Posts for category: Oral Health
Are you suffering from jaw pain?
Dr. Michael Wright, Dr. Treva Willis and Dr. Maria Wright in Bethesda, MD, know just what to do!
The Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects to your lower jaw and to the skull in front of the ear. There are some facial muscles that control chewing also attached to your lower jaw.
Temporomandibular joint syndrome is a disorder accompanied by consistent pain in the area near your ear, jaw or muscles on the side of your face. You may suffer from a clicking or popping sound, and/or restricted jaw movement.
Causes of TMJ
The TMJ is subject to various issues, such as:
- Sore muscles
- Strained tendons
- Disk problems
- Physical and psychological stress
Signs and Symptoms of TMJ
- Clicking Sounds — If you're suffering from TMJ, you may hear a clicking, popping sound coming from the TMJ when you open or close your mouth. This is usually caused by a shifting of the disk inside the joint. The clicking may be so loud, someone standing next to you may hear it.
- Muscle Pain — You may feel pain in your cheeks, where the pairs of jaw-closing muscles are located. If you feel soreness and stiffness upon waking up in the morning, it may be related to clenching and/or grinding the teeth at night. A nightguard may help relieve that pressure, but be sure to speak with your Bethesda doctor.
- Joint Pain — Pain usually comes from one or both jaw joints and would be considered arthritis.
Relieving the Pain
Once your doctors have examined you, they can start designing a treatment plan. Here are some ways they may improve your diet or lifestyle:
- A softer diet to reduce stress on the muscles and joints.
- Ice and/or moist heat to relieve soreness and inflammation.
- Gentle stretching exercises to avoid muscle spasms.
- Medications and muscle relaxants for pain relief.
For more information, contact Drs. Michael Wright, Treva Willis, and Maria Wright in Bethesda, MD, today!
Life seems pretty scattered these days, doesn't it? We run from place to place for gas, groceries, home improvement needs--even health care. The good news is you can stop part of that crazy race with consistent, quality dental care with your Bethesda family dentists, Dr. Michael Wright, Dr. Treva Willis and Dr. Maria Wright. Their well-respected Smile Design Studio offers premiere preventive, restorative and cosmetic services for your entire family. Yes, come to just one beautiful, comfortable office for the best in comprehensive dentistry.
Your Bethesda family dentist asks each patient--from the age of one on up--to come to Smile Design Studio semi-annually. What's the idea? Prevent oral health problems before they start or become complicated and painful. So each patient at Smile Design Studio receives a comprehensive oral examination, X-rays as needed and a thorough hygienic cleaning. And, when your Bethesda dentist sees your whole family, he or she observes similarities in bite, a tendency toward decay and more. This makes treatment easier.
Over a lifespan, it's rare to not require some sort of restorative dental care--fillings, root canal therapy, crowns, dental implants (including All-on-4 implants), and dentures as examples. So as you grow up, enter adulthood, and yes, age, count on Dr. Wright, Dr. Willis, and Dr. Wright to provide care unique to your needs and stage of life. We also address TMJ (jaw joint) pain and gum disease. Smile Design Studio delivers quick and accurate emergency care for life's unexpected circumstances, too.
Whether you're a teen or a senior, you want your smile to look its very best. So your Bethesda family dentist provides many aesthetic treatments which allow you to look uniquely you, only better. Services include:
- Professional teeth whitening to remove accumulated stains (this is modern dentistry's most often asked for cosmetic service, says the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry)
- Invisalign clear aligners for practically invisible orthodontic correction in less time than conventional braces
- Direct bonding to repair small enamel flaws seamlessly in one visit
- Porcelain veneers to cover the front of teeth flawed by big chips, cracks and other surface imperfections
- Cosmetic contouring to reshape uneven tooth length, fractures and more
Enjoy a healthy life
It starts with consistent, kind and precise oral health care from the team at Smile Design Studio. Call our office today to arrange appointments for your whole family: (301) 907-8201.
Taking care of your teeth is a life-long endeavor. And like any other aspect of healthcare, it can be costly — from regular dental visits and cleanings to more expensive treatments and procedures for protecting and preserving your teeth.
But what if you’re limited in your financial ability — does that mean your dental health has to suffer? Not necessarily — if you’re careful to adopt and follow an effective strategy for oral care.
Here, then, are 3 considerations you should keep in mind as you develop your dental care strategy and action plan.
Practice thorough, daily oral hygiene. Many of the potential dental problems people face are the result of not practicing or not properly performing oral hygiene — daily brushing and flossing along with semi-annual dental visits for cleanings and checkups. The aim is to remove bacterial plaque, the sticky film that adheres to teeth after we eat, and keep it from building up on tooth surfaces. Removing plaque reduces your chances of developing the two major dental diseases caused by it, tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease, which could result in additional treatment costs. However, even with excellent oral hygiene you’ll still form tartar (hardened plaque deposits) on your teeth, so professional cleanings are also a must.
Take care of the rest of your health. Your teeth and gums aren’t islands unto themselves — your oral health is heavily influenced by other conditions in the body, especially systemic diseases like diabetes or cardiovascular disease. So, be sure you’re eating a nutritious diet, follow an exercise plan and see your physician regularly to monitor your health. Your teeth, as well as the rest of your body, will be healthier for it.
Work out treatment plans with us to fit your finances. Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee your teeth and gums won’t need advanced care sometime in your life, even with proper hygiene and diet. If you’re in need of extensive treatment or you feel you need to enhance your smile, talk with us. We’ll be glad to discuss your options, and work out both a treatment and financial plan that fits your needs and budget.
If you would like more information on oral care with financial limitations, 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 “Finances and Dental Care.”
When we refer to periodontal (gum) disease, we’re actually talking about a family of progressive, infectious diseases that attack the gums and other tissues attached to the teeth. Caused primarily by bacterial plaque left on tooth surfaces from inefficient oral hygiene, gum disease can ultimately lead to tooth loss.
There’s only one way to stop the infection and restore health to diseased tissues — remove all of the offending plaque and calculus (hardened plaque deposits) possible from tooth and gum surfaces, including below the gum line at the roots. The basic tools for this task are specialized hand instruments called scalers or ultrasonic equipment that vibrates plaque loose. A series of cleaning sessions using these tools could stop the infection and promote healing if followed with a consistent, efficient daily hygiene habit.
There are times, however, when the infection has progressed so deeply below the gum line or into the tissues that it requires other procedures to remove the plaque and infected tissue. One such situation is the formation of an abscess within the gum tissues, a pus-filled sac that has developed in response to infection. After administering local anesthesia, the abscess must be treated to remove the cause and allow the infectious fluid to drain. The area is then thoroughly flushed with saline or an antibacterial solution.
The gum tissues are not completely attached to the tooth surface for a small distance creating a space. These spaces are called periodontal pockets when they are inflamed and continue to deepen as the disease progresses. These inflamed and sometimes pus-filled pockets form when tissues damaged by the infection detach from the teeth. If the pockets are located near the gum line, it may be possible to clean out the infectious material using scaling techniques. If, however, they’re located four or more millimeters below the gum line a technique known as root planing may be needed, where plaque and calculus are shaved or “planed” from the root surface. As the disease progresses and the pockets deepen, it may also be necessary for surgical intervention to gain access to the tooth roots.
To stop gum disease and promote soft tissue healing, we should use any or all treatment tools at our disposal to reach even the most difficult places for removing plaque and calculus. The end result — a saved tooth — is well worth the effort.
If you would like more information on treating periodontal disease, 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 “Treating Difficult Areas of Periodontal Disease.”
There are many health concerns when you’re pregnant. And not just for you — what you eat, how you sleep or what medications or supplements you’re taking all have an effect on your baby.
With so many concerns, it’s easy to neglect caring for your teeth. But like other health issues, dental care affects both you and your baby and their future teeth and gum health. For both your sakes taking care of your mouth is a must.
For one thing, you’re more susceptible during pregnancy to periodontal (gum) disease, an infection caused by bacterial plaque built up on teeth surfaces due to ineffective hygiene. It’s believed hormonal changes increase the risk of gingivitis, the inflammation of infected gum tissues, common to expectant mothers.
Gum disease is a serious matter for anyone because of the increased risk of tooth loss. But there’s another potential risk for expectant mothers: the bacteria that causes gum disease can pass through the placenta to the fetus. This can stimulate an inflammatory response from the mother that may result in a pre-term delivery and low birth weight.
There are some things you can do to protect your dental health and your baby’s future health. Maintain a healthy diet with a wide range of whole foods: whole grains, fruits, vegetables, proteins and dairy products. Your doctor may also recommend iron and other supplements to reduce anemia. For the baby’s dental development, be sure you’re taking in sufficient calcium in your diet as well as other vitamins and nutrients. And although it’s common to develop carbohydrate cravings, limit your consumption — especially sugar. Carbohydrates increase the levels of bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease.
Above all, practice consistent daily hygiene by brushing at least twice a day and flossing once. Be sure to visit us at least twice a year for cleanings and checkups. If you notice bleeding, swelling or redness of your gums (signs of gum disease) contact us as soon as possible.
A little extra attention to your teeth and gums while you’re expecting can make a big difference in the health of your own teeth and gums, as well as build a strong foundation for your child’s future oral health.
If you would like more information on dental health and care during pregnancy, 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 “Pregnancy and Oral Health.”