What Does Jaw Pain Mean?

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Our staff sees many patients who complain of jaw pain. Some attempt to ignore it with hopes that it will go away without any intervention. Unfortunately, this is not often the case.

Because our office that specializes in emergency dentistry, we have the expertise and equipment to diagnose and treat your jaw pain correctly. The jaw is a complex entity, and there are several potential causes of jaw pain.

• Broken or cracked teeth often lead to jaw pain. This is especially true if the damage is due to a traumatic injury. After assessing the extent of the damage, our dentist may recommend a crown or cap to support and strengthen the tooth. If the damage exposes the root or the nerve, you are likely to need a root canal to remove the damaged tissue and save the tooth from decay or extraction.

• Decayed teeth can cause severe jaw pain, especially if the problematic tooth is near the jaw. Our dentist can quickly relieve your jaw pain by removing the decaying tissue and filling the tooth.

• An abscessed tooth is frequently the cause of jaw pain. An abscess is an infection which has evolved into a pocket of infected pus located either in the center or at the root of a tooth. Because the infected tissue sits so close to both blood vessels and bone, there is a high probability that your jaw bone can become infected or that blood vessels will spread the infection to other parts of the body. Often a root canal will take care of an abscess, but occasionally the disease is so extreme that the tooth needs to be removed to protect the other teeth and jaw bone.

• Teeth Grinding is also known as bruxism. It occurs during sleep, so it often is not noticed until you begin to feel pain in your jaw and your teeth. Our dentist can fit you for a dental appliance to prevent grinding and eliminate your jaw pain.

• Temporomandibular joint disorder or TMJ disorder is a frequent cause of jaw pain. There can be more than one underlying cause of TMJ. Experts link it to several factors including stress, malformations of the joint, and bruxism. Our dentist has various treatment options to relieve pain caused by TMJ. As the treatments vary from patient to patient, contact our office to learn more.

While there are several meanings behind jaw pain, our staff can help you sort out the symptoms and find both the cause and the treatment to relieve your pain.

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When is Root Canal an Option?

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Patients often come to our office dealing with various painful dental problems. Among the most painful is the abscessed tooth. An abscess occurs when a pocket of pus collects around the root of an injured or infected tooth.

The most common symptoms of an abscess include jaw and tooth pain, swelling around the region near the abscess, a bad taste in your mouth, red gums, and pain when you chew. Unfortunately, this problem will not get better without some dental intervention. This situation typically requires a root canal to resolve the issue.

While many patients tell our North Hollywood dentist that they prefer not to have a root canal, the only other way to eliminate the pain would be a tooth extraction, which can lead to other dental problems.

The root canal has a reputation for being a very painful and unpleasant experience. While some root canal stories are somewhat exaggerated, there is a real reason that people in the past endured a lot of pain during a root canal. Years ago, dentists did not have the same kinds of instruments as they have today. Because of this, it was much more difficult to numb the roots of the tooth and because there is still some sensation. Our dentist uses state-of-the-art technology to be confident you will be numb during the procedure.

The root canal treatment consists of several steps. First, you receive an anesthetic to numb you. Our dentist then drills into the tooth and cleans away the infection along with any dead or decaying material. The final steps are to pack the canal of the tooth with a substance called gutta-percha and seal the tooth.

Root canals are often the best option for repair if a tooth is cracked or severely damaged. Our goal is always to restore or save your natural tooth. Only if this is impossible will we extract your tooth.

The good news is that our patients tell us that they experience immense pain relief after the root canal procedure is over. If you have any concerns, please contact our office. We are happy to help you.

Options for Treatment of TMJ

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Our office treats many patients who struggle with temporomandibular joint problems, also called TMJ. This disorder is extremely painful. Sufferers frequently report severe headaches behind their eyes or radiating from the jaw, facial swelling, and jaw pain, particularly in the morning. There is often ear pain which is usually accompanied by other symptoms such as a popping sound when chewing and inflammation.

Fortunately, our dentist in East Los Angeles is dedicated to remaining current with advances in treatments of TMJ and can help you learn to deal with the problem. We often see that teeth grinding is a trigger of TMJ. It wears down teeth and over works jaw and could lead to cracks in the teeth, broken enamel, tooth decay, or eventual tooth loss.

If you have TMJ, our dentist will evaluate you to pinpoint the best course of treatment for you. The least invasive option for our patients experiencing TMJ is a night guard. A night guard is a plastic device which fits over your teeth. Its effectiveness comes from preventing tooth grinding and jaw clenching; both are known triggers for TMJ symptoms.

Another common option to treat TMJ disorders is medication. Typically, our dentist prescribes muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatory drugs; many patients report that painkillers do very little to resolve the pain of TMJ.

If you are someone who deals with excessive amounts of stress regularly, we often recommend relaxation techniques to reduce the involuntary urge to clench your jaw or grind your teeth.

Should the conservative TMJ treatments fail to give you relief, our dentist may recommend a minimally invasive surgery called TMJ arthrocentesis. This procedure takes place in our office, and you receive general anesthesia during the operation. The dentist uses a needle to flush the area and then gently manipulates the condyle-disc, which helps your jaw move, into place. The recovery time for this procedure is two or three days, and many patients feel relief once the disc is in its proper position.

We understand that TMJ disorders are excessively painful and often cause considerable interruptions in your everyday life. If you think you may have TMJ problems, call our office so we can help you overcome this condition.

Is Invisalign Express an Option for Me?

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Because of the popularity of the Invisalign treatment, the company released two more types of procedures to help meet the orthodontic needs of more patients; these are Invisalign Teen and Invisalign Express. While it is simple to know whether or not you are a good candidate for Invisalign Teen, there are a few details you need to address with our dentist before deciding to get the Invisalign Express system.
What is Invisalign Express?

It is an orthodontic treatment which uses thin plastic alignment trays to guide crooked teeth into the correct position. The key difference between Invisalign Express and the full Invisalign system is the amount of time you will use the alignment trays. The express method is significantly faster than the full system; instead of a year or longer, express patients will have about six to eight weeks of treatment.
How to know i
f Invisalign is right for you:

• The first key to eligibility for Invisalign Express is whether or not you have significant malocclusions. A patient who has slight imperfections does not need to spend extra time receiving the full Invisalign treatment. So, if your teeth have minor misalignment, the express treatment may be a good option for you.

• A second factor that is important with Invisalign is compliance. You must be willing to switch aligners, visit our dental office in Agoura Hills as scheduled, and care for your alignment trays as directed. Included in the care is cleaning the aligners before putting them in your mouth. Not adhering to instructions will impede your treatment and ultimately, waste your time and money.

• The third point regarding Invisalign Express is that you remember to wear your alignment trays for the correct number of hours every day. Because the trays are removable, we find that some patients take their trays out to eat, per the product instructions. However, after eating they forget to put the alignment trays in their mouths.
• Also, you have no dental work which will get in the way of the alignment trays. Often dental implants or bridges play a role in disqualification from Invisalign Express.

If you think Invisalign Express could be right for you, contact our office, and we will schedule an appointment for an exam and consultation.

When is a Full Mouth Reconstruction Needed?

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Modern dentistry gives our patients advanced ways to get the smile that they have always wanted. One method for our patients to achieve their perfect smile is through a procedure called Full Mouth Reconstruction. While the name sounds imposing, the treatments involved in reconstruction are safe and gentle.

Our Northridge cosmetic dentist will recommend a full reconstruction to our patients for various reasons. The most frequently cited reason for a complete mouth reconstruction is often a combination of reasons. A patient who comes to our office with extreme dental problems such as cracked or broken teeth, teeth with fillings that are failing, a large number of missing teeth, or teeth that show wear from tooth grinding they are a good candidate for a full reconstruction. A combination of multiple problems can compromise our patients’ health and their appearance.

Not all mouth reconstructions are due to poor oral hygiene. Our dentists see patients in need of restorations which were born with various dental disorders including Amelogenesis, Dentinogenesis Imperfecta, or Ectodermal Dysplasia.

Our dentists have several treatment options to offer patients and a full reconstruction almost always involves a combination of treatments. These may include:

• Bridges- These work well as a way to permanently replace missing teeth as long as there are teeth present strong enough to help support the bridge.

• Dental Bonding- Bonding improves the appearance of teeth with cracks, chips, or stains. A dental composite covers the teeth and permanently fuses in place.

• Dental Crowns- Crowns help improve teeth with many different problems. They cover, protect, and strengthen the teeth.

• Dental Implants- If teeth are missing, dental implants can fill the missing tooth’s spot. The implants improve appearance and help prevent bone loss by stimulating jaw growth.

• Veneers- Adding veneers is a way to disguise tooth imperfections found in otherwise healthy teeth. A specially made cover, typically porcelain, sits on top of the tooth hiding chips, cracks, or discolorations.

Although no two cases are exactly alike, the dentists at our practice have decades of experience performing full mouth reconstructions. Call our office for a consultation; your perfect smile is closer than you think.

Benefits of Laser Teeth Whitening

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There is no denying the unconscious effect your teeth have on your disposition. If you have a smile that features discolored teeth, you will most likely try to hide the stained teeth when you interact with others. Over time darkened teeth may leave you subconscious with depleted self-confidence. The impact of stained teeth has increased recently, due to the prevalence of gleaming white movie-star smiles that so many people are showing off these days. If you are among one of the thousands of people who dream of having a stunning smile, do not despair. Our San Francisco cosmetic dentist can improve your smile in minutes with the revolutionary laser teeth whitening system.

The laser teeth whitening system that we use in our office is a diode laser approved for use in dental offices by the United States Food and Drug Administration. While some patients initially express concern about a laser whitening their teeth, the treatments are painless and quick. Our dentists take special precautions to protect patients, and the laser is extremely precise. You can feel confident that your treatment will be safe in addition to being effective.

Having your teeth whitened by a laser has several benefits that other whitening systems cannot offer.

• REDUCED SENSITIVITY
The traditional light whitening system shines a hot light on patients for several minutes at a time, creating sensitivity and even pain. The laser light comes in 30-second bursts. Because of the reactive ingredient in the peroxide gel, the laser light absorbs quickly reducing sensitivity

  • FAST RESULTS
    Our patients see results after their first treatment. A typical 20-minute treatment produces teeth two to three shades lighter than they were prior to the procedure.
  • LASTING RESULTS
    Laser whitening requires fewer follow-ups than regular whitening systems.

    If you are not sure if laser teeth whitening is the right choice for you, we invite you to make an appointment for a consultation. One of our dentists can answer your questions and determine if the diode laser treatment is the best choice for you.

How Invisalign Makes Teeth Straighter

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Our cosmetic dentist in Torrance may recommend Invisalign because it is very effective, it is easy to change by the user, and it is not noticeable. The clear aligners are custom-built for each of our patients. So, they fit snugly over your teeth. Gradually, each of aligner will shift your teeth slightly until every tooth gets to its right position. The aligner moves some teeth horizontally, it moves some vertically, and some teeth even get rotated. This is why it takes time to straighten some teeth.

One of the reasons orthodontists prefer this option is that it has been designed to apply the right amount of force and pressure to change the position of every tooth in the wrong position as quickly as possible without hurting the user. This is because the braces are made of multilayer material that can gently shift your teeth into their right position. No other treatment option offers this. In an ideal situation, you should change your aligners every week except if your doctor says otherwise.

Apart from the benefit discussed above, there are other benefits that make clear aligner a great treatment option in orthodontics. One clear benefit is its total invisibility. Others won’t notice it at all. It is a big benefit because some of our patients complain that wearing metal braces lowers their self-esteem and confidence as they find it difficult to talk or laugh in public.

One thing we want you to understand is that straightening your teeth significantly improves your overall dental health. Straightening your teeth will restore the confidence that bad dentition made you lose. In addition, straightening your teeth reduces the risk of developing tooth decay and its concomitant gum diseases.

Braces trap food particles and since they make it difficult to wash your teeth properly, they increase the risk of tooth decay. The case is different with clear aligners. They can be removed easily to enable you brush your teeth properly and also floss the way you normally do. That way, you will be able to keep tooth decay and other mouth/gum diseases at bay.

Consult with our Invisalign provider in Torrance to learn more about this treatment.