Friday, May 12, 2017

Do You Have TMJ Problems?

TMJ problems can sneak up on you and can be caused by stress, or they can be issues that have long plagued your oral health as a result of an unbalanced bite. If you’re curious about whether jaw joint dysfunction is the source of dental pain, ask yourself if you frequently experience the following:
  • Night time teeth grinding
  • Clicking and popping sounds when moving jaw
  •  Ringing in ears
  •  Jaw pain when waking up
  •  Difficulty opening your mouth
If you have one or several of these issues, you could be dealing with a problem related to the TMJ or temporomandibular joint that connects jaw arches. TMJ issues can be caused or aggravated by teeth grinding and for some patients are a matter of bite problems that can lead to stress on joints and pain in the neck and facial area.

Protecting Teeth, Fixing Bite

For many dentists, treating TMJ issues involves protecting teeth from wear and tear by offering a mouth guard. While this does cushion the force placed on teeth, it does not correct the root cause of the problem. Our doctors’ solution to TMJ problems is both protective and corrective in nature and can include bite correction if necessary. If your bite is unbalanced due to gaps between teeth, or teeth that have been worn down due to grinding, our cosmetic and restorative procedures can help alleviate these problems, and create better harmony between arches of teeth to minimize TMJ dysfunction.

Drs. Spence can provide restorations in the form of dental bonding, veneers, and tooth-colored crowns to ensure that your teeth are even and adjusted to be of proper height to avoid an unbalanced bite. We can also provide mouth guards to ensure that your new restorations are protected from any wear and tear while sleeping.

Contact Us to Learn More about Treating TMJ Disorder

If you’re exhibiting any of the issues above, don’t hesitate to call our College Station, TX dental office to learn more about how we can alleviate problems associated with bite and TMJ pain. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Treating TMJ with Custom Mouth Guards

If you’re like many dental patients, you may suffer from temporomandibular joint disorder, known as TMD. This condition has no one specific cause; however trauma to the jaw joint or muscles of the head and neck can trigger the onset of TMD. Patients with TMD often experience:

- Pain or tenderness in the face, jaw joint, neck and shoulders throughout the day
- Problems opening and closing their jaws accompanied by clicking or popping noises
- Frequent earaches, headaches, neck aches, dizziness and ringing in the ears

Treatment for TMJ

While treatment can range from the minimum of taking ibuprofen whenever the pain flares, to corrective surgery, patients have found success in treating TMD with mouth guards. These non-invasive oral appliances are customized to relieve pain, while minimizing the risk of future oral health complications.

Selecting the Right TMJ Appliance

When determining the right oral appliance for your TMJ needs, you may be evaluated for one of two appliances: a bite splint or a night guard. A bite splint physically corrects the bite. Unlike night guards, bite splints are worn 24-7 and pull the lower jaw forward in such a way that it corrects jaw alignment and relieves pressure. As bite splints are a more elevated approach in treating TMD, a night guard may be recommended first.

How Night Guards Works

Treating TMD with a mouth guard is an excellent solution, as it efficiently relieves points of tension and prevents bruxism, or the habitual grinding of teeth. The guard acts as a barrier between the upper and lower jaw and prevents teeth from grinding together, while allowing the jaw itself to relax during sleep. Simply separating the jaw arches has a positive, domino effect on the other parts of the mouth, face and upper chest. Additionally, daytime oral appliances are available for patients who need assistance in relaxing their jaw. With daytime appliances, the jaw is slowly conditioned to rest in a position with the teeth apart, rather than clenched.

Treatment with mouth guards is non-invasive. Unlike oral surgery or orthodontic treatment to correct certain TMJ issues, mouth guards are removable and in the event the patient is non-responsive to oral appliance therapy. For many patents, mouth guards provide the ideal solution to relieving TMD pain.
If you feel that you could benefit from a mouth guard to treat your TMD pain, call Aggieland Dental Associates today! 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Dental Implants: Are They Worth It?

The sticker price of dental implants can be a speed bump for many people in the market for treatments to replace missing teeth. It’s important to remember, however, that replacing teeth is an investment in your oral health and overall wellness.

If you’re weighing the cost benefits of an implant, compared to a fixed bridge, or denture, consider the following:

Repair and Maintenance

Just about any dental appliance will need maintenance over its lifetime. With a dental implant, there are essentially three pieces – the implant post, abutment, and dental crown. But typically speaking, only the dental crown would need to be repaired or replaced over its lifetime. With a fixed bridge, which uses two dental crowns and a pontic that are bonded together, if one part of the restoration breaks – the whole thing needs to be remade and replaced. That’s getting a whole new bridge every few years, or in the event of an accident.

Effect on Neighboring Teeth or Oral Structures

An implant is an independent replacement for a tooth – consider it like getting a whole new tooth, roots and all. Your natural teeth don’t rest on any of your other teeth for support, so an implant doesn’t either. But a bridge or a denture would rest on, and affect, your gums and your existing teeth. In fact, getting a bridge involves buffing down healthy tooth enamel, so that the crowns can be used to support your new tooth. This creates an environment where additional treatments may be needed to care for teeth and soft tissue that have been changed as a result of a replacing a tooth.

Overall Oral Health 

When a tooth is lost, whether it is through an accident, gum disease, or neglect, that portion of the jaw begins to weaken. Your body is an efficient allocator of resources and if it detects that a tooth no longer needs to be supported, it stops supplying that area with nutrients. Excessive mineral loss may lead to a change in your facial appearance. By stimulating bone in your jaw, your dental implant is capable of helping to prevent a negative change to bone quality, which would require additional treatment to correct, such as bone grafts and sinus lifts.

While an implant may be a more costly treatment up-front, the payback for your health, peace of mind, and future dental care is significant. If you have any questions about dental implants, please get in contact with our College Station implant dentists for more information.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Dental Implants: As Close as Possible to Your Own, Natural Teeth

Any dentist will tell you that, whenever possible, keeping your own teeth is the best thing for your oral health. Preserving your natural teeth and roots maintains aesthetic and oral function and prevents the need for additional dental treatment.

There are many preventive and restorative treatments that have allowed patients to keep more of their own teeth – deep cleanings to halt the progression of gum disease and root canals to treat tooth infections – but there are some instances where a tooth needs to be extracted to preserve your overall oral health and function.

In that event, dental implants are the next best thing to having your own teeth and here’s why:

Bone Health – Like your natural teeth have roots to stimulate bone in your jaw, so do dental implants. The implant contains a post that is surgically placed where the natural tooth used to be and helps prevent the shrinking of bone that can occur when your natural tooth root is missing.

Oral Function – Implants are strongly rooted in your jaw, just as your real teeth would be, so you can bite and chew as you normally would. You don’t have to worry about a denture becoming loose or preventing you from enjoying your favorite meals.

Aesthetic - More than just replacing a gap in your smile, dental implants prevent the facial collapse that occurs when you’re missing multiple teeth. You may notice that dentures wearers often look prematurely-aged from missing many of their natural teeth – that’s because of the bone loss and shrinking we mentioned previously. Dental implants help you look young and healthy by preserving your natural facial structure.

While there are other choices for replacing teeth, like fixed bridges and dentures, no other restoration is able to preserve health and function quite like a dental implant. If you have questions about getting dental implants in College Station, TX, contact the dentists at Aggieland Dental Associates for more information.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

How Cosmetic Dentistry Gives You a Healthier Smile

Cosmetic dentistry isn't solely concerned with appearance, but also with making overall improvements to health. But how exactly does an aesthetically improved smile ensure overall good health? The answer lies in cosmetic dental treatments’ durability and restorative function.

Durability - Advances in the field of cosmetic dentistry offer  attractive, tooth-colored treatments that last just as long as their traditional metal counter-parts. Porcelain composites used for the treatment of dental decay – in the way of crowns and white fillings – are able to protect teeth for as long as amalgam fillings and metal-on-porcelain crowns.  Patients can feel confident their newly corrected smile will stay with them for a long time with proper care.

Function - Cosmetic treatments also restore functionality to a patient's bite so they can exert full and even force while biting and chewing.  With damaged or missing teeth, patients are often forced to chew on one side of their mouths to avoid discomfort. This creates uneven wear and tear on teeth and puts extra pressure on healthy structures. Damaged teeth also restrict your biting capabilities, as decayed teeth are already weak, and missing teeth take away what you need to bite into and chew your favorite meal.

Cosmetic dental treatments like crowns, veneers, dental implants, and fixed bridges, protect damaged teeth, fill in gaps created by missing teeth, restore oral function, and help your smile appear healthy.

How We Can Help

At Aggieland Dental Associates, Drs. Ken and Roxane Spence can enhance your smile with a comprehensive range of cosmetic services. We even offer Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics (CEREC), which produces prosthetics, crowns and veneers, in as little as one dental appointment. Call our office for an appointment today, and discover how cosmetic dentistry can help restore your teeth to full health.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Dental Implants and 3-D Imaging

Dental implants offer a stable alternative to traditional restorations for missing teeth. Advancements in dental implantology include the introduction of 3-dimensional imaging. But what are the advantages of this form of imaging and how can it help you get the best care possible for dental implants?

What is 3-D Imaging?

3-dimensional imaging is a process that produces a detailed, computer-generated, three-dimensional image of a patient’s mouth. A dental 3-D scan allows dental care providers to view the structures of the mouth and jaw from different angles. The images identify specific areas in need of treatment, but also allow Drs. Spence to avoid other areas that do not require treatment, thereby more planning and delivering the appropriate dental therapy a more accurate process.

3-D Imaging and Implants

Getting a dental implant involves surgically placing a small titanium post into bone in the jaw. Implants are a unique method of replacing teeth, as they are placed at the location of the natural root. Because all angles of the implantation area can be observed with 3-D scanning, the chances of successfully establishing the best possible location for the implant are greatly improved.

In this way, Drs. Spence can better plan the procedure in advance, with fewer delays in time. During your initial visit, a 3-D image will be taken to assess bone structure, density, and nerve locations. The process takes as little as 10 minutes to complete. Patients don't have to wait for results, and often the x-rays are taken in-house.

The reliability of the technology benefits both the patient and the dentist. Unnecessarily invasive treatment can be avoided, as can subsequent complications, which in turn decreases the amount of time it takes for you to get the dental implant you need.

Drs. Ken and Roxane Spence are focused on providing their patients with the best in dental care, and use 3-D imaging services as part of their implant treatment plans. Call the team at Aggieland Dental Associates and schedule your consultation today!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Understanding Wisdom Teeth Removal

Wisdom teeth – also known as the third molars – can contribute to problems as they erupt through the gums, but having wisdom teeth removed is a fairly common procedure. If they are not removed, poorly aligned wisdom teeth can crowd or damage neighboring teeth, the jawbone, or nerves. Despite these potential, short-term problems, extractions provide patients with relief, comfort and restoration of full dental function.

At Aggieland Dental, Drs. Roxane and Ken Spence might use a number of terms to describe the condition of your wisdom teeth when evaluating your oral health before extraction. Familiarize yourself with these common terms below:

Impaction - Issues can arise when wisdom teeth are trying to erupt. Commonly, a tooth fails to erupt properly because of a lack of space, or misalignment. In some cases, wisdom teeth don't make it above the surface.

Soft Tissue Impaction -The crown (top part of the tooth) has partially erupted through bone in the jaw, but has not made it through the gum, called soft tissue.

Partial Bony Impaction - With a partial impaction, the wisdom tooth has room to erupt, but it cannot be used to chew food, as it has not made through gums, and presents difficulty in cleaning.

Complete Bony Impaction - Wisdom teeth are completely encased in bone, and have not erupted at all. Extractions require a surgical solution involving and removing the impact teeth.

Other terms describing impacted wisdom tooth include:

Mesial – the tooth is angled forward, toward the front of the mouth
Vertical – the tooth is impacted, but is facing a “normal” direction
Horizontal – the tooth is lying on its side
Distal – the tooth is angled backward, toward the rear of the mouth

No matter the impaction, we highly recommend wisdom tooth removal for the benefit of gum health, gum disease prevention, and minimization of damage to adjacent teeth and bone structure. We encouraged you to speak to our team at Aggieland Dental Associates – so we can advise you as to the best course of treatment. To schedule your consultation for wisdom teeth removal, contact our office today!