TMJ Disorder Causes and Treatments

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Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder can be extremely painful. Often, patients with TMJ disorder experience pain in their jaws when they sleep, eat, and even speak. If you’re dealing with the telltale signs of a TMJ problem, like creaking in your jaw and chronic pain, it is important to address the issue with your dentist. Your dentist can offer treatments to ease the pain and prevent further injury to your jaw. What causes TMJ problems and how can they be treated? Here is what you need to know:


TMJ Disorder Causes
The TMJ connects your jaw to your skull and works like a hinge when you open and close your mouth. When the joint is healthy, the bones are covered by cartilage, and a small disk cushions the joint and helps it move smoothly. TMJ disorder occurs when the cartilage is damaged or the disk is weakened or moved out of alignment. These problems allow bone to grind against bone, causing pain. In some cases, arthritis causes these changes; in other cases, injury is to blame. Sometimes, dentists are unable to pinpoint the exact causes of a patient’s TMJ disorder.

TMJ Disorder Treatments
Your dentist can use a variety of techniques to treat your TMJ disorder symptoms . For some patients, the symptoms of a TMJ disorder eventually go away on their own. In other cases, over-the-counter pain medications and muscle relaxers can help. Your dentist may suggest nighttime sedatives if you are clenching your teeth in your sleep and exacerbating your condition. A bite guard may also help. In persistent cases, Botox injections and a procedure to flush out the joint called arthrocentesis may be used. If other remedies don’t work, your dentist may suggest surgery.

If you’re experiencing any kind of oral pain, make an appointment with Chicago’s University Associates in Dentistry . Our practice offers a comprehensive range of dental treatments including cosmetic dentistry, the All-on-4 dental implant, and permanent denture replacement. To schedule a visit, please call (312) 704-5511.  

Should You Brush Your Tongue?

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You brush your teeth for two minutes at least twice a day. Flossing on a daily basis is recommended as well. But do you take the same care to brush your tongue? Brushing and flossing are requisite components of a good oral hygiene routine because they remove bacteria and plaque from tooth enamel and gum tissue. What some individuals may not know, however, is that these harmful bacteria reside on the tongue as well. So even if you are rigorous about keeping your teeth and gums clean, you may still be putting them at risk for tooth decay and gum disease if you overlook your tongue. To promote ultimate oral health, brush your tongue from back to front each time you brush your teeth.

Would you like to find more oral healthcare tips ? If so, call University Associates in Dentistry at (312) 704-5511. Our Chicago practice can help you achieve a healthy mouth and glowing smile. 

Toothbrush with toothpaste

A Look at Sleep Apnea Risk Factors

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Sleep apnea is a condition that can take a serious toll on a person’s health. The repeated cessation of breathing at night compels the body to wake up each time to revive inhalation. While a person with sleep apnea may not be consciously aware of each instance when his body wakes him up, the cumulative effects of sleep apnea can greatly lessen the patient’s wellbeing. The following risk factors can increase a person’s likelihood of having sleep apnea:

Man sleeping in bed

Lifestyle Behaviors
What a person does during the day can affect his activities at night, even during sleep. Specifically, the consumption of certain substances can trigger sleep apnea. Dentists have found that patients who drink an excessive amount of alcohol, smoke, or take depressant drugs suffer from sleep apnea more often than individuals who do not have these habits. Tobacco usage can irritate a person’s airway and cause its tissues to swell. Depressants and alcohol can cause excess slack in throat tissues. Both of these side effects can lead to obstruction of the airway .

Structural Airway Issues
Some individuals may be born with conditions that make them more prone to sleep apnea. If a person has a particularly narrow airway, it can be more difficult for oxygen to reach the lungs during slumber. Researchers have also found that individuals with abnormally large necks may suffer from sleep apnea on a more frequent basis. Obstructive sleep apnea also occurs when the tongue or soft tissues at the back of the throat relax during sleep and physically block the airway.

When a person has a high body mass index, fatty deposits may be present anywhere throughout the body, including the throat region. When excessive mass resides around the airway, this extra weight can restrict the movement of oxygen into the lungs. This is why dentists recommend that patients with obesity issues bring down their weight, which can greatly alleviate sleep apnea problems.

University Associates in Dentistry can help you overcome your obstructive sleep apnea issues. If you suffer from this common problem, call (312) 704-5511 to speak with a representative at our Chicago office. Our dental professionals can recommend oral appliance therapy to stabilize and reposition the lower jaw, tongue, soft palate, and hyoid bone to prevent airway obstruction and promote comfortable sleep.

University Associates in Dentistry