Posts Tagged ‘tmj disorder’

Dental Health is Not Isolated from Whole-Body Health

I haven’t written enough on nutrition’s role in dentistry except for one specific post and mentioning here and there how healthy teeth begin with a healthy body. Nutrition isn’t my recognized area of expertise; but working in conjunction with other natural doctors, nutritionists, and others and seeking the best for myself and my family has brought me heaps of knowledge and enhanced my dentistry.

Maybe you’ve seen a lot of content published in many natural food/health communities about curing tooth decay, tooth remineralization, and cavity reversal. This doesn’t directly address more serious problems like dental implants, occlusal correction, or serious gum recession caused by gingivitis/periodontitis. Those more advanced conditions are more exciting to me as it is. But restoring dental health through dietary means can certainly solve other things like the early stages of cavities, gum disease, plaque buildup, and weak enamel caused by overall malnourishment.

Modern dentistry, like most fields of medicine, tends to isolate the mouth and teeth from the rest of the body. Just look at the nation’s stance on insurance — you must pay for your teeth separately. The body works as a whole, however. It is a complex system of functions all working together. You cannot affect one function without affecting another somehow. Amalgam may be a cheap and easy way to fill teeth, but what about the mercury that leaks out and embeds itself in organs and tissues all over the body? Braces effectively straighten teeth, but will the patient’s bite change and cause TMJ problems later in life, not to mention the hassle of wearing retainers indefinitely? Removing natural tooth structure for a crown or undergoing a root canal may remove an obvious problem, but do you know how that actually burdens your immune system?

Just some food for thought.

Dr. Sperbeck, West Los Angeles

http://www.dds4smiles.com

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You and Your Bite

Occlusal disease is the fancy name for “bite disease”. What? How does one’s bite become diseased, you ask? Well, there are three types of bad things that can happen to your teeth: decay (cavities), gum disease, and bite disease. We’ve discussed the first two, so here goes occlusal (bite) disease.

Occlusal disease is the condition where your bite — the way your teeth come down onto each other — is uneven, crooked, or misaligned. You may not be able to bite down all the way or chew thoroughly, and your jaw muscles must work harder for these simple tasks. Because of the unevenness, some teeth are worn down faster than others, and further wearing, breaking, or chipping of teeth may occur. The extra work on the jaw muscles also causes pain all around the jaw, mouth, head, and neck. “Aging” teeth may not be aging at all — the wear and tear is because of a bite problem long left untreated. It’s a mess!

Occlusal disease is often hard to spot. Unlike cavities or gum disease, it’s not always visually apparent. What may appear to be a randomly broken tooth could be a more severe underlying problem… and fixing just that one tooth is not going to help if the whole jaw is misaligned.

Dentists trained at The Pankey Institute develop the eyes for recognizing bite problems, making it less of a mystery to solve if one finds himself suffering the symptoms. Much research goes into fixing the problem; casts and models of your teeth are made so the dentist can see where the problem lies and how it can be adjusted (bite analysis). Occlusal disease also ties directly into bioesthetic dentistry and treating TMJ disorders. A simple, non-surgical tweaking of the muscles (most often used with a MAGO, or mouthguard-looking splint that helps “train” the muscles to realign in the correct positions) may very well be the solution to chewing food without harming your skull, and preserving functional, straight teeth well into your later years.

Dr. Sperbeck, West Los Angeles

http://www.dds4smiles.com

TMJ

TMJ disorder, or TMD (both acronyms for the temporo-mandibular joint….the joint in your jaw), is a common ailment that causes a wide range of symptoms from occasional ear pain or jaw clicking/popping, to major aches in the entire head, tooth wear from frequent bruxing (teeth-grinding), migraines, neck pain, and jaw crookedness or tiredness. I specialize in treating TMJ, so if you think TMJ has been a problem for you, contact me (or another TMJ specialist, if location is a problem). It’s important to find one who treats TMJ bioesthetically, aesthetically, and with the healthiest, most natural options available. Your TMJ disorder will grow worse over time if it’s not taken care of. Don’t wait any longer to prevent problems that are bound to happen!

Dr. Sperbeck, West Los Angeles

http://www.dds4smiles.com