Dental Blog of Asheboro, NC Dentists
TMJ Pain Relief ExercisesJuly 10, 2014
These TMJ pain relief exercises are designed with several purposes in mind:
The TMJ pain relief exercises should be performed twice a day for about 5 minutes each time (unless otherwise stated). Ideal times would be when one wakes up in the morning and before one goes to bed at night. However, you can perform them whenever you feel necessary.
Disclaimer: Though unlikely, I am not responsible for any injuries brought about because of these TMJ exercises, and I am in no way responsible for any of the outcomes of the practicing of these exercises for TMJ relief.
The TMJ Exercises Plan
If you find that the TMJ exercises don't help or even make matters worse, chances are you may need more aggressive treatment.
TMJ: Jaw Muscle Stretch
Open your mouth just a bit. Place the palm of your right hand on the right side of your jaw, meanwhile sliding your lower jaw toward your hand. Push gently against it, creating resistance to the sideways movement and hold for five seconds. Now repeat this with your left palm against the left side of your jaw. Do this five times on each side.
TMJ: Isometric Jaw Exercise
Relaxing your mouth, protrude your lower jaw forward, straight, while placing your palm against the chin, creating resistance. Hold for five seconds. Repeat five times.
TMJ: Neck Stretch 1
Turning your head to the right to rotate your neck, take two fingers of your left hand and place them on the left lower jaw, pushing slightly to gently stretch your neck muscles. Hold for five seconds. Now rotate your neck to the left while placing gentle pressure on the right lower jaw, again using two fingers to push and gently stretch the neck muscles. Hold for five seconds. Repeat five times for each side.
TMJ: Neck Stretch II
Standing up, extend your head back gently so that you are looking at the ceiling. You should feel a gentle stretch in your throat. Hold for five seconds. Now drop your head forward so that you are looking down at the floor, again feeling a gentle stretch, this time at the back of your neck. Hold for five seconds. Repeat five times.
TMJ: Neck Stretch III
Bend your neck to the right side, lowering your right ear to your right shoulder. Place two fingers on the left temple area and exert gentle pressure until you feel a stretch in your neck. Hold for five seconds. Now do this on the other side, using two fingers on your right temple to exert gentle pressure until you feel a stretch. Repeat two times on each side.
TMJ: Mouth Muscle Massage
Place three fingers of each hand on their respective temples. In a circular motion, gently massage the temporalis muscles for about ten seconds, being careful not to exert too much pressure. Repeat two or three times. Similarly, try this massage on the jaw, placing your hands just in front of and below your ears, which massages the masseter muscles.
Other TMJ Tips
How long will it take for the TMJ Exercises to work?
This is of course an impossible to answer and your pain and discomfort will change depending on you and your TMJ condition. But, people have responded that the TMJ exercises listed here have been so effective that their jaw felt better immediately after doing the TMJ exercises. Of course, the pain isn't completely gone, but even taking the edge off just a bit can make a huge difference to your overall quality of life. To completely get rid of your TMJ problems, you'll need to be consistent with your TMJ exercises. Don't forget to do your TMJ exercises daily!!
Dentists As Doctors of Oral HealthMay 31, 2014
Cavities are the most prevalent chronic disease of childhood despite the strides that oral health education and awareness has made with the general public.
The American Dental Association (ADA) calculates that approximately 100 million Americans fail to schedule an annual visit to the dentist. Many people still think that a trip to the dentist is only needed if there's an obvious problem. In fact, though, prevention and early detection are two powerful ways that dentists can help raise overall health.
How can we lower the instances of childhood cavities and increase the number of people who take preventive action to maintain good oral health? One way is to gain a better understanding of the work of dentists.
Dentists are doctors of oral health. The course of study is similar for students of medicine and students of dentistry during the first two years of their professional training. So, dentists have the same solid grounding in diagnosis and treatment as other doctors before branching into their specialties.
The following two years of education and training focuses on oral disease and collateral conditions. The area of care for dentists is broad; it includes the head, neck, jaw, tongue, salivary glands, and nervous system. Upon completion of training, dentists are able to detect broader medical conditions'many of which show early signs in the mouth'and refer the patient to either an oral specialist or a physician.
Not only is it a good idea to encourage your family and friends to get regular checkups to avoid cavities and maintain basic oral health but you may also be helping them to avoid more serious health issues through early detection.
Please help us help the American public by encouraging regular dental checkups.
Why Good Dental Care is a Smart InvestmentJune 1, 2014
Investing in Yourself: Why Good Dental Care is a Smart Investment
The market is up, the market is down. Real estate ' well, it's just down. So what is a wise investment these days? Without a doubt, investing your time and resources in your own health and well-being is one of the smartest things you can do. The returns are great when you invest in a regular exercise program, a healthy diet, regular preventive health care, and, of course, good dental care.
What quality of life do you envision for yourself in your golden years?
Many of us will live quite a number of years after retirement age. This is where the returns can be great from investing in your health. On the flip side, the costs can be astronomical when dealing with the accumulated effects of poor lifestyle choices over many years. There was a time when many people assumed they would eventually lose their teeth. And this was often true, due to limited access to dental care and a lack of understanding of dental disease progression. Today, while there is certainly a point of no return, we have the knowledge and skills to restore most people to excellent esthetics and function, in spite of genetics or past poor dental care. However, the earlier a commitment is made to invest in good quality regular dental care, the less expensive it will be!
So what are the benefits of investing in good dental care?
Of course, avoidance of pain contributes a great deal to a good quality of life! A healthy attractive smile can be a tremendous boost to self-confidence and the image we portray to the world. It can transform a shy, self-conscious individual into a confident, competent, approachable person ready to take on the world! Restoring worn, uneven, and discolored teeth can also take years off your face. If you find this difficult to imagine, I could show you picture after picture. Controlling chronic conditions like temporo-mandibular joint disorder can give you a new lease on life. And let's don't forget the fresher breath that results from treating and controlling dental decay and periodontal disease ' this definitely gives you a social advantage! Finally, good dental care and decreasing the harmful bacteria in your mouth lead to a stronger immune system and better overall health.
Ironically, one of the greatest hindrances to ideal dental health has been dental insurance. While it is a wonderful benefit and encourages regular preventive care, it provides a very limited benefit for a narrow scope of basic care. Many beneficiaries assume that if their insurance doesn't cover proposed treatment then they don't really need it or simply can't do it. This is where a change in perspective is required for anyone truly desiring ideal dental health. In fact, in the changing landscape of dental insurance today, out-of-pocket expenses in obtaining good quality dental care from a healthcare provider willing to take the time to listen to your concerns and desires are ever increasing. Viewing good dental care as a wise investment is key to preserving a healthy, attractive smile for a lifetime. Things like interest-free financing options and healthcare savings accounts (HSAs) can be valuable tools in making this investment.
Master Plan for your Dental Health
As a final thought, I would like to propose to you that you think of your dental health in terms of a 'master plan.' What would you like your teeth to look and feel like in 10, 20, or 30 years? What type of care and treatment would it take to achieve that? How well do you feel you can communicate what you would like to achieve with your dentist so that together you can formulate a plan? Keep in mind that most smile makeovers do not occur overnight. Whether your goal is simply avoiding future cavities or a full mouth rehabilitation, it takes planning, an assessment of what has led to your current condition, and thoughtful consideration of what specific treatments and time frame would best suit your unique needs. This in turn would lead to a 'master plan' giving you a blueprint of how to go from your current state to your optimal dental health. A wise investment indeed!
Your Dental Check-up as a Window into your Overall HealthJune 9, 2014
How does your dental health relate to your overall health and wellness? I'd like to share with you several health issues that we try to educate our patients about based on signs that we see during dental exams.
So now you can see why your regular dental check-ups matter for much more than just having clean teeth!
De-stress your way to a HEALTHIER YOU!May 9, 2014
My greatest passion is to have a positive impact on the lives of others. In my articles, I would like to share thoughts on improving dental health and overall wellness, as well as other interesting tidbits. While I may share occasional links, my posts are opinion-based, not research-based.
Are any of you feeling stressed as you read this post? Chances are a significant number of you are feeling some degree of stress ' that is the nature of the world we live in. Our bodies are equipped to handle short-term stress; it can even be beneficial in problem-solving and reaching goals. However, chronic long-term stress is quite damaging to our bodies. It can depress our immune system and make it more difficult for cellular repair to occur. According to the Mayo Clinic, chronic stress can cause or exacerbate anxiety, depression, digestive problems, heart disease, sleep problems, weight gain, and memory and concentration impairment. For more information, please click here.
While we can't entirely eliminate stress from our lives, we can develop strategies to deal with it better. And taking it out on your spouse is definitely not the best strategy! My suggestion is to pick simple, easy strategies first, like practicing diaphragmatic deep breathing, listening to relaxing music, reading a good book, hugging your loved ones, or keeping a gratitude journal. It is wise to make this a daily habit. Once these strategies begin to lower your daily stress level, you will be better equipped to tackle bigger changes like adding a regular exercise routine, reducing your exposure to toxic people, or making a lifestyle change. Maybe even recovering from road rage!
From a dental perspective, we often see stress manifest in TMJ pain and bruxism (tooth grinding). While there may be dental conditions that contribute to these issues, we often cannot resolve TMJ pain or bruxism without addressing stress. I am always happy to counsel my patients on some simple strategies to help reduce stress and can suggest several local resources.
To wrap things up, I will share one of my favorite ways to decrease stress ' dark chocolate! Taking a moment to savor a Dove dark chocolate square and enjoying a few cleansing breaths can melt away petty irritations and give you a new perspective. The health benefits of dark chocolate have been well-documented so enjoy guilt-free!
Health BalanceMarch 1, 2014
Happy March! I know we are all hoping the winds of spring come in and blow away the winter blues! In this post I want to address the importance of balance in achieving optimal health, specifically in the areas of physical, emotional, and spiritual health.
Physical health depends upon a balance between exercise and rest (specifically getting enough sleep), and requires attention to balance nutritionally as well. Emotional health is affected by achieving balance between work and play, and having hope and a positive outlook even when confronted with difficult circumstances. Spiritual health comes only when you can balance the demands of daily living with your sense of a greater purpose and the ability to look outside of yourself to have a positive impact on others.
So as a dental professional, how might I influence balance in the lives of my patients? Unhealthy teeth and gums can set up a chronic infection or inflammatory process that will prevent an individual from achieving optimal systemic health. Our team prides itself on helping patients achieve and maintain great dental health. Emotional health is without a doubt enhanced by confidence in one's smile. And as for spiritual health, I am honored when I am able to offer support and prayer in the face of a patient's personal struggles. Our entire team cares deeply about our patients as individuals, not just a set of teeth! I would highly recommend a book I have been reading, Open Your Eyes by Jake Olsen. Jake is a 16-year old cancer survivor. His cancer left him blind, and his book is all about faith and seeing the positive in every situation.
Finally, since Dr. Bryan has not updated his fishing blog lately, I want to share one of our favorite 'healthy' fish recipes. Bon Appetit!
Almond Encrusted Fish with Beurre Blanc Sauce
1/4 c. dry white wine
1 egg, beaten
1/8 c. + heavy cream
1 c. sliced almonds, crushed
2 tbsp. butter
1 c. Panko bread crumbs
1/2 tbsp. flour
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 c. shredded Colby-Jack cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1 lb. white fish (we use grouper)
Preheat oven to 375. Mix almonds, breadcrumbs, and Parmesan cheese in a shallow dish. Coat fish with egg then coat with almond mixture. Place in pan sprayed with Pam cooking spray. Sprinkle with salt and pepper if desired. Bake approximately 20 minutes, or until fish is flaky in the middle.
Pour white wine and a dash of heavy cream into a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook down a couple of minutes, then add 2 tbsp. butter and melt. In a small bowl, whisk flour into 1/8 c. heavy cream, then add to saucepan. Add 1/4 c. Colby Jack cheese and melt, serve over fish.
Cracked Tooth SyndromeFebruary 1, 2014
We offer the below additional information for our patients about oral health issues, treatment and avoidance. If you have any questions about oral health, or the topics listed here, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Cracked Tooth Syndrome
Teeth may crack when subjected to the stress of chewing hard foods or ice or by biting on an unexpected hard object. Unfortunately, cracks may also develop slowly over time without any symptoms due to normal wear and tear. Teeth with restorations are most susceptible.
Symptoms And Signs May Include The Following:
Treatment Of Cracked Teeth:
Vitamin D - Did You Know?January 1, 2014
You already know that good dental health depends on regular oral health practices and a healthy diet low in sugar. But did you know that vitamin D also plays a role?
Scientists and researchers for the past 100 years have noted geographical variations in dental health. A study as far back as the Civil War showed an 8% military service rejection rate in Kentucky for lost teeth compared to a 25% rate in New England.
The connection between geography and sunlight exposure was made in the 1930′s when researchers found that subjects living in more sunny areas had half as many tooth decay issues as those in less sunny areas.
In a study conducted in Oregon in the 1950′s, dental decay was lower on the sunny side of the state and more pronounced on the rainy side. Vitamin D from sunlight's ultraviolet rays was identified as a factor in calcium metabolism. Both the sun's rays and vitamin D induce cathelicidin, an antimicrobial polypeptide that fights oral bacteria.
Vitamin D has many health benefits in addition to reducing dental decay. If you don't spend much time outdoors or if you live somewhere without a lot of sunlight, make sure you and your family are receiving sufficient levels of this important vitamin.
If you have questions or concerns about vitamin intake, give us a call or contact your physician.
GingivitisDecember 1, 2013
Gingivitis: Causes, Prevention, and Treatment
One of the conditions we always look for when you come in for your regular dental checkup is signs of periodontal disease. Why? Many oral health problems can be greatly reduced or eliminated altogether with early detection and treatment.
One of these is gingivitis, an inflammation of the gums around the teeth. Not only can this condition be painful due to heightened sensitivity but it can affect the health of other soft tissue and bones in the oral cavity. These are collectively known as the periodontium (per-ee-uh-DON-shum).
In extreme cases where the infection has spread from the gums into adjacent tissues of the face, neck and bone, the condition is known as acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis. It's common name is trench mouth.
Gingivitis occurs when the bacteria that is commonly found in the mouth starts to infect the soft tissues and bones. Causes can include plaque formation around the teeth, illnesses or medication for illnesses that lower immune defenses, hormonal changes, and poor oral hygiene.
Not all causes of gingivitis are within a person's control but many are. One of the most effective ways to prevent it is through routine, comprehensive oral care. Regular brushing and flossing will greatly reduce the likelihood of developing this disease. Keeping your immune system strong is another. Researchers are exploring the links between the immune system and diet, exercise, stress and other factors.
Regular dental checkups are important. Early detection along with improved dental hygiene can often head off the progression of oral disease.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)November 1, 2013
Information Sheet for Dental Patients ' Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
As many as 80% of reflux sufferers have 'silent GERD' and are aware of no signs or symptoms. Dental professionals may be the first to notice signs of this disease since it often causes characteristic dental erosive lesions, thinning of the enamel, sensitivity, and an increased risk of decay.
Signs and Symptoms
Once they become familiar with the signs and symptoms of GERD, many patients recognize that what they thought was normal is actually a sign of disease.
The most common signs and symptoms are:
Chronic throat irritation from GERD can progress to Barrett's Esophagitis, which can cause pre-cancerous polyps and even esophageal cancer.
Management of the Disease
GERD may be diagnosed by endoscopy or based on symptoms and response to medications. Long-term management may be best addressed by lifestyle changes, since long-term medication usage may affect nutrient absorption through the stomach lining.
Here are some suggestions for lifestyle management: