Discomfort and pain in your jaw, clicking while you talk or chew, and swelling on the sides of your face can be caused by Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD). TMD can make talking and eating both painful and uncomfortable. Our team understands how TMD can make your day a challenge. We’ve compiled a list of helpful tips for managing TMD discomfort, but also encourage you to schedule a visit to see us for a full evaluation.
Finding Relief at Home
If your jaw is swollen, try applying a cold compress to your face. We recommend holding the compress in place for about 10 minutes. If you are able, try a few gentle jaw stretches. After the cold compress, apply warm, moist heat to the same area. You can keep this warm compress in place for an additional 5 to 10 minutes.
If your discomfort is particularly noticeable, try over-the-counter pain relievers such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or ibuprofen. If you find yourself taking pain relieving medications daily, please contact us immediately.
The “Don’ts” of TMD
Applying excess pressure to your jaw can make your TMD discomfort worse. Don’t use your hand as a rest for your chin, as doing so increases the amount of pressure and strain placed on your jaw. If you talk on the phone frequently, avoid holding the phone on your shoulder while bending your neck to keep it in place.
Clenching your jaw and keeping your teeth tightly closed can also lead to a build-up of pressure in the jaw. During the day, try to keep your teeth from touching. By create a little space between your teeth, you will be relieving pressure from your jaw.
Our team is here to help you. Schedule a consultation with our dentist to learn more about the solutions available for people just like you dealing with TMD discomfort. We will provide a thorough examination to determine the best course of treatment for your TMD.
Enamel is the guardian of your teeth and the hardest material in the body. It’s the first defense against harmful bacteria which may lead to tooth decay. When you eat certain foods, it creates bacteria which attack your tooth enamel. Carbohydrates and sugary foods are examples of these foods. Brushing directly after eating can be harmful to your enamel.
Why this is a problem
When eating or drinking, the pH balance in your mouth changes. After each bite of acidic food, the pH balance moves towards a level which causes demineralization. The new acidity softens the enamel which can cause bacteria to get into the teeth. Brushing right after you eat may damage your enamel. This is important because enamel protects your teeth from damage.
Steps you can take to protect your enamel:
If you’ve had anything acidic, don’t brush for at least 30 minutes.
Fruits with citric acid are one example. If you are planning ingesting acidic foods or drinks, you can brush beforehand.
A glass of water will help remove the acid. Follow this by chewing sugarless gum. These steps help create saliva which will help bring back the necessary pH balance needed for a healthy smile.
Try to avoid soda as prolonged phosphoric acid can cause permanent damage.
Brushing your teeth twice a day is an important habit for optimal oral health.
Have you ever been told you should brush your teeth right after eating? While this may sound like the right habit to adapt, this practice could be detrimental to the health of your teeth. Rinsing your mouth with water after eating may be a better option to keep enamel strong. Visit our office for an exam and we can give you for tips for healthy, strong teeth. Call our office today.
When you travel by plane, your flight attendant will advise that in the rare case of an emergency, you must first put on your air mask before attempting to help those around you. When this is not followed, the results can be catastrophic, both for you and for those you might otherwise have been in a position to assist. While this is crucial information for all, many women particularly require this gentle reminder to prioritize their own needs above those of others.
All too often, we meet women who work tirelessly to fulfill the needs of their families. We see working moms, both at home and in office, who prioritize the health and wellness of their children, spouse and even friends before their own.
We get it: there’s joy and fulfillment in taking care of others. However, it may be time to “put on your oxygen mask” and consider whether you are remembering to care for yourself. Your health, both mental and physical, should be one of your top priorities. This will allow you to have the energy and strength you need to assist with the needs of those around you.
Smile restoration can take years off your appearance, while adding years to your life by improving your health. If you’re looking for a way to jump start your new self-care inclusive way of living, contact us for a cosmetic consultation. Your friends and family will love to see you with a vibrant, beautiful, healthy smile. You deserve it.
If you regularly wake up with headaches, a sore neck, or a sore jaw it could be related to grinding/clenching.
There are 5 main muscles associated with clenching and grinding.These muscles, like any muscles in the body, can tense up and develop “knots” in similar ways that people’s shoulders and back develop these.During a TMJ (Temporal Mandibular Joint) screening, us dentists evaluate these areas as well as any jaw abnormalities.
Almost 90% of my patients experience mild/moderate TMJ issues at some point in their life and for the majority of them I recommend an over the counter nightguard (once I have confirmed via a TMJ screening).
BUT at what point does this need further customized care?
If you have experienced crowns breaking, fillings cracking, or your front teeth getting shorter as you age, it’s a good indication that you need a TMJ screening to prevent damage to your teeth.Additionally, there are even patients that have their jaw lock in in open or closed position for some amount of time.This also is a good indication that a bigger problem may occur.
The good news though is that once we have found the cause of this problem, there are simple preventative measures we can do to ensure this ends the downward cycle.
Stop by our office today for a no charge TMJ assessment to stop the cavity development in its tracks.
You brush and floss like you are supposed to, but you still get cavities. Maybe you can feel that your dentist or hygienist keep bringing up you not flossing enough making it seem like you are lying.
First off this problem is extremely frustrating for everyone involved.Sure, not everyone is excellent at flossing EVERY SINGLE DAY.But for patient that are “religious” about taking care of their teeth, a diagnosis of new cavities can feel like a personal attack.It makes people regret and feel shame for an after dinner mint or a sip of soda.
What does this mean?It means the cause for this cavity development has not been found out yet and therefore not addressed properly.
There are actually many causes of cavity development that range from: nutritional factors, salivary flow (how much saliva you produce), alcohol intake, pH balance of the mouth,and yes, improper brushing and flossing technique.
The solution that we use here at Sweet Spot Dental is a Customized cavity risk assessment where we can evaluate the many causes of cavity development and treat it accordingly.
Stop by our office today for a comprehensive exam to stop the cavity development in its tracks.
“For fast acting relief, try slowing down.” ~ Lily Tomlin
Everyone hates needles, and we know that
There is no surprise that you don’t like getting injections (or shots) at the dentist.We all are aware that it is probably one of the biggest triggers for you at the dentist! Here are a few tips for making this process much easier to deal with if you have an appointment where you know you will need to get numb for the procedure.
Trust should be established before an injection is performed.
See the previous post on questions you should ask your dentist! [LINK TO THIS POST]. Then:
Explain your triggers
Opening up a conversation about any bad past experiences is crucial to having an easy visit.By doing this with a provider who is sensitive to dentally anxious patients, there are a lot of “tricks” we are able to use to overcome a sometimes painful administration of local anesthesia (a.k.a., getting a shot).
Mindful breathing has been immensely helpful while I worked with patients chair-side throughout my career.The principles may seem very basic, but in reality it gives you something to focus on other than pain. Additionally, slow deep breathes have a helpful physiologic response during this procedure. I have learned to coach my patients chair-side for every single injection on mindful breathing techniques and I am then able to time my injection at the easiest moment for my patient.
For a quick mindful breathing exercise, see the video below:
“Walking into our stories of hurt…can feel dangerous and foreboding, and what we must ultimately confront is ourself.The most difficult part of our stories is often what we bring to them – what we make up about who we are and how we are perceived by others.” ~Bréne Brown
EVERYONE has a unique brand of crazy
Trust me, you do. I say this with lots of love in my heart, but everyone has very unique traits and beliefs that will undoubtably make them crazy (ok, maybe unique is a better word) to someone else. This is the side people are embarrassed to talk about, but it is also what makes them unique. These characteristics should be discussed with a dentist you trust. This explanation can open so many doors that will enable the right provider to create customized care that fits you exact needs.
So, what is the BIG question to ask?
Trust is about vulnerability. Putting yourself in someone else’s hands is tough, especially for those with dental anxiety. I think it is also important to ask as many questions as you need to feel comfortable. This means that for some people only one question is needed, and for others it may need a special visit just to “meet and greet” the dentist.During either of these types of visits, the question I would like you to feel comfortable asking is: “What do you do differently for dental anxious patients?”The secret to this is not the question or necessarily the answer you get; it’s the need to open the door for both of you to discuss how to make your visit an easy one.
“When ‘I’ is replaced by ‘we’ even illness becomes wellness” ~ Malcom X
How does your body work?
The first step to overcoming your dental anxiety is to figure out how your body and mind work in anxious situations.Knowing this information is critical to moving forward because your anxiety is not obvious to anyone but you.
Find the right dentist that can work with you
I am a firm believer that nothing good can come from a relationship without a fundamental level of trust. The problem is that as a patient, it’s extremely hard to know who to trust.Sure, we can scour the internet, read online reviews, or get referrals from friends, but in the end, how closer are you to making the right decision? How do you know who will be able to handle your unique brand of dental anxiety?The truth is that you don’t know.This is where trust and having a gut instinct come into play.
In our next post, we discuss topics to address with your dentist to begin creating a more trusting environment and learn how capable your dental provider is in treating your unique needs.
“You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” ~ C.S. Lewis
Have you ever kicked your dentist in the face (intentionally or unintentionally?) Do you feel like you get a little shaky before your dental visits?Or feel like you are always jumpy in the dental chair?This post, a component of our Anti-Anxiety Dental Series, explains what is happening with your body.
Different types of anxiety
Lack of communication
Feeling cold or overheated
Not all anxiety is the same
The unique thing about dental anxiety is that everyone has very specific ways it can hijack their minds and bodies. In almost every situation though, it feels as though something is overcoming them with little or no control over it.
Is there hope?
Dental anxiety itself can seem like a large mountain to overcome, luckily I have years of experience in working with patient that have all forms of dental anxiety.In my professional opinion, there is not only hope, but using the right strategy, any procedure can be accomplished with ease and with limited or no medication.
While practicing dentistry, I’ve discovered an unfortunate truth: people are often too scared to ask questions about their own oral health or don’t know where to turn for advice. Too often, they get their information by online sleuthing whenever something hurts or believing false ad claims intended to sell a product.
I’m a firm believer that dental knowledge should be easily accessible, accurate, and free.
As a dentist and educator at Tufts School of Dental Medicine for more than seven years, my goal has been to shed light on topics that have plagued, pained, or confused my patients. I want to be a source of information for anyone looking for some truth on oral health care. As owner of Sweet Spot Dental in Cambridge, MA, I take pride in creating an environment where my patients can bring their questions and have them answered without any fear or judgement. My goal with them is to build a relationship that better addresses their dental needs. I never wanted to be someone who just fixes/cleans teeth, but a resource that can ultimately lead to a healthier smile. As someone curious about dental health, I want to be that resource for you, too.
Please check out the following video and blogs that are part of my dental anxiety series. I dive into what causes dental anxiety, how it manifests, and how it can be tamed. Via this series, I hope to enlighten you and teach you a few things you may not know. I strongly encourage you to reach out to me with any comments, concerns, or questions that I might be able to address in future videos or blogs. Thanks for reading and watching, and for joining me on this educational journey!
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