How TMJ disorder Can Cause Migraines

Migraines are severe painful headaches that often render the sufferer sensitive to sounds, light and/or smell as well as causing a throbbing pain on one or both sides of the head. People who experience migraines are often incapacitated by them and can still feel unwell for a day or so after the migraine has passed. 

There are many causes of migraines, however not many people are aware that a common dental condition called temperomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, can sometimes be the cause of them. If the doctor has ruled out common medical reasons as the cause of your migraines, it might be worth speaking to your dentist about them instead. 

The TMJ is the joint that connects the lower jaw to the skull and is responsible for your ability to talk, eat and yawn. This joint undergoes a lot of movement and pressure so it is understandable that problems can arise with it. The TMJ can easily become inflamed, stressed or misaligned resulting in tenderness and pain in the area. Other signs of a TMJ disorder include difficulty chewing food or speaking without pain.

When a TMJ disorder arises, this affects the nearby supporting muscles, causing them to become tense. For instance, if the TMJ is misaligned causing an improper bite (upper and lower teeth not meeting when the mouth is closed), the jaw attempts to correct it, straining the surrounding muscles in the jaw and cheeks. 

This tension can spread to nearby areas of the body such as the neck, shoulders, ears or head. If the tension radiates to the head it can cause a migraine. A TMJ disorder can also result in teeth grinding, a condition which also causes headaches, particularly when waking up in the morning.

If your dentist thinks that you may have a disorder of the TMJ then this could be the cause of your migraines. Treating the underlying cause of the TMJ problem could prevent these migraines from occurring. For misaligned bites, an oral appliance can be worn to reduce pressure on the joint or orthodontic treatment such as braces can provide a permanent solution by moving teeth to correct the under or overbite. 

Pressure on the TMJ can also be minimised by avoiding chewing gum and foods that require a lot of chewing or are particularly difficult to eat. Gently massaging the jaw muscles can also help relieve the pressure surrounding the joint.

Teenage Oral Health

E-cigarettes May Pose A Threat to Teenage Oral Health

Adolescence is a time when there are already strains being placed on oral health, yet the rapid rise of e-cigarette use among teenagers could be adding to potential issues such as gum disease. The teen years can see many wearing braces to correct teeth alignment issues, helping their oral care as they go forward, with straighter teeth being easier to clean and keep healthy. 

Besides braces and the possibility of professional teeth whitening to further enhance their smile, they will also have their wisdom teeth come through. If there is not enough room for these third molars to develop then they will need specialised dental care.

Now a sharp rise in vaping sees another potential threat to oral care according to recent studies. Instead of being less harmful than regular cigarettes, the nicotine in e-cigarettes may still pose the same threat of gum disease. Also, as the vapours within the device are burned cells release inflammatory proteins. These proteins can aggravate the cells in the mouth which could lead to oral health problems. Studies also point to the flavouring chemicals within e-cigarettes compounding cell damage.

However, recent cases in the US have suggested further serious health problems may be linked to vaping. In a two-month period during 2019 there were 153 cases across 16 states of respiratory illness recorded which may be linked to e-cigarette use. Inflammation appears to be the cause of illness, resulting in fluid in the lungs. Tests showed the inflammation was not due to infection and so the possibility of it being connected to e-cigarette use is being explored. With 1 in 5 high school students in the US using e-cigarettes more research is required to evaluate the potential harm they may cause.

Researchers have stressed that these respiratory problems have not been linked to any specific device or flavoring chemical. Indeed, many of those who have been ill also admitted to recently using a marijuana containing product. Yet e-cigarettes do contain ultra-fine particles and oils which can be an irritant to the lungs, plus flavored vapor can contain diacetyl which has previously been linked to lung ailments in factory workers.

The teenagers who have been treated for respiratory problems have generally recovered, yet the concern is what the possible long-term effects might be. At present, until further research is carried out, the possibility of a link between vaping and health, including oral health, remains. 

Do You Have Jaw Pain? Headaches? Could Be TMJ

If you have jaw pain and wake up with headaches, you may have a problem referred to as TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder. Let’s break this down so you can get to the treatments (which are highly effective).

The TMJ is a joint that connects the lower jaw to the skull, acting as a hinge to allow you to move your jaw in order to chew and talk. Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) occur when there are issues affecting this joint and the muscles surrounding it. 

TMD can be a temporary issue or it can last for years and requires diagnosis to apply the relevant treatment. Although it can be hard to pinpoint the cause of TMD, some of the main reasons for someone to suffer with this are thought to be:

  • Whiplash or a physical blow
  • Teeth grinding
  • Uneven bite
  • Stress
  • Arthritis
  • Wear and tear

Symptoms of TMD

There are numerous signs you may be suffering with TMD, some of which could also be caused by another factor. A major symptom of TMD is severe pain in the jaw area, which could extend up around the ear and temple. This pain can sometimes be worse when chewing. 

Another sign a dentist may look for when examining you is whether you experience clicking, popping or grinding noises when you move the jaw. Other symptoms include:

  • Trouble opening the mouth
  • Locking of the jaw
  • Sore neck
  • An uncomfortable bite
  • Swelling of the face

Self-help Treatments for TMD

Your dentist can test for TMD using a range of methods from a physical examination or a bite analysis, through to an X-ray or an MRI scan. Treatments depend on the severity of the TMD but there are a number of self-help treatments your dentist may suggest initially. These include:

  • Eating soft foods
  • Applying a cold pack, followed by a warm towel
  • Over-the-counter medications to relieve pain and reduce inflammation
  • Relaxation methods including massaging the jaw and muscles

Using a Splint

A splint can be applied to the lower jaw to help realign the joint. This can be beneficial in lessening the effects of teeth grinding or clenching. A splint is designed to take off the pressure from the jaw and to allow the muscles to relax. A night guard can be worn when sleeping to achieve similar results and your dentist will help decide which would be best for you. 

Further treatment options include:

  • Low level electrical currents to relax the joint and muscles
  • Ultrasound
  • Acupuncture
  • Trigger-point injections

As you can see, there are plenty of treatment options to relieve TMJ discomfort and pain. Talk to your dentist if you have symptoms, so you can get on the path to treatment — and experience real pain relief. Enjoy your life now, don’t wait for it to get better — because that won’t happen. 

Our commitment at Danny de Villiers Dentist Weybridge, is to personalised, holistic health care, which puts the individual needs of the patient at the centre of everything we do.

Have You Thought About Six Month Smile?

Six Month Smile braces will improve the appearance of your smile in approximately six months; think of it as a fast-track brace! Your front teeth will look beautiful, so your smile will be wonderful.

Danny the Dentist is happy to help you with Six Month Smiles to give you the smile you’ve always wanted — whether you’re a teen or adult.

What are the braces like & how do they work?

A Six Month Smile brace involves clear brackets adhered to your teeth and tooth-coloured wires to change the position of your teeth.

What types of problems do Six Month Smiles correct?

Six Month Smile braces correct any minor issues that can be seen when you smile, in your front teeth. This includes crowding, overlapping, misalignment, crooked teeth or gaps. They are suitable for both adults and teenagers, particularly those concerned about their appearance and with only minor imperfections with their smile.

How does it compare to traditional braces?

Compared with traditional braces, Six Month Smiles:

  • Produce quicker results: focusing on correcting only the teeth that can be seen when you smile allows for a much shorter treatment time than the typical 18 to 24 months needed for traditional braces.
  • Are more affordable: the shorter treatment time is very cost-effective.
  • Are more comfortable to wear: they are fairly unobtrusive so patients tend to get used to wearing them very quickly.
  • Are less noticeable: they are far less visible than traditional metal train track braces with their clear brackets and tooth-coloured wires.

Although traditional braces can treat other problems such as incorrect bites, most people only need their visible front teeth improving.

How can I get Six Month Smiles braces?

The first thing you need to do is book a consultation with an orthodontist, so your suitability for Six Month Smiles can be assessed. They will examine your smile by taking X-Rays, facial photos and impressions of your teeth. They will advise whether you are eligible for a Six Month Smile and indicate how long you will likely need to wear them for (most people do see results after six months, but some people need up to nine months).

At your next appointment, the brace will be bonded to your teeth and you will be on your way to your best smile!

You will need to attend follow-up appointments every four to five weeks so the brace can be adjusted. Although this involves tightening the wires, it is not painful, just a little uncomfortable.

Once your smile is where it should be, the brace will be removed and you will receive a retainer to wear at night to make sure your teeth don’t move back to their old positions.

Our commitment at Danny de Villiers Dentist Weybridge, is to personalised, holistic health care, which puts the individual needs of the patient at the centre of everything we do.

If you are interested in Six Month Smiles, we can help. Just contact us for a FREE consultation, and you’re on your way to a beautiful smile.

Treatment Options for Periodontal Disease

Periodontitis (gum disease) is a common oral condition which can ultimately lead to tooth loss. Nearly one-half of people over the age of 30 suffer from advanced gum disease, but few realise that it can lead to tooth loss.

And, it is important to note that gum disease is a treatable condition. Regular brushing and flossing, combined with regular dental check-ups can help prevent the conditions for periodontitis to develop.

However, there are treatment options available if you develop gum disease. These are most effective when the disease is treated in the early stages.

Progression From Gingivitis

A buildup of plaque in the mouth can lead to gingivitis, with the gums becoming red, swollen and starting to bleed. Good oral hygiene practices, including a professional teeth cleaning with a dentist, can reverse the affects of gingivitis.

If it is not addressed it can then progress in to the more problematic periodontitis, where the infection can harm the gums, bone and supporting tissue. The result of this can be loose teeth and tooth loss.

Scaling and Root Planing

Scaling and root planing treatment is the first option when suffering with periodontitis. This is a non-surgical procedure which involves a dentist scraping away the plaque and tartar from your teeth and root surfaces, before smoothing the roots in order to help prevent bacteria building up again.

A successful scaling and root planing procedure should see the gums heal and then attach to the cleaned teeth. This procedure may need to be carried out more than once for some people, but a local anesthetic may be given to reduce any discomfort.

Further Treatment Methods

If the effects of periodontitis have done further damage to the gums and bone there are treatments today to help repair this. Bone grafts can be used to help stimulate bone growth if any was lost to periodontitis. Similarly, a gum graft can be used to cover gums which remain exposed, helping prevent sensitivity, further gum recession and decay.

If the gums do not fit around the teeth after a scaling and root planing procedure, a pocket reduction can be performed by folding back the gum tissue to clear out any remaining infection and smooth any damaged bone.

Your dentist will advise you on the best methods to brush teeth and floss to maintain the oral care routine necessary to prevent periodontitis returning. You may also need more dental check-ups so your dentist can spot any signs early to prevent its return.

Early Orthodontic Intervention For Your Child

Children tend to have permanent teeth come through between the age of 6 and 7. At this time their teeth and jawbone are still developing. This is the best time to assess them for potential dental issues which early orthodontic treatment could address. It is recommended children have an orthodontic screening before turning 7.

While this may seem very young, you will see more young children today with braces than in the past. And dentists have good reason to advise parents to get their children evaluated at this young age.

Early Intervention Treatment

As the permanent teeth come through — and while the jawbone is still growing — there is an opportunity to correct oral conditions such as crowding. Previously the answer was purely to extract some teeth to allow enough room.

Now, where a child’s dental arch may be too small, a palatal expander can be used to take advantage of the still-developing jaw to correct the arch. This allows the teeth a better chance to emerge correctly.

Similarly, corrective treatment can be applied if the dental arch and jaw are not correctly positioned. More orthodontic treatment, including braces, may still be required later as part of a two-phase treatment plan, yet the second phase should be of shorter duration than it would otherwise have been.

Making Braces More Accepted

Modern braces are less visible when fitted and less uncomfortable than they used to be. With more children wearing them there is less of a stigma attached as they have become more socially accepted.

There are still certain elements which can be frustrating, such as food trapped between the brackets and wires of the braces. The braces still require more time to clean when brushing and flossing.

However, children get to pick the colours of the bands on the wires now, helping them to feel more included in the process. The colours also make the braces more fun to wear. Yet they do still take time to get used to. There can be some discomfort at first, but this can be addressed with over-the-counter pain relief, if required.

Early orthodontic treatment may not be suitable for all dental conditions. But for issues such as a crossbite or protruding front teeth, it can be very beneficial. It can help the jaw to evenly develop and help better position the permanent teeth as they come through. This should reduce the difficulty and duration needed for further corrective treatment later, including the wearing of braces.

Help your child think about the results — the straight teeth and nice smile they will have. The child will grow up with greater self-confidence which helps in all aspects of life. Giving your child a great smile is the best possible start.