Frequently Asked Questions

Tmj treatmentTMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, your jaw joints. The pain, discomfort, or tenderness in or around the jaw joints is called a TMJ disorder. Signs that you might have a TMJ disorder are:

  • Facial pain or tenderness
  • Jaw pain
  • Pain in or around the ears
  • Neck pain
  • Jaw stiffness
  • Discomfort while chewing
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty opening and closing the mouth
  • Jaw "locking up"
  • Jaw makes a clicking sound
  • Teeth that don't come together properly when eating or chewing

There are a variety of treatment options for TMJ. Be sure to ask us about these.

Fluoride is fine... in small amounts. Excessive fluoride can cause tooth enamel irregularities. Young children, especially, often swallow too much toothpaste while brushing. So parents, supervise your young kids while they brush. Kids (and even adults) often use way too much toothpaste (a pea-size drop is plenty). A little goes a long way.

soft drinksSugar and acids are your teeth's worst enemies. What are we talking about? Soft drinks, energy drinks, fruit juices, and candy. Because of the acid content, Mountain Dew seems to be the worst of the worst. Dentists even have a name for the damage it does - they call it "Dew Mouth." These soften the tooth enamel, making it highly susceptible to decay. Parents, watch your kid's consumption of these, because young children's enamel hasn't developed fully. This makes these drinks even more damaging for kids. As well as eliminating the above (or at least reducing their consumption), use a sugar-free xylitol chewing gum after meals. Also, rinse your mouth with a high-quality dental mouthwash.

Tooth enamel is very hard, but that doesn't mean you can't break it. Try to avoid eating "hard foods" such as popcorn. Don't crack nut shells with your teeth or chew on ice. Opening packages with your teeth can also damage the enamel.

Do you wake up with pain in your jaws or a persistent headache? If so, you may be grinding (called bruxing) while you sleep. Persistent bruxing can damage teeth and cause them to get shorter and shorter. It can also damage your temporomandibular (jaw) joints and even affect your hearing. If you suspect that you are a bruxer, ask us about this. Dr. Jones may recommend a night guard or other oral appliance.

Oral treatmentDid you know "teeth cleaning" does more than just clean your teeth? Removing plaque is absolutely essential if you want to preserve your teeth. It builds up on the tooth surfaces and between the teeth. Brushing and flossing are, of course, vital, but everyone needs their teeth professionally cleaned on a regular basis. Remember - only a dental hygienist can completely clean your teeth.

Yes, we do. Dentists and hygienists are your first line of defense in detecting and treating oral cancer. Each year in the US, approximately 30,000 people are newly diagnosed with oral cancer. Worldwide, the problem is far greater, with new cases annually approaching 300,000. In the US alone, a person dies from oral cancer every hour of every day. If you add the sub category of laryngeal cancers, the rates of occurrence (about 10,000 additional new cases per year) and death are significantly higher. However, the good news is, when found early, oral cancers have an 80 to 90% cure rate.

Dental implants are the best available treatment to replace a missing tooth. Average costs range from $3,000 to $5,000 depending on complexity. Dental implants are the nicest looking, longest lasting, strongest, and safest option. You can smile, eat, and chew just like with a natural tooth. In fact, having an implant is the next best thing to re-growing your own tooth.

With proper care, dental implants can last a lifetime.

While the placement of a dental implant is typically only a 20-minute procedure, the body still has to heal afterward. Most patients are able to resume all normal activities the next day, with many able to return to work the same day the implant is placed. Depending on the condition of the bone, the implant will need to heal 12-16 weeks before a tooth can be attached to it.

Since the implant is inserted into the gum and jaw bone, there will certainly be some tenderness and sensitivity right after the surgery. The surrounding area might be slightly swollen and mild bleeding or bruising can occur the first couple of days after surgery. This is usually minimal, and typically only affects patients on certain medications or requiring much more extensive surgical procedures.
Immediately following the procedure, a gauze pack will be firmly held in place over the dental implant to reduce bleeding. It is important to keep this pack on for about 30 minutes or until the bleeding stops.
Holding an icepack or cold compress to any swollen areas can provide some relief. Over-the-counter medications such as Advil are very helpful in controlling swelling and discomfort, and your dentist may also give you prescription medications. Take it easy for the first few days after the procedure and rest as much as possible to promote quicker healing.

Porcelain Dental Veneers can correct chipped, aged, worn, discolored, and even crooked or spaced teeth. While veneers can solve many of these problems, the teeth will need to be examined first to determine if there is any decay or old dentistry that would first need to be repaired.

Modern methods of Cosmetic Dentistry have many options for fixing crooked or misaligned teeth. Depending upon the condition and degree of misalignment, treatment could range from Invisalign clear aligners, Porcelain Veneers, and many options in between to allow for a completely natural and beautiful smile.

This is just a sampling of often-asked questions. Have one of your own?

Don't hesitate to give us a call at (770) 467-3639 so we can assist you.

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