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By Green Bay Family Dentistry
May 17, 2022
Category: Oral Health
Tags: tmj disorders  
4TipsForMoreEnjoyableEatingWithTMD

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD) isn't just painful, it can severely interfere with one of life's essentials—eating. For a person with TMD, an enjoyable meal with family and friends can turn into an agonizing, painful experience.

Especially during flareups, the action of chewing can be extremely uncomfortable for someone with TMD. The condition also makes it difficult to open the mouth, which can interfere with the types of food you can eat.

Managing TMD in general often requires a combination of treatment techniques, including medication and physical therapy. For meals in particular, making some adjustments in the types of foods you eat, how you prepare them, and how you eat them can help you enjoy your mealtime experience more.

If you have TMD, here are 4 things that could ease your discomfort and bring the joy back into eating.

Peel fruits and vegetables. Although the hard skins of some foods like apples or cucumbers are edible, the extra jaw effort to eat them can trigger pain if you suffer from TMD. Take the time, then, to peel fruits and vegetables with tough outer skins.

Cut food into small bites. With limited ability to open your mouth, normal-sized portions can prove challenging. Make it easier by cutting foods into smaller than normal bites. Taking the extra time to do this can give your jaws relief and reduce the discomfort and pain associated with opening your mouth.

Chew slowly. Chewing normally may still be too vigorous for someone with TMD—the chewing action increases the pressure on your jaw joints and can result in painful spasms. By slowing down your chewing, and taking breaks along the way, can make it less likely your jaws will become overworked.

Moisten tougher foods. Although delicious, a number of meats and vegetables are by nature "chewy." You can make them easier to eat with a little liquid. Use cooking methods like braising or stewing to make these foods more tender; you can also add gravies or sauces where appropriate to help make chewing easier.

If you would like more information on coping with TMD, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “When TMJ Pain Flares Up.”

By Green Bay Family Dentistry
May 07, 2022
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: porcelain veneers  
PorcelainVeneers-theAnswerforManySmile-AppearanceProblems

A lot of things can spoil your smile—like chips, excessive wearing or heavy staining. But one cosmetic solution could address these and other dental flaws: porcelain dental veneers.

Veneers are thin, porcelain shells bonded to teeth to hide minor to moderate imperfections. The technique first took the world by storm over three decades ago and they're even more versatile, durable and life-like today.

Your makeover journey with veneers starts with a thorough dental examination. We want to see if you have any tooth or gum problems that should be treated first. We also want to assess your overall dental situation to see if veneers are the right way to go, or if a different cosmetic approach would serve you better.

If it appears veneers are a good option for you, our next step is to plan out the design of your custom veneers. It helps to "see" what your future smile with veneers will look like. Special software can manipulate a current photo of your face to display your updated smile with veneers via computer monitor.

Alternatively, a dentist can produce a mock-up or "trial smile" formed with tooth-colored filling materials that are temporarily applied to your teeth. The trial smile method enables you to see your smile in "real life."

Once we've finalized your veneer design, we submit the details to a dental lab to produce them. In the meantime, we'll need to prepare your teeth by removing a small portion of the enamel, so that the veneers won't appear too bulky. This alteration won't harm your teeth, but you'll need veneers or another restorative covering from then on.

With the arrival of your new veneers, it's time to bond them to your teeth. We'll first clean the tooth surfaces and etch them with a mildly acidic gel to improve the contact between the teeth and veneers. We then carefully situate the new veneers and bond them with a resin-based cement.

Although you'll need to take care when biting down, your new bonded veneers will be durable and appear to be a seamless part of your teeth. Best of all, you'll have a new attractive smile and the renewed confidence to show it.

If you would like more information on porcelain veneers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Porcelain Veneers: Your Smile Better Than Ever.”

By Green Bay Family Dentistry
April 27, 2022
Category: Oral Health
Tags: sensitive teeth  
UncoveringtheCauseistheFirstSteptoRelievingToothSensitivity

For one out of three Americans, a bite of ice cream or a sip of hot coffee can set off a sudden jolt of pain. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce these painful episodes of tooth sensitivity and their severity.

To understand the primary reasons that people experience tooth sensitivity, we must first consider a little tooth anatomy. Just below a tooth's outer enamel is a layer of tooth structure called dentin, composed of tiny tunnels or tubules that transmit sensations of temperature or pressure to the nerves in the central pulp. These tubules are analogous to conduits through which electrical wires pass.

Enamel on the crown, along with gum tissue and a thin material called cementum covering the roots, help muffle sensations so as to prevent an overload on the nerves. But if either of those protective areas become compromised the nerves could in turn experience the full brunt of these sensations.

As such, softened and eroded enamel from tooth decay could expose the dentin. Receding gums, commonly caused by gum disease, can also expose dentin near the roots since the remaining cementum offers little protection. In either case, nerves in the pulp may become subject to extreme sensations caused by temperature or while biting down, which then causes them to fire off pain signals to the brain.

Thus, to treat sensitive teeth we must first determine whether it's the result of tooth decay, gum disease or some other condition, and then treat any underlying disease. If it's decay-related, we'll want to repair any cavities with a filling, or perform a root canal if the infection has spread deeper into the tooth.

For receded gums, we'll first want to treat any lingering gum disease. Once we've brought the infection under control, it's possible then for the gums to heal and regenerate, eventually treating the roots with desensitizing products. In some cases, though, we may have to surgically graft new tissue to the receded area to cover the roots.

The good news is that you can lower your chances of tooth sensitivity by preventing these dental diseases. To do that, be sure you're brushing and flossing daily to remove disease-causing plaque, and visiting your dentist at least twice a year for professional cleanings and checkups.

If you would like more information on tooth sensitivity, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Treatment of Tooth Sensitivity.”

By Green Bay Family Dentistry
April 17, 2022
Category: Oral Health
FindingReliefFromThisPainfulFacialNerveDisorder

What started as an occasional twinge in your cheeks has now escalated to moments of excruciating pain. Worst of all, you're in the dark about why you're having these severe episodes of facial pain.

The answer may be a nerve condition called trigeminal neuralgia (TN). This disorder involves the trigeminal nerves, which course down each side of the face and upper jaw. Approximately 150,000 people are diagnosed annually with TN, mostly women over 50.

The pain may sometimes be connected to other nerve-damaging conditions like multiple sclerosis, tumors or lesions. Normally, though, there's a more benign reason. An artery or vein is pressing on one or more of the three branches of the nerve. The ensuing pressure damages the myelin sheath, a fatty outer covering that insulates and protects the nerve from undue sensation.

The nerve at this point of damage can become hypersensitive and reactive to such innocuous things as chewing, a light touch or even air blowing on the face. The erratic response spurs pain episodes, often just a few seconds long, ranging from mild to extreme.

Treating the condition first requires making sure you actually have TN, and that the pain isn't being caused by something else. Jaw joint disorders (TMD), dental abscesses and similar conditions may mimic TN symptoms. Uncovering the true cause may require advanced diagnostic tools like an MRI scan, and the help of different specialties, ranging from dentistry to neurology.

Once confirmed, there are several treatment options for TN that, if not curative, may help minimize painful episodes. Most patients begin with conservative approaches like medications or injections to block pain signals to the brain, or that help reduce abnormal nerve firing.

There are also more invasive procedures to address extreme cases. With percutaneous treatment, for example, the physician inserts a thin needle into the nerve and selectively damages some of its fibers to stop the transmission of pain signals. A surgeon can also use a microsurgical technique to relocate an impinging blood vessel compressing the nerve.

Which treatment methods you and your doctor choose depends on factors like your age or history with TN. Whichever treatment path you take, there's real hope that you can find lasting relief from this bedeviling condition.

If you would like more information on trigeminal neuralgia, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Trigeminal Neuralgia: A Nerve Disorder That Causes Facial Pain.”

By Green Bay Family Dentistry
April 07, 2022
Category: Oral Health
Tags: tooth pain  
HeresWhattoDoifYourChildComplainsofaToothache

If your child suddenly begins complaining about a toothache, your average day can immediately turn into something else. It can become even more worrisome as you try to decide what to do.

It doesn't have to. There are definite things you can do to calmly and methodically deal with the situation at hand. Here, then, are action steps you can take when your child has tooth pain.

Find out where and when. To get the big picture, first ask the child where in the mouth it hurts and if they remember when it started. A rough estimate of the latter is usually sufficient to establishing how long it's been going on, which could help determine how soon you should call the dentist.

Take a look inside. You'll want to then look in their mouth for any observable signs of what might be the cause of the pain. Look for spots or small holes (cavities) in the affected tooth, an indication of decay. Also check the gums for swelling, a sign they may be abscessed.

Remove trapped food debris. While checking in the mouth, look for pieces of food like popcorn hulls or candy that might be wedged between the teeth. This could be the cause of the pain, so attempt to remove it by gently flossing between the teeth. If it was the source, their pain should subside soon after.

Ease their discomfort. You can help take the edge off their pain by giving them an appropriate dose for their age of either ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Don't, however, rub aspirin or other pain relievers around the affected tooth or gums—these medications can be acidic, which could severely irritate interior mouth tissues.

Call your dentist. It's always good for a dentist to check your child's mouth after a toothache. The question is when: If your child has responded well to pain medication and has no swelling or fever, you can wait to call the next day. If not, call as soon as possible for an appointment.

A toothache is rarely an emergency, but it can still be disconcerting for you and your child. Knowing what steps to take can help resolve the situation without a lot of discomfort for them and stress for you.

If you would like more information on dealing with a child's tooth pain, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “A Child's Toothache.”





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