symptoms of complications requiring extraction. For instance, the growth of a cyst can cause damage to your permanent molars, including their roots, and even cause bone destruction.

Damage to neighboring permanent teeth, pain, decay, infection, cysts, gum disease or a tumor causes the necessity of dental surgery to remove the wisdom tooth.

Some local Brooklyn residents never see problems from these third molars.  In those rare cases, they can help that person’s chewing. About 85 percent of people do have problems that will require extraction of them.  It is best to get removal of a wisdom tooth when you are young because younger people have a lower risk of surgery complications and shorter healing periods.  Removal is easier before the roots have fully formed.

If you are the rare person who does not experience difficulty with wisdom teeth, remember your Oceanview Dental Care dentist needs to monitor them regularly as there is a risk of problems later, possibly even other health problems.

Think you may have issues with your wisdom teeth or molars? Maybe it’s time to speak with your favorite Brooklyn dentist: Oceanview Dental Care! Contact our team today to schedule your appointment at our convenient Brooklyn office.

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oral care and health while pregnant

Oral Care for Pregnant Women

Six Dental Care Tips for Pregnant Women

Oral health care during your pregnancy is vitally important because many women have changes that occur in the mouth during this time. While a woman is pregnant, her hormone levels can change, leading to problems with excess saliva or a dry mouth. Both of these issues can affect the tender gums of the mouth or the teeth that are located in the gums. In addition, some women have extreme nausea that changes the acids in the mouth, and other women will vomit frequently during pregnancy, causing damage to the dental enamel on the teeth.

Schedule a Dental Checkup while Planning a Pregnancy

If a woman is planning a pregnancy, then it is a good idea to visit your local Brooklyn dentist for a checkup beforehand. A dentist will examine a woman’s mouth along with collecting X-rays to find any problems that require a repair. It is better to have the dental cavities fixed and the teeth cleaned professionally before becoming pregnant. When a woman has a major oral health issue that includes having gingivitis or an infected tooth, a dentist can treat these conditions with surgery or medications without worrying about the pregnancy. Here are some of the best oral health tips recommended for pregnant women.

Key Points from the American Dental Association:

Preventive, diagnostic and restorative dental treatment is safe throughout pregnancy.

Local anesthetics with epinephrine (e.g., bupivacaine, lidocaine, mepivacaine) may be used during pregnancy.

Special considerations should be given to pregnant dental personnel whose job duties can involve direct exposure to nitrous oxide and radiation.

Tip 1: Using Toothpaste That Contains Fluoride

There are no safety concerns about the use of fluoridated toothpaste during pregnancy, and this substance can increase the strength of the enamel on your teeth to prevent decay. You should brush at least twice a day to remove food debris, but it is okay to brush more often than this.

Tip 2: Flossing At Least Once a Day

If a pregnant woman want to have fresh breath and healthy gums, then using floss at least once a day is essential. Drugstores have dental floss that is in small containers, but it is also possible to find flossing picks that are easy to take with you to work or to restaurants. Flossing can also prevent cavities and gum disease so that a woman won’t need to visit a dentist during her pregnancy.

Tip 3: Drinking a Lot of Water Each Day

A woman who is pregnant will need a lot of water to remain hydrated. In addition to needing additional water for proper blood circulation, some women become dehydrated from the vomiting that occurs from morning sickness. By drinking water throughout the day, you can avoid having a dry mouth that makes it easier for bacteria to thrive.

Tip 4: Using an Oral Irrigator

By using an oral irrigator, you can remove additional food debris and plaque from your mouth. An oral irrigator blasts a strong stream of water to eliminate the bacteria from your gums and your teeth.

Tip 5: Consuming a Nutritious Diet Each Day

During pregnancy, women should consume a nutritious diet that includes foods that will keep the soft oral tissues and teeth healthy. These foods include low-fat dairy products, whole grains, lean meats, fruits and vegetables. Some pregnant women prefer eating more than three meals a day to avoid having indigestion. These smaller meals are necessary to protect a woman’s oral health while also ensuring that an infant is receiving enough nutrients.

Tip 6: Professional Dental Health Care

Despite the best planning, it is possible that you will need to visit a dentist while you are pregnant. First, make sure to inform the dental office about your pregnancy so that they are prepared to offer the proper care. Today, there are fewer safety concerns about using dental treatments or special medications throughout a pregnancy.

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tips for healthy white smile

9 Tips for a Bright, Healthy Smile

Everyone wants to have a bright, healthy smile. Fortunately, there are a number of things that you can do to ensure that you have one. Here are some of the things that you can do to ensure that you have an award-winning mouth of pearly whites.

Avoid Things That Damage Enamel

Certain drinks and foods have the ability of stripping away enamel over the course of time. You should avoid these on a regular basis. Such drinks and food items include sugary snacks, sweetened drinks and soda. When you consume such things, bacteria in your mouth consume their residue and excrete acids that eat into your enamel.

Avoid Things That Stain Teeth

Certain foods and drinks are known for staining teeth as a result of being heavily pigmented. These include coffee, tea and wine. If you want every tooth to remain as white as possible, make sure to avoid these things. If you already have teeth that have been stained, you can use fluoride toothpaste that makes teeth white or seek out cosmetic whitening treatments from a dentist.

See Your Dentist

Make sure to regularly see your dentist so that you can find out whether there are any problems that you have to tend to. Going for periodic dental checkups will ensure that your smile remains bright and healthy. If you have any obvious imperfections with your smile that require cosmetic procedures, going to the dentist will allow you to perfect your smile. If you have any cavities, your dentist will be able to treat them before they blow up into more complicated conditions.

Avoid Tobacco Products

You should avoid tobacco products because they stain teeth, promote gum disease and sometimes lead to oral cancers. Your smile will not look too bright or healthy with discolored teeth and inflamed, diseased gums.

Eat Right

A good tip for keeping a healthy smile is to eat right. Make sure to eat foods from all food groups and obtain the proper nutrients. Everything in your mouth needs proper nutrition to be healthy. Every tooth is made of bones, and bones require proper nutrition to stay strong.

Drink Water

Drinking water is one of the best things that you can do for your overall health. Without a doubt, it is something that you should be doing for your oral health. Water washes away the bacteria and acids that destroy enamel.

Avoid Snacking

Another good tip avoid snacking because of the fact that less saliva is produced while snacking on smaller things than while eating larger meals. This means that bacteria and acids are washed away less while there is more debris on teeth. If you do snack, make sure that you are snacking on healthy items that do not have high sugar contents, such as vegetables. You do not want to have debris from sugary foods staying on your teeth while there is relatively little saliva in your mouth.

Brush And Floss

It is of the utmost importance that you brush and floss your teeth so that every tooth is clean, white and beautiful. You should also floss your teeth because not flossing affects the appearance of your smile. If you don’t floss, your gums will most likely become infected and inflamed, and it will show. Flossing helps to get food debris from out of your gums. Flossing will keep dental issues from happening and is just as important as brushing.

According to The American Dental Association:

Cleaning between your teeth may help prevent cavities and gum disease. Cleaning between your teeth helps remove a sticky film called plaque. Plaque contains bacteria that feeds on leftover food or sugar in your mouth. When that happens, it releases an acid that can eat away at the outer shell of your teeth and cause cavities.

Be Careful When You Chew

When you bite and chew things, do it slowly and carefully so that you do not bite or chew on anything hard. If you bite or chew on something hard, you can chip a tooth. This is especially true when you eat fruit with hard seeds, with forks and spoons and food items with bones in them. Chipping a tooth can negatively affect the appearance of your smile.

In conclusion, these are the things that you can do to have a beautiful mouth. You should be careful when you chew, brush and floss, drink water, avoid snacking, eat right, drink water, see your dentist, avoid tobacco products, avoid teeth-staining drinks and foods and avoid products that damage the enamel.

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foods that might cause bad breath halitosis - brooklyn dentist

Common Foods that Might Cause Bad Breath

Do you suffer from halitosis, commonly referred to as ‘bad breath’? Having bad breath can be embarrassing but if your mouth is healthy, the solution could be as simple as proper dental hygiene. Halitosis could also be a symptom of an underlying issue, such as gum disease or improper nutrition. Below, you can find a list of foods that could be causing your mouth odor and what treatment options you should take to eliminate bad breath.

According to The American Dental Association:

Halitosis – or chronic bad breath – is something that mints, mouthwash or a good brushing can’t solve. Unlike “morning breath” or a strong smell that lingers after a tuna sandwich, halitosis remains for an extended amount of time and may be a sign of something more serious.

Foods that could be causing short-term bad breath

Garlic, Onions, and Spicy Foods

It should be no surprise garlic and onions have the potential to give you bad breath. They are delicious but if you plan on eating them during your lunch break, be proactive and carry a toothbrush and toothpaste with you so you can brush afterward.

Coffee

Have you ever heard of the phrase “coffee breath?” Sometimes having a cup of coffee in the morning is necessary to start your day, but make sure that you drink a bottle of water after to prevent odors from forming. Coffee is a diuretic so if you notice you’re getting dry mouth after a cup, brush and drink fluids to alleviate this side-effect.

Tuna and other Fish

Do you love seafood? Before you take a bite of that tuna sandwich, don’t forget your toothbrush. Seafood can leave you with bad breath if you’re not careful. You can fix this by popping a piece of gum into your mouth after eating. Another tip – put lemon or vinegar on your fish before you take a bite to reduce the fishy odor.

All of these foods can temporarily cause odors in your mouth but practicing good dental hygiene should eliminate the issue. Just make sure you brush and floss after eating. Also, you can try to eliminate these out of your diet, just to see if that improves the issue.

However, if you eliminate these foods out of your diet and practice proper hygiene but you still have halitosis, these are signs that there may be other issues causing you bad breath.

Foods that cause chronic mouth odor and bad breath

Nutrition and your bacteria play a major role in body odor. Halitosis can be a symptom of bacterial imbalance within your gut and mouth. Your oral bacteria break down what you eat and release a by-product called Volatile Sulfide Compounds (VSC). When there is an imbalance, there is a buildup of compounds, resulting in halitosis.

To decrease these odor-causing compounds, reduce the number of amino acids that you consume. How do you know that your odor is being caused by VSCs? There are three types of bad breath caused by VSCs:

Rotten egg smell

When you consume the amino acid cysteine, it breaks down and gives off an eggy smell. If your halitosis smells like eggs, try eliminating these from your diet:

  • Soybeans
  • Beef & lamb
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Chicken, turkey, and pork
  • Oats
  • Dairy
  • Eggs
  • Legumes
  • Rotten Cabbage or Fishy Smell

Most bad breath is due to bacteria breaking down the hydrogen in the mouth. If you notice a fishy smell coming from your mouth, try eliminating these from your diet:

  • Beetroot
  • Asparagus
  • Cabbage
  • Corn
  • Seafood

The breakdown of the essential amino acid methionine is causing your mouth to have unpleasant odors. Usually, when it is broken down into methyl mercaptan, it is a sign that you have gum disease and that you may need to see a dentist.

If you want to avoid eating foods rich in methionine, keep these out your diet:

  • Cheese (Parmesan has the highest levels)
  • Brazil nuts
  • Lean beef & lamb
  • Chicken and turkey breast and pork sirloin
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Beans

Try to eliminate these foods from your diet to see if your halitosis improves. If this does help, you should also see a dentist to check your gum health.

Also to help restore bacterial balance in your mouth and gut, try taking a probiotic. Probiotics will reintroduce good bacteria into your body and help restore the balance that you need to reduce the unpleasant odors. Probiotics can be found in over-the-counter supplements, or in whole foods like yogurt.

Another way to restore the balance in your mouth bacteria is to temporarily eliminate carbs from your diet. Sugar and simple carbohydrates will increase bacterial imbalances and result in more odor-causing compounds to occur. Try to eliminate foods that are high in starches (potatoes, grains, corn, beans) and sugar; instead, substitute them for foods that are high in fiber.

Eat these foods to improve your halitosis / bad breath

To combat bad odors, try adding more acids to your diet. Increase your intake of lemons, limes, and apple cider vinegar to help combat halitosis. Just make sure that your brush your teeth afterward to protect your teeth. Also, add chlorophyll, zinc, and magnesium to your diet to help eliminate odors and deodorize your mouth.

If you’ve changed your diet and lifestyle, and still find that you’re suffering from bad breath, contact our Brooklyn dental office today and schedule a consultation with our dentists or hygienists. The issue may not be food or lifestyle related, but a deeper issue related to your oral hygiene.

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