Category Archives: jaw joints

Frequent Headaches Or Migraines?

If you suffer with frequent headaches or migraines, you probably live with a shadow of dread hanging over you. Often, these seem to pop up with no predictability. And, they often arrive at the worst possible moments. They can be dreadful interferences to being active, having a career, raising a family and social involvement.

For a moment, imagine the wear and tear your automobile’s tires and body structure endure when one wheel is out of alignment. Now, imagine the wear and tear your head receives when your bite is misaligned.

Like the interworking components of a car, there are many integrated parts that comprise our dental make-up, each part designed to integrate harmoniously with the others. When one component is off-kilter, however, it tends to create a domino effect.

Bite alignment goes far beyond how teeth meet together. Think about the intricate combination of muscles, joints and teeth that come in to play each time we smile, speak, chew, or even yawn.

In this light, it’s easier to see how upper and lower teeth meet could be the cause of headaches, jaw pain, stuffy and ringing ears, grinding and clenching teeth, dizziness, sore muscles, neck and back pain, limited range of motion of the neck, poor posture, fatigue and more.

As a Neuromuscular Dentist, I have an advanced understanding of how  the temporo-mandibular joints (TMJ) relies on the harmonious unity of the joints, muscles, bones and teeth. This includes the levelness of the teeth that distribute the forces of the bite. A bite that is tilted will misdirect these forces and result in an abnormal wear and tear similar to that of a tire being out of alignment.

In Neuromuscular Dentistry, we understand how to incorporate its principles in treatment to resolve problems — many of which patients have been suffering with for years.

We have treated patients who have wandered from doctor to doctor for years, seeking solutions that fell short. Many were lead to believe their unexplained pain was related to stress, hormones or poor posture. Too many were prescribed medications or led to believe the problem was imagined.

In our office, we utilize advanced computer technology to capture information for an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment. This also provides a basis for appropriate treatment and allows patients to monitor their progress during treatment.

When the delicate balance of everything that makes up your smile and beyond is in proper position, years of headaches, migraines and other symptoms can disappear – for good! Begin with a no-cost consultation to discuss your personal situation and learn the options to help you live life without the dread of headaches! Call 586-739-2155.

Avoid Losing Teeth By Decisions You Make Now

Imagine standing on the side of the road, stranded beside a car that has stopped running. For most of us, there is a sense of dread for this type of situation since we know the time, expense and frustration that comes with correcting the problems involved.

Now, imagine learning that the car is stranded because you failed to add necessary fluids, fell behind on oil changes and ignored warning lights.

As a dentist, I see a fair number of patients who have lost teeth. While some have lost them due to an accident or injury, most have lost them because of inadequate oral hygiene, failing to have regular dental care, and poor health choices (such as smoking).

For those who have lost teeth due to these choices, any one of them will tell you if they could go back in time, they would have taken better care of their teeth.

A tooth lost must be replaced or else neighboring teeth will shift. This shifting can cause chipped, broken or worn teeth. As the fit of upper to lower teeth moves out of its proper position, it can lead to headaches, migraines, night-time grinding and clenching, dizziness, ear ringing and sore jaw joints.

With poor oral hygiene and lack of regular dental check-ups, continued tooth loss is almost assured. As each tooth is lost, the one adjacent to it is at the highest risk to be the next you’ll lose. It’s a vicious cycle.

Teeth are easy to take for granted, They are hard and strong, giving the appearance of being ‘rock solid.’ They can weather an enormous amount of force. Yet, teeth are a natural part of our overall makeup. and do have vulnerabilities. This is why cavities and breaks can occur.

The main reason we recommend crowns for teeth at risk is to save the tooth. While the portion of a tooth you can see is important, it’s the portion beneath the gum line that we are even more concerned about.

Tooth roots nurture and ‘feed’ not only the tooth, but the jaw bone that supports them. Without these roots in place, the bones begins to atrophy. In dentistry, this is known as resorption. Simply put, it’s a melting away of jaw bone where tooth roots were once held.

As the bone shrinks, a number of things begin to occur. The tooth roots adjacent to the area of resorption are more vulnerable. The tooth above or below elongates, creating risk for damage mentioned prior (chips, breaks, etc.).

Facial changes can be seen as the bone thins further. For example, when the mouth appears collapsed into the face and the chin points, this is referred to as a ‘granny look.’ This occurs due to severe resorption of someone who has lost all of their teeth.

Earlier facial changes can also be seen when someone is missing natural teeth. Deep wrinkles form around the mouth, the corners of the mouth turn downward even in a smile, jowls form from the detachment of facial muscles, and the nose moves closer to the chin.

As unfortunate as these changes in appearance are, trying to eat properly when the jaw bone has declined is worse. People who wear dentures or partials often struggle when chewing or biting when their denture lacks a high foundation on which to balance.

When the bone shrinks, the ‘arch’ where tooth roots were once held begins to flatten. This is a slow but continual process that gives a denture an ever-decreasing surface. After a while, even denture adhesives or pastes are of little help.

To replace missing teeth, we often recommend dental implants. Implants recreate stimulation to the jaw bone, halting the rate of bone loss. Because they are supported by the jaw, implants restore the same, dependable foundation your natural teeth once had.

Another advantage of dental implants is their ability to ‘stand alone.’ Since implants are held by the jaw bone, they do not rely on neighboring teeth for support, as with crown-&-bridge combinations. This means you won’t need to have otherwise natural, healthy teeth crowned for the mere purpose of supporting a bridge.

To correct a common misconception, an implant is NOT always needed for each missing tooth. In many cases, one implant can support a bridge of two or more teeth. When a full arch of teeth is needed, several strategically-placed implants can provide adequate support.

All-On-4 Dental Implant System is one example of several implants supporting a full arch of teeth.

If you’ve lost teeth, the best way to halt the process is to replace those you’ve lost (and the sooner, the better). Then, be ultra-committed to your oral health. Brush twice a day and floss daily. Drink plenty of water and limit snacking and your intake of sugar and carbs. If you have teeth at-risk, have them crowned or other necessary repairs.

In our office, we respect all patients. We pride ourselves on being a ‘lecture-free zone’ and are here to support each individual, regardless of what brought them here. For those who have lost natural teeth, our goal is to restore them to a healthy, confident smile they’ll feel good about.

Begin with a free consultation to discuss your oral health needs and the smile you’d like to have – and share, often! Call 586-739-2155 and ask to meet with me personally. I look forward to meeting you!

 

NEURO-MUSCULAR DENTISTRY MADE SIMPLE

Do you suffer with frequent headaches or migraines? Frequent headaches affect nearly 50 million Americans. And while many sufferers search for a solution, many fail to connect the dots between these headaches and their dental anatomy.

Amazingly, the position of how our upper and lower teeth meet is a typical cause for headaches, jaw pain, sore muscles, neck and back pain, limited range of motion of the neck, poor posture, stuffy and ringing ears, grinding and breaking teeth, dizziness, fatigue and more. All of these symptoms can be due to one’s bite being off, perhaps by only a millimeter (1/25th of an inch).

Your dental make-up is an intricate composition of muscles, joints and teeth and plays a major role in your overall comfort and health. Because humans are incredibly adaptable, the body’s muscles, bones and joints can function although these are not in ideal alignment. This is as true with the bite as with other parts of the body, such as when one leg is shorter than the other. However, there are times when the body cannot adapt, which is just as true with dental problems.

Neuromuscular Dentistry is a modern advancement based on the understanding that the temporo-mandibular joints (TMJ) need to be in a comfortable resting position for the ultimate comfort of the joints, muscles, bones and teeth. When this occurs, all structures work together harmoniously.

The levelness of the teeth is just as critical.  The forces of the bite must be distributed down the length of the body. If the bite is tilted, then the forces are misdirected. This can cause as much of a problem for a patient as if the hips are not level.

When dentists are trained in Neuromuscular Dentistry, they have a unique understanding of its impact and how to incorporate it into restorative and esthetic treatment in order to help patients avoid future problems or correct those they may have been dealing with for years.

In my office, we have successfully treated patients for symptoms not normally associated with what people consider a dental problem can occur. Some examples are:

  • One patient was unable to close his eyes without falling for 27 years. This was resolved immediately when his bite was properly aligned.
  • Another patient who couldn’t turn his head to the left due to neck pain regained full range of motion once his bite was restored properly.
  • A patient who required massive amounts of pain pills for neck and back pain and headaches stopped taking them once his bite was restored.

As mentioned earlier, humans adjust to flaws. Yet, having flaws for years confuses the body’s perception of comfort over time. Unexplained pain is often attributed to other aspects of the patient’s life, such as stress, hormones or posture. Some are told it’s all in their head. They are given drugs or sent for therapy to deal with these problems, having no awareness that the source may be dental.

Today, advancements in computer technology enable dentists trained in Neuromuscular Dentistry to capture information for more effective treatment. It also gives visual ‘proof’ of treatment requirements so patients accept the authenticity of the diagnosis.

Neuromuscular Dentistry is such an important part of all implant, restorative (crown-&-bridge, partials, etc.) an cosmetic procedures in our office, so much so that we have invested in advanced technology. This allows us to measure the electrical activity of the muscles and determine the ideal resting position of the mandible (lower jaw). Throughout treatment, patients can monitor their progress by comparing before-&-after data.

Many people do not realize that bite misalignment is often due to more than crooked teeth. We’ve seen patients who’ve experience years of migraines, simply because of one crown being too high. The delicate balance in the mouth when it comes to the muscles, joints, bones and teeth working together is amazing.

If you have frequent headaches, migraines, jaw soreness, ear ringing, dizziness, tingling fingers, pain in the neck or shoulders, jaw popping or difficulty opening the mouth fully, bite misalignment is likely the culprit. These problems will only worsen without treatment.

To discuss your options and the diagnostic process, call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles to request a no-charge, no-obligation consultation. I’ll gladly answer your questions so you can determine the best course of action for your specific needs.

 

Adults Gravitate To ‘Invisible Braces’ For Comfort & Easy Care

Would you be surprised to learn that one-fourth of people who are in treatment to straighten teeth are adults?

Apparently, the benefits of properly aligned teeth have gained due recognition in recent years. While the number of teens in braces has nearly doubled over the past 20 years, the number of adults in orthodontic treatment rose almost 40% between 1996 to 2015. And, there seems to be no slow down in sight.

The power of an appealing smile in the U.S. has taken on its own persona. Other than make-up, cosmetic dentistry represents the largest non-surgical beauty industry. In one study, 38% of Americans stated they would decline a second date with someone with crooked teeth. The study also showed the same percentage perceived that those with straight teeth are more intelligent.

While beautiful smiles have been known to enhance facial appearance while boosting self-esteem and self-confidence, they can come at a steep price. For a smile makeover (porcelain veneers and porcelain crowns  applied to teeth most visible in a smile), costs can easily reach $12,000 and above.

While it is far more economical to move your natural teeth into their proper positions for a more appealing smile, there are health benefits to doing so as well. Straight teeth are easier to keep clean. Crowded, crooked teeth form tight angles that allow debris and food particles to accumulate. These tight nooks make brushing more difficult, providing a breeding ground for oral bacteria.

As oral bacteria multiply, a sticky film known as plaque forms. When not thoroughly removed, it can form cement hard colonies of bacteria known as tartar, or calculus. Tartar cannot be brushed or flossed away and requires the use of special tools by dental professionals to remove.

These hardened masses may seem dormant but are actually thriving colonies of bacteria that attack gum tissues and tooth enamel. As they continue to thrive and reproduce, the damage can result in cavities and periodontal disease. Periodontal (gum) disease is an inflammatory disease caused by infectious bacteria. Gum disease is the leading cause of adult tooth loss in the U.S. and affects nearly 47% of the population.

Another bonus of properly-aligned teeth is their role in keeping the TMJ (jaw joints) in healthy position. The jaw joints are located just in front of the ears. Proper bite alignment aids these joints in moving fluidly in their sockets. When misaligned teeth disrupt the ease of jaw joint movement, the result is typically stress and strain on the joints.

When stressed or strained, a domino effect tends to radiate out in a number of ways. TMJ disorder can lead to migraines, frequent headaches, sore jaw joints, difficulty opening the mouth fully, worn or chipped teeth from night-time clenching or grinding, ear ringing, jaw popping and dizziness.

For adolescents in braces, many proudly draw attention to their treatment with colored bands. However, adults often feel awkward when it comes to wearing wires and brackets. This method of realignment also makes eating difficult, creates challenges with oral hygiene and is physically uncomfortable. For adults in social and business settings, traditional braces can also cause discomposure.

Fortunately, today’s dentistry offers an effective, comfortable and affordable alternative to the challenges associated with braces.  Invisalign is an ‘invisable’ tooth realignment system that uses custom-made molds to gently ease teeth into proper positions. There are no brackets or wires, so the gums and lips are not subject to sore spots or tears. The molds are nearly undetectable, so patients avoid uneasiness when speaking or smiling.

As a dentist, I’m especially pleased that Invisalign helps patients be more thorough with their oral hygiene while in treatment. Since the molds are removable for eating and brushing, you can eat the foods you want and properly clean your teeth without the brushing and floss-threading challenges required for traditional braces.

We offer Invisalign for both teens and adults. However, we’ve seen that Invisalign is most appealing for adults, especially those who wore braces in their teen years and have experienced shifting over the years. The Invisalign process eases teeth back to their proper positions simply and comfortably.

Invisalign isn’t appropriate for all situations, however. Some bite realignment requires the more-involved process of traditional orthodontics. For these needs, we have an orthodontic specialist on staff. Dr. Jerry Wesley is an Orthodontist who can provide traditional realignment with braces. He and I are both certified Invisalign providers.

Let’s discuss the option best for you. Begin by calling 586-739-2155 to schedule a no-charge exam and consultation. I will explain the process and determine if Invisalign is appropriate for the degree of realignment you need. During this time, we can also discuss payment plans, many with no down payment required and interest-free.

How To Make Dental Implants Last A Lifetime

Of all implant-in-bone procedures performed today, Dental Implants hold the highest success rate of all – over 94%. That includes hips and knees. However, like any medical procedure, Dental Implants can fail. How can you help to ensure an optimal result and enjoy a confident smile for your lifetime?

One of the keys to the lasting success of implants begins with the Doctor you choose. An experienced and skilled implant Doctor will make a proper diagnosis, selecting the best implant system for your needs. The Doctor will also provide precision placement so the implanted portions are to a proper depth and angle.

The highest risk of implant failure actually occurs after an implant patient leaves the office. The implant recipient has a significant role in the life of their implants.

Fortunately, removing a dental implant is a rare occurrence. Most often, an implant has to be removed because of the onset of an infection that cannot be adequately treated while the implant remains.

Infection typically occurs when oral bacteria amasses and creates an inflammatory state. Once this inflammation penetrates the gum tissues and bone surrounding the implant’s post, it becomes more difficult to treat. With prompt treatment, some infections can be resolved without complications. However, at a certain level the implant must be removed.

What leads to the problems associated with inflammation caused by oral bacteria? After all, we all have bacteria in our mouths, don’t we? Yes, oral bacteria is a normal part of any mouth. The problems begin when too much bacteria develop and are not sufficiently removed on a daily basis. While the most common cause is poor oral hygiene, smoking (which is drying to oral tissues) and diabetes contribute as well.

Another lesser-known but significant reason for failure is teeth grinding. Bruxing (clenching and grinding teeth during sleep) contributes to implant failure in more cases than many realize. One study of dental implant recipients noted that 29% of patients who were teeth grinders had failed implants. Nearly the same number of patients with diabetes experienced implant failure.

Bruxing is as much of a problem for natural teeth as for teeth held by implants. The force of grinding is often so much that it wears the tops of teeth down, referred to as worn teeth. Not to be outdone, the force of clenching can be hard enough to crack a walnut. Grinding and clenching can cause teeth to chip, crack, break and even tilt out of position. These actions can also lead to frequent headaches, migraines, sore jaw joints, ear ringing, dizziness, and sore facial and neck muscles.

Obviously, a newly-placed implant is not up for the challenges of bruxing. That’s why it is important to resolve the problem before implants are placed. However, bruxing should be corrected regardless of the situation.

Bruxing and clenching are the result of a misaligned bite in most cases. Once the misalignment has been pinpointed, mild cases may be corrected with simple reshaping of selected teeth. More severe misalignment may require the placement of crowns to adjust tooth height or even orthodontics.

Keeping a clean, healthy mouth and ensuring your teeth are in proper position will help in protecting the life of your implant, After placement, we will advise you on ways to avoid risks and potential failure. It is our goal for every patient to have a positive experience and successful outcome.

While not all aspects of after-treatment are within our control, I believe that thorough communication with patients is important. It is our belief that patients are able to increase their success potential when they understand the importance of their role.

To learn more about Dental Implants, call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles for a free consultation. During this time, I’ll answer your questions and make recommendations. If desired, we can also have our Financial Coordinator discuss easy payment options, most interest-free with no down payment required.

Position Of Each Tooth Can Effect More Than You May Realize

In dentistry, precision is everything. As a neuro-muscular dentist, I know just how true that is.

Good oral health relies upon a delicate balance of upper teeth to lower teeth as well as the unity of teeth on both sides. What occurs when a tooth is lost and not replaced is a perfect example of the the problems that can occur without each tooth in its proper position.

When a tooth is lost, the tooth above or below the open space is left without an opposing tooth. The opposing tooth helps to keep its upper or lower ‘neighbor’ at a proper length. Without it, the tooth grows longer. Additionally, the teeth adjacent to the open space are no longer held in their proper positions. These teeth can soon tilt into the open space and lean into range of the elongated tooth.

The longer tooth can now ‘hit’ the leaning teeth in chewing or speaking. Initially, this may cause a dull tooth ache. As the tooth grows longer and the others tilt further, chips, fractures or breaks can occur. The effects of bite misalignment don’t stop there, however.

Bite misalignment tends to put stress and strain on the jaw joints. These are the joints just in front of your ears that hinge the lower jaw to the skull. Stress on these joints is referred to as TMJ disorder.

When the bite is misaligned, the jaw joints become so as well. During sleep, there becomes a subconscious struggle as the jaw joints search for a proper relaxation point during sleep. As the jaws seek this out, clenching and grinding can occur. This can result in worn teeth, frequent headaches, migraines, soreness when opening the mouth, ear ringing, facial muscle pain and dizziness. Jaw Joint

Yet, you don’t have to be missing a tooth for these problems to occur. A crown that is placed at an improper height can just as easily disrupt the balance required for teeth and jaw joints to work together harmoniously.

My advanced training in neuromuscular dentistry and modern technology are ways I help our patients avoid the long list of problems that can easily occur when the delicate balance of occlusion is disrupted. Proper bite alignment is an important element in the overall skeletal alignment. Without it, a domino effect is set into motion.

If you are experiencing any of the problems related to bite misalignment or TMJ disorder (as mentioned above), call to arrange a no-cost consultation. During this time, I’ll discuss ways that we can determine if your bite is truly the source of your problems. If so, there are several options available to help restore the balance of a healthy bite.

If you are not experiencing these problems, you can rest assured that the work you have performed in our office will be done in a way to help you avoid them. It’s simply a perk of our commitment to exceptional care for each patient!

Call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles for a consultation time that works for you.

Vertigo (Dizziness) Can Be Caused By Jaw Joint Disorder

If you experience dizziness (also referred to as vertigo), this off-balance sensation can place you in an unsure frame of mind, not to mention put your safety at risk.

The latin origin of the word ‘vertigo is “a whirling round.” Vertigo is observed in a number of diseases and causes dizziness and a loss of balance. It can also cause confusion, nausea, lightheadedness, and the feeling of being pulled downward.

Although the cause is often unknown in many cases, problems involving the inner ear are a common cause of vertigo. In addition to a head injury, migraines and lengthy period of bedrest, other contributing factors include:
    •    Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV; a mechanical inner-ear disorder)
    •    Meniere’s disease (a progressive ear disease)
    •    Vestibular neuritis (inflammation of the vestibulocochlear nerve)
    •    Labyrinthitis (a condition caused by inner ear infection)
    •    TMJ (jaw joint) disorder

The inner ear is the common culprit in the majority of vertigo cases. However, the position and fluid motion of your jaw joints (TMJ) and bite alignment are often-overlooked as contributing factors.  Research has found that disorders of the temporo-mandibular joint can lead to balance disparities as well as cause nausea and vision problems.

Recent research has found that vertigo and TMJ Disorder have a deeper correlation than once thought. In these cases, bite misalignment is resolved to reduce tension in connected jaw muscles. This can often eliminate the symptom of dizziness.

But, where is the connection? One suspected pathway is in how the jaws and inner ear share a common ligament. Hence, the bones that are intricately responsible in hearing are also closely connected with the anatomy of the temporo-mandibular joint.

Because a TMJ disorder triggers stress and strain on structures associated with the jaw joints, this jointly-shared ligament can be pulled from its natural position.  The trickle-down effect means the middle ear structure, which is responsible for maintaining equilibrium, becomes off-kilter. However, this is but one scenario. A TMJ disorder can affect the inner ear in other ways as well.

The TMJ is actually a rotating hinge that joins the lower jaw to the head.  It houses a “socket” that is also part of the temporal bone.  TMJ Disorder (or ’TMD’) may move this temporal bone just enough to shift the connected components out of position as well.

Although the relationship to the TMJ and inner ear are gaining more attention for those who suffer with vertigo, many medical practitioners are not fully aware of the connection.  This is why the most effective route to treatment may be seeing a Neuro-muscular Dentist. This is a dentist who is a trained TMJ specialist and is structured to help establish a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

The symptoms of TMD include clicking or popping jaw joints, depression, facial pain, frequent headaches or migraines, jaw pain, limited jaw movement, neck and shoulder pain, numbness or tingling in the fingers, tinnitus (ear ringing) and sleep apnea.

In addition to bite realignment, prevention or reduction of factors such as bruxism, jaw clenching and other things that may cause muscle inflammation give the body the opportunity to repair itself. However, the most effective diagnosis – that is the origin of an effective treatment plan – may include:
    •    TENS Therapy ( transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation): This is an electrical impulse unit that is used to relax the jaw muscles and to allow it to settle into its natural position. Once the natural resting position is established, a properly fitted mouth piece can retrain the jaw muscles to rest in the correct position.
    •    TMJ Orthotics: Customized orthotic (a device resembling an athlete’s mouth guard.) is particularly effective for realigning the jaw.  Many patients report near-immediate relief of vertigo symptoms they have had for years once an orthotic is used.
    •    Restorative Dentistry: In some cases, a ‘bad bite’ is caused by the way that the teeth come together in biting, chewing and at rest.  While mouth pieces may temporarily resolve the problem, the position of the teeth may cause a bad bite to reoccur.  In these cases restorative dentistry may be required to ensure a proper bite and avoid re-emergence of TMD symptoms.

The relationship between TMJ and vertigo symptoms are still being studied.  To fully establish the culprit of vertigo as TMJ disorders, proper testing by a trained, experienced Neuro-Muscular dentist is the most efficient way to resolve the many symptoms that can result.

If dizziness, a sense of being off-balance, or other symptoms are causing you concern, consider that your jaw joints may play a bigger role than is often obvious. Call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles for a private, no-cost consultation appointment. We’ll discuss your symptoms, medical and dental history, and methods for diagnosis and treatment that may be right for you.

Not All Crowns Are Created Equal (And Why Prices Vary)

Many of us are familiar with the phrase “a rose is a rose.” While the scent of a rose would be pleasant regardless of its name, this reminds us that comparisons aren’t always “apples to apples.” Roses can vary a great deal, just as crowns, bridges and other dental restorations.

As a dentist, I regularly see new patients who have aging crowns or bridges. Some of these restorations are breaking down rather soon, typically due to inferior quality or being placed improperly. For those who assume all crowns are the same, like roses, this is far from the case.

To begin, most crowns are made by a dental lab selected by the dentist and to specifications of that dentist. In order to trim expenses, the cheaper labs typically create results of lesser quality. Typically, the appearance won’t have the natural appearance that blends seamlessly with other teeth. And, the feel won’t provide the smooth finish that feels like a tooth surface. It will look and feel like a ‘fake tooth.’

Patient of Dr. Ban Barbat - Crowns That Look Natural, Of Exceptional Quality
Patient of Dr. Ban Barbat – Crowns That Look Natural, Of Exceptional Quality

In addition to a compromise in the look and feel of a crown, longevity is another area where cost cuts mean sacrifices in quality. The life of a crown is dependent on its materials (along with proper shaping and placement). Obviously, a crown made of lower grade materials won’t hold up as well over time.

Proper placement also has a tremendous effect on the life of a crown. When a tooth is prepared for a crown, the shape, shade and size of the crown is provided to the dental lab. There is no margin for error. The slightest misstep in height or shape can create conflict for the teeth above or below.

For example, a crown that is just a fraction of a millimeter too tall or short will hit incorrectly on the tooth that meets it in a bite. As a neuro-muscular dentist, I know how significant this can be on a patient’s overall oral structures. This minute disparity can result in bite misalignment that leads to headaches, migraines, sore jaw joints, ear ringing, dizziness, facial pain or pain in neck and shoulder muscles.

The same principles apply to a bridge. Bridges that look good, fit correctly, and last an exceptionally long time are worth “doing right the first time.” When a bridge is selected based on the lowest price, like anything, the repercussions of cutting corners will show up eventually.

Rather than think of a crown in terms of its cost, consider what it will provide to you for a fair price. Will it look as natural as your surrounding teeth? Will it feel like a tooth? Will it last for a long time because it was made of quality materials? Will it be placed so you avoid problems from bite misalignment in the future?

When it comes to what is spent on a smile, we all want to feel we have made a good investment. We believe our patients deserve the highest quality in crowns, bridges or veneers for a reasonable cost. Too, we want you to feel pleased with your investment long after it is made.

Let’s sit down together to discuss how you can achieve a healthy, confident smile and enjoy exceptional results in an affordable treatment plan. Call 586-739-2155 to schedule a cost-free, no-obligation consultation. We can also discuss easy payment options, some with no down payment and interest-free.

Headaches, Tender Jaws May Be Related To Bite Alignment

Balance. It’s something we need in all aspects of our lives. There is a proper balance when it comes to work and home life as well as active time and rest time. Too much of one tends to eventually impact our lives in negative ways. Harmonious balance is the key.

When upper teeth do not fit harmoniously with lower teeth, the delicate balance of teeth, jaw joints and facial muscles can all be uprooted. The result may seem initially subtle, but eventually the symptoms become quite obvious. One telltale sign is worn teeth.

When upper and lower teeth do not meet properly, the jaws move during sleep in an attempt to alleviate stress or strain to the TMJ (‘temporo-mandibular joints’ or jaw joints). Yet, this effort to self-adjust tends to transfer one problem to another.  As the jaws shift, the teeth clamp together. This, in turn, triggers a grinding motion.

Worn teeth are obvious when the tops of teeth become flat, leaving teeth with straight-across tops rather than the natural contours typical of natural teeth. Worn teeth are typically shorter than they should be as well.

As teeth grind back and forth, tooth enamel is worn away, leaving teeth vulnerable to decay and sensitivity. Grinding and clenching can also lead to frequent headaches, migraines, sore jaw joints, dizziness, ear ringing, and limited ability to open the mouth.

Example of worn teeth from bruxing.
Example of worn teeth from bruxing.

Misaligned teeth are also more likely to experience cracks, breaks and chips. While these problems require costly treatment, the worse scenario is when a tooth breaks below the gum line. When this occurs, the tooth will likely need to be removed.

Your regular checkups include an evaluation of your bite position and noting signs of abnormal wear. However, many people experience headaches, dizziness or jaw tenderness before their teeth reveal bite misalignment. The key is to encourage patients to communicate these symptoms since they are not necessarily associated with bite problems.

Once bite problems are discovered, the next step is to determine the its cause. In our office, we offer an advanced diagnostic system that is specially designed to pinpoint the source of TMJ disorders. If TMJ is the true source of your problem, a treatment plan is developed to restore proper alignment.

In some cases, your bite can be corrected easily by minor reshaping of selected teeth. However, if more extensive reshaping is needed, crowns may be advised. If your misalignment is severe, orthodontic realignment may be needed to restore the unity of upper and lower teeth.

When realignment is advised, Invisalign is an appealing option for many adults. Using clear molds, the Invisalign system moves teeth without brackets and wires. The ‘aligners’ worn are generally undetectable and can be removed for eating and brushing.

Remember, worn teeth are a sign of a bigger problem that will only worsen without treatment. Resolving it early can save you much in treatment time and expense.

For a free, no-cost consultation, call 1-866-9-Smiles. During this time, we’ll discuss options that are appropriate for your needs as well as payment options so you can resolve your problem while making easy, monthly payments.