Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Can TMJ Cause Ringing in the Ears?

Ringing in the ears (tinnitus) is a common affliction in many people, but since it is a symptom and not a disease it can be tricky to find it's source.  It could be caused by medications, long term exposure to loud noises, high blood pressure, even sinus infections.  It can be mild or severe, even debilitating to some, causing sleep disorders and a disruption of your daily life. One or both ears can be affected and some degree of hearing loss is generally present.

If your doctor has ruled out all of the above causes, consider seeing your dentist to check for TMJ problems.  The jawbone is a load bearing joint, and might I add,  one of the most important in the body.  If you notice popping sensations when you chew or that you are having difficulty opening your mouth, have soreness in the mornings, headaches and aching of the jaw throughout the day, ask to be screened for this disorder. Although TMJ isn't the most common cause, it may turn out to be the root cause of your tinnitus.

There is no cure for tinnitus, but the symptoms can be treated.  Hearing aids can be effective for those with severe hearing loss.  Tiny sound generators that fit behind or inside the earlobe can be helpful by providing a distracting sound (aka white noise) that masks the noise and minimizes it's severity.  Additionally, doctors have prescribed anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications with some success.  There is no reason to suffer anymore!  Contact your dentist and get screened for TMJ.

Keep Smiling!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Can Your Teeth Describe Your Personality?

What is the first thing you notice when you meet someone new? It maybe the eyes, smile or appearance. I personal notice the smile!

I came across an article this morning that talked about how you can match teeth with personality traits. I thought this was interesting so I figured I would share it with you!

Passive Personality - If you are the type of person who goes with the flow and rarely gets stressed out, you likely have flatter canines with curvier tops.

Anxious Personality - If you tend to bite your nails or grind your teeth when  anxious your most likely have smaller teeth.

Aggressive Personality - If you are a slightly aggressive person you most likely have thinner, more pronounced canines that often protrude out past the lateral incisors.

Reckless Personality - If you are a "party animal" you most likely are relaxed about habits such as drinking and smoking which often result in stained teeth.

Wouldn't it be nice to get an idea of  what someones personality is like, just by looking at their teeth?

Monday, October 23, 2017

Bleaching is good, but don't do it too often!!!

Teeth whitening procedures are currently among the most requested cosmetic dental procedures. There are the expensive treatments you can have done at the dentist's office, and there are the over the counter kits that you can purchase at drug stores and department stores. Bleaching isn't necessarily bad for your teeth, but as with almost anything these days, you can overdo it. Many people have the mentality that more is better, but not in this case!! Bleaching too often can result in irritation to the gums, sensitivity to hot and cold, and it can actually alter the natural color of your teeth and cause a bluish hue....much the same way that bleaching overprocessed gray hair to white can result in blue hair! Nobody wants blue teeth! So follow the directions of your dental provider when bleaching and never exceed the recommended treatment on the over-the counter kits. Unless of course, blue is your color and you would dare to be different!


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Jaw Pain And Treatments

Have you ever experienced jaw pain? If your answer is yes, you know it can be super uncomfortable and  can make it hard to eat and speak.

Most jaw pain is due to an injury in the jaw joint but there are other possibilities to why you are experiencing jaw pain.

Causes:

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis or Osetoarthritis
  • Injury to the jaw that has damaged the TMJ
  • Chronic grinding (Bruxism)
  • Connective tissue disease that affects the jaw joint
  • Advanced tooth decay leading to an abscess or another serious dental problem
  • Excessive stress leading to tension buildup in the jaw
  • Sinus infection or allergies putting pressure on the teeth and jaw
Treatments:
  • Relax - Stress leads to muscle tension in the head, jaw, neck and shoulders. Try relaxing exercises like yoga, mediation or a nice quiet hot bath!
  • Invest in a night guard - Tooth grinding is common in adults. When we are stressed or mad we tend to grind our teeth and it usually happens in the middle of the night. 
  • Botox - If you suffer from chronic jaw pain, maybe its time to ask about Botox. Botox helps reduce muscle contractions and keeps the jaw at rest. When the jaw is at rest it allows the area to heal.
If your pain continues, its very important to seek medical/dental attention right away!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Bad Business Reviews, Formal Complaints and Social Media

There was an article on Yahoo some time ago about a dentist who was considering a lawsuit against an elderly man who posted a bad review about her on an online review forum. Seriously? Apparently she had him sign a few papers prior to treatment (while he was in pain and on medication). Included in the paperwork was a waiver stating that he would not report his experience or write any negative reviews about her following his treatment! He says that he had problems dealing with her office for almost a year after his treatment, and, exasperated, finally felt that he needed to share his experience. There was most certainly a better way. Also, I once had a client file a formal complaint with the Board of Dental Examiners against a dentist because it was cold in his office and he didn't have a blanket for her to cover up with. It was frivolous, thoughtless and completely unnecessary. Personally, in my 25 years of working in this industry, I have never heard of such a thing. The dentist ended up losing time and money because he had to attend continuing education classes and pay a fine for the infraction.  Nonsense! 

There are many ways to resolve issues with your dentist, whether they are staff related, price discrepancies or quality of care issues. The key is communication. I certainly would not advise anyone to file a complaint with the board because a receptionist was rude, or post it on any review forum, ever! Only as a last resort would I suggest filing a board complaint for anything less than malpractice. 


This would be my suggestion instead: Consider a well written letter; certified, registered mail. Clearly state the problem (keeping opinions out), and state what you would consider to be a fair resolution. Send it directly to the dentist, return receipt. Allow him a reasonable amount of time to respond...10 days or so. Believe me, he will be much more receptive to a resolution than his receptionist or office manager because it is his license that is on the line!  Nine times out of ten the complaint will be resolved when it is approached this way. This method works! 

In this age of social media, bad news travels fast.  Faster than the speed of light, it seems.  One careless complaint can ruin a reputation, a practice or even a person.  Always try to keep that in mind when a problem arises and opt for civil communication, instead.  

Keep Smiling! 



Wednesday, October 11, 2017

National Dental Hygiene Month

Did you know that National Dental Hygiene Month is recognized in October by dental providers all over the country?  National Dental Hygiene Month is sponsored by both the American Dental Hygienists Association (ADHA) and the Wrigley Oral Healthcare Program!

According to adha.com this year, the awareness is focusing on four routines that can help people maintain a healthy smile by flowing the #daily4: brushing, flossing, rinsing and chewing.

  • Brush - Twice a day for two minutes with a soft bristled brush
  • Floss- Regularly
  • Rinse - With Mouthwash (avoid types that contain alcohol)
  • Chew - Sugarfree gum after meals for twenty plus minutes.
Along with the #Daily4, its very important to visit your dentist every six months for a routine cleaning and exam.


Food for thought:

Before you say "oh, you're just a hygienist!" keep in mind they do much more then just clean your teeth.
They:
  • Review your medical history just in case your forgot to write something down.
  • Talk to you when they are cleaning your teeth to keep you calm and make you feel comfortable.
  • Preform oral cancer screenings, periodontal charting, decay assessments oral hygiene assessments, sealant placements, fluoride treatments and deal with any other overall health concerns.
  • Sterilize the operatory and dental instruments.
  • Have obtained a bachelor's degree in allied dental health, have to complete continuing education requirements and maintain current licenses. 
A simple "Thank You" will go a long way!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Dental Insurance vs. Dental Plans - Do Your Homework!

Just in case you are undecided or, even if you are currently insured for dental, you may want to take a look at the facts about dental insurance over a good dental plan. We recently did a presentation on this subject for a group of people in a 55+ community. Many were not even aware that there was an option for ordinary dental insurance coverage. Most had no coverage at all. Here are some facts that you may want to consider if you are trying to decide which way to go.
First, let me say that insurance companies are NOT in the business of paying claims...that is, they will ALWAYS pay less in claims than they receive in premiums. This may account for the continually rising costs in premiums over recent years, yes? Add to that the number of aging americans (Baby Boomers) entering the market with both health and dental health issues daily and insurance fraud, which is an ongoing and highly practiced thing. It isn't any wonder that so many things are no longer covered. That said, there are some stark differences between insurance and dental plans as a whole.

Dental insurance policies will have:

A limit or a "cap" on the number of procedures you can have done in a given year, usually $1000 to $1500. Anything over that is usually full fee.
A waiting period for pre-existing conditions, sometimes up to a year!
Referral requirements for specialists
Higher premiums in comparison to dental plans.
Age limits
Exclusions


Typical Dental Plan coverage has:

No waiting period
No limit on procedures done in a given year
No claim forms to fill out
No exclusions
No age limits
No referral requirements
A set schedule of benefits
Lower yearly fee for coverage

If you are in the market for dental insurance, please check out your options before you commit to anything. Better yet, ask your dentist! He or she will likely tell you that a good dental plan is the way to go. We have many dentists referring patients to us, and many members of our dental plan that have been with us for 20 years. You can't be wrong with that many happy customers!

Keep Smiling =}

Saturday, October 7, 2017

The Health Benefits of Veneers

Many people are opting for porcelain veneers to cover imperfections in their teeth because they are less expensive than dental implants, and require a much shorter treatment time than orthodontics, but did you know that aside from the obvious smile enhancing benefits there are some other good reasons to opt for veneers? They can be used to close gaps and adjust malformations in the teeth and improve the bite, therefore aiding in digestion. They can actually strengthen the teeth against chipping and abrasion. And, because of the high-gloss/glazed finish on the veneers, they are resistant to plaque, cutting down on gum disease and gingivitis! And we all know that healthy teeth and gums contribute to the overall health of our bodies!

Just thought I'd throw that out there for anyone who might be considering extensive cosmetic dental work. Explore the possibilities!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

No Toothbrush? What Should I DO?

It happens to all of us at some point in our life; forgetting to brush or bring a toothbrush with us as we are running out of the house because we are late, have an important meeting right after lunch, going on weekend get away or even dry camping!

Don't  Fret, there are many different ways you can brush your teeth without a toothbrush:

  • Eat crunchy veggies/fruits - These help scrape plaque from your teeth, removing odor causing bacteria.
  • Nibble on cheese - Cheese contains enzymes that help neutralize the bacteria that lead to bad breath.
  • Water - Rinse mouth with water, this helps wash away any food particles.
  • Chew gum - Yes, sugarless is the best but any gum will do. Gum helps looses stuck food particles in between teeth and helps produce saliva.
  •  Use paper towel - Wrap a piece of paper towel around your finger and using it as a brush.  
  • Find a twig - This is a perfect solution if your camping in the middle of the woods. Pick a flexible twig, peel the bark off and chew on one end until the fibers separate, turning the end into a little brush. 

*Keep in mind these are just temporary solutions until you have access to your toothbrush:

Monday, October 2, 2017

Dental Enamel-Once It's Gone, It's Gone.

Dental enamel, unlike bones, does not regenerate or "heal" once it is damaged. Dental enamel is formed during the original growth of the tooth underneath the gums. While there are many factors that can contribute to the loss of dental enamel, such as poor dental hygiene or certain hereditary conditions, there is good news. Researchers are actively seeking treatments and therapies that could change everything. Of course, proper hygiene and regular visits to your dentist are the best way to combat any kind of dental dilemma, but for dental enamel in particular, there are now certain treatments that can help slow the process of enamel degeneration that can be applied during your regular dental visits as part of your preventative maintenance regimen. 

For more information on such treatments, click HERE

Keep Smiling!