Posts for: February, 2018
Does your jaw make odd popping noises, or does it feel stiff and painful? You may be one of the millions of Americans who suffer from TMD, or temporomandibular joint dysfunction. It affects the muscles, bone and disc-like condyles at each side of your head, affecting how, and how comfortably, your lower jaw moves. Learn more about TMD from our La Grange, IL dentists, Dr. Carolyn Bronke and Dr. Josephine Puleo, and how this confusing problem may be treated.
What TMD involves
Basically, it's a problem of comfortable movement and function of the jaw joint in four directions: up, down, forward and backward. The ligaments and muscles associated with the temporomandibular joint stiffen and malfunction, causing a puzzling array of symptoms such as:
- Ear pain
- Migraine headaches
- Vertigo, or dizziness
- Inability to open or close the mouth
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Face, neck, shoulder and back pain
- Odd noises emanating from the jaw and mouth
- Jaw dislocation (a medical emergency)
- A change in dental bite (always see your dentist about bite issues, says the National Institute of Dental And Craniofacial Research)
Unfortunately, TMD, which affects more women than men and more middle-aged people than children or seniors, may be diagnosed as psychosomatic by many primary care physicians. However, your dentists empathize with TMD sufferers and use their diagnostic skills, and digital X-rays as needed to pinpoint exactly what is happening and how they can help.
Treating TMD in La Grange
The good news is you can manage TMD, and while the condition is all in your head, it definitely is not psychosomatic. Individualized treatments Dr. Bronke and Dr. Puleo offer include:
- Stretching exercises
- Muscle relaxant medications
- A soft diet to reduce pressure on the teeth and to make chewing easier
- Orthodontic correction
- Dental crowns to even bite problems
- Stress reduction (stress often causes habitual clenching and grinding issues, or bruxism)
Extreme cases of TMD may require surgery. However, customized bite guards, or splints, which position the jaw correctly and cushion the teeth, often prove the best therapy for TMD.
Find out more
Contact Dr. Bronke and Dr. Puleo in La Grange, IL today for a personal consultation on your jaw symptoms. You can find relief! Call (708) 354-1335.
Dental implants are today’s closest restorative facsimile to natural teeth. And they’re versatile: not only can they replace single teeth but they can also support bridges or dentures.
But since one of their crucial components is made of metal, are you out of luck obtaining this state-of-the-art dental restoration if you have a metal allergy?
The answer is: probably not—it’s rare for implants to cause an allergic reaction. Still, metal allergies can be a potential problem within your mouth as with other areas of health.
An allergy originates from the body’s necessary response to potentially harmful microorganisms or substances. Sometimes, however, this response becomes chronic and exaggerated, creating an allergy. People can have allergies to nearly anything with responses ranging from a minor rash to a potentially life-threatening multi-organ system shutdown (anaphylactic shock).
A small number of people have allergies to particular metals. One of the most common is nickel, which affects an estimated 17% of women and 3% of men; cobalt and chromium are also known to cause allergies. Consumer exposure, particularly metal contact with the skin through jewelry or clothing, is the most prevalent, but not the most concerning. That’s reserved for metal allergies related to medical devices like coronary stents or hip and knee prostheses. And in dentistry, there are rare occasions of inflammation or rashes from metal amalgam fillings.
Which brings us to dental implants: the main metal post that’s inserted into the jawbone is usually made of titanium. It’s the metal of choice for two reasons: it’s bio-compatible, meaning the body normally accepts its presence; and it’s osteophilic, which means bone cells readily grow and adhere to it, a major reason for implant durability.
While it’s possible for someone to have an allergy and subsequent reaction to implants with titanium, the occurrences appear to be extremely low. In one study of 1,500 patients, titanium allergies were estimated to be a factor in implant failures in less than 1% of those studied.
Even so, if you have known metal allergies you should make sure your dentist knows. Being aware of all the facts will help them recommend the best tooth replacement choice for you—and hopefully it will be dental implants.
If you would like more information on dental implant restorations, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor article “Metal Allergies to Dental Implants.”
The most romantic holiday of the year, Valentine’s Day is celebrated each February 14th. It’s a time when many look forward to giving (and receiving) cards, flowers, and other tokens of love. On special days like this, it’s natural to want to look your best—and many surveys rank a person’s smile as his or her most noticeable (and appealing) physical feature. But what if you are unsatisfied with your smile?
Don’t worry! Today, cosmetic dentistry can resolve smile problems as never before. Here are some popular and effective dental treatments that can quickly brighten up your smile.
In just one visit, dull or stained teeth can often be lightened by up to 10 shades! How? We use special bleaching solutions that are applied safely, under our careful supervision, in the dental office. You can’t use these concentrated solutions at home. But if you‘re not in a rush, we can prepare custom-made take-home bleaching trays and whiteners that are safe for home use. The same results can be achieved, but the process may take weeks instead of hours. After months or years, depending on lifestyle factors (like whether you smoke or drink coffee, red wine, etc.) your teeth can have whitening treatment again.
Small chips, cracks, or other minor irregularities can be quite noticeable in an otherwise flawless smile. Fortunately, these problems can often be resolved with a treatment called cosmetic bonding. In a relatively simple in-office procedure, we can apply tooth-colored bonding material to restore teeth to better appearance. Layers of high-tech bonding material are built up and cured with a special light to form a tough, natural-looking tooth surface. Bonding isn’t as long-lasting as some other types of restoration, like veneers or crowns, but it’s an easy and inexpensive way to resolve some smile problems.
Professional In-Office Cleaning
Remember that feeling you get after your regular checkup? Your mouth feels squeaky-clean, your breath is fresh and you’re ready to show that sparkly smile. So why wait until your next routine appointment? You can schedule a hygiene visit any time. We will remove plaque from your teeth, check your gums for signs of periodontal (gum) disease, and make sure you’re on track for good oral health. If any problems are found, we’ll take care of them right away. And if you have questions about cosmetic procedures, it’s the perfect time to ask. A professional cleaning can help your smile look (and feel) great.
If you have questions about brightening up your smile, please contact our office or schedule a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Artistic Repair of Front Teeth with Composite Resin” and “Important Teeth Whitening Questions Answered.”