Did you know that Dr. Smith is concerned with the care of more than just your teeth and gums? He also helps to keep your jaw healthy and properly aligned.
What are the Temporomandibular Joints (TMJ)?
TMJ refers to the joints connecting the upper and lower jaw. When patients’ upper and lower teeth are off kilter, they often suffer from such symptoms as:
- Jaw pain
- Jaw popping and clicking
- Difficulty and pain when opening or closing their mouth completely
X-rays can help screen for TMD (TMJ disorder), but they’re not necessary. Dr. Smith can usually diagnose TMD simply by feeling your joints and asking you if you suffer from any of the symptoms listed above. Anyone can develop TMD. In some patients, the disorder is inherited or results from a physical trauma or an autoimmune disease. Another common cause of TMD is stress, which causes patients to subconsciously clench or grind their teeth.
The good news is that there is relief in sight if you suffer from this painful disorder. Dr. Smith can fit you with custom orthotics that can gently reposition the upper and lower jaws, bringing them back into alignment. Wearing a night guard or a bite guard regularly for just a few months is often sufficient to retrain your jaw and resolve your TMD.
What is Bruxism?
Bruxism is grinding and/or clenching your teeth habitually, over an extended period of time. While TMD affects the alignment of your jaw, bruxism has more of an impact on your teeth. The habit can significantly wear down the surface of your teeth – to the point that it’s easy to see the damage with the naked eye. Not only are the worn-down teeth a cosmetic issue, they also are much more susceptible to decay.
As with TMJ screening, Dr. Smith typically can diagnose bruxism simply by looking at your teeth and asking you such questions as:
- Do you have trouble sleeping?
- Do you wake up with sore jaws?
- Are your teeth overly sensitive?
Patients who answer yes to these questions and also have visible evidence of worn teeth likely suffer from bruxism.
A custom night guard is the recommended course of action for treating bruxism. It prevents the patient from being able to bite down and clench their teeth in the night, which makes sleep more comfortable and prevents further tooth damage. While a night guard can help retrain the jaw and prevent further damage, once a tooth has been worn down, the damage already has been done. To address tooth damage that results from bruxism Dr. Smith may recommend treatments like dental sealants, dental bonding, veneers, or, in extreme cases, crown placement.
Schedule an Appointment with Your Grand Prairie Dentist
Dr. Quinn Smith is a well-respected and highly experienced general, restorative, and family dentist in Grand Prairie, TX. He takes a patient-first approach that starts from the moment patients enter our Pecan Tree Dental office, and he offers a three-year guarantee on all dental work that he performs. Whether you and your family are new or returning patients, you can schedule a consultation or your next appointment with Dr. Smith by contacting us at (972) 262-5111. We proudly welcome patients from Grand Prairie, as well as surrounding areas including Arlington, South Dallas, Cedar Hill, and Duncanville.