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Sedation Dentistry: What to Expect



Did you know that about 22 percent of dental patients skip their appointments? This is because they are afraid of the dentist. Thanks to developments in modern dentistry, there are now many solutions for easing dental anxiety. Sedation dentistry is a great help for those who get restless, can't sit still, or find peace of mind in the dental chair. It’s also good news for those who have a sensitive gag reflex. 

 



Different Kinds of Sedation

 



Sedation is the process of administering drugs to suppress your central nervous system. It aims to produce a calming effect, making you less aware of your surroundings. Sedation dentistry reduces your dental phobia or anxiety before and during a dental procedure. Here are the different types of sedation dentistry and what you can expect from each:

 

 

  • Inhaled Minimal Sedation. This is commonly recommended for those who want to become more comfortable during routine treatments like cavity fillings. It's an excellent option for patients with gag reflex issues. With inhaled minimal sedation, you use a nose mask to deeply breathe in a mixture of laughing gas or nitrous oxide and oxygen. You will feel the relaxing effects within just a few minutes. You will remain awake during your dental procedure but may experience a slight tingling sensation in your extremities. The gas will wear off quickly as soon as you stop breathing it. 

     

  • Oral Conscious Sedation. This often involves taking a prescription medication like benzodiazepine the night before your dental procedure. You will take another dose approximately an hour before your treatment and bring an extra to your dentist's office. Your doctor will let you know if the in-office pill dosage will be necessary before your treatment. Just like inhaled minimal sedation, oral conscious sedation will keep you awake while allowing for deep relaxation. But it's worth noting that most patients remember very little to nothing right after their dental procedure. Moderate oral sedation may cause you to fall asleep during your dental treatment. But your dentist will surely be able to wake you up with just a gentle nudge. 

     

  • Conscious Intravenous (IV) Sedation. This involves injecting the sedative into your vein. Versed and Fentanyl are two of the most common drugs your doctor will administer for conscious IV sedation. This takes effect almost instantly. Once it has kicked in, you will not be aware of your surroundings and will unlikely remember the treatment afterward. Since you don't completely lose consciousness, your dentist can still wake you up easily if they have to give you instructions. Throughout the procedure, your dentist may make adjustments to your dosage. This depends on how you respond to the drugs. You may be in an extremely relaxed state while under conscious IV sedation. But you won't require assistance to maintain your breathing and cardiovascular functions.

     

  • General Anesthesia. Also known as deep IV sedation, general anesthesia involves drugs like Propofol to put you to sleep. This way, you will be completely unaware of what's happening. An anesthesiologist or any qualified medical professional must be present to administer the sedative and monitor your vital signs. Under deep sedation, your doctor will have difficulty waking you up until the drug has worn off. Most dentists recommend general anesthesia for more complex procedures like bone grafting or implant surgery. 

 




Do you want to learn more about sedation dentistry? Visit Levenson Smile today in Worcester, Massachusetts. Call (508) 731-3940 to schedule your consultation. 

What Is the Right Choice for You — Dental Implants or Dentures?

Are you looking to replace one or more teeth? If you are, you have several options, including implants and dentures. Your choice will depend on several factors, such as the health of your remaining teeth and jawbone, preference, and price.


Implants and dentures have certain pros and cons. Therefore, before you make a choice, you need to consult your dentist. You might also want to consider other options, such as dental bridges. Implants and dentures, ultimately, serve similar purposes, which are:

  • Improving your speech.
  • Helping you chew food more efficiently.
  • Giving you higher self-esteem and reducing your self-consciousness, and
  • Supporting your facial muscles.


That said, there are significant differences and variances between the two solutions. Therefore, it can be quite difficult to determine the best option. Some of the most important factors to consider include:


 

The Procedure

 

  • Dentures

Dentures are prosthetic, removable teeth fitted for your mouth. It does not matter how much jaw bone is present. Your dentist can make dentures to replace a few missing teeth or complete sets to replace all the teeth on your lower or upper jaws.

He or she will first take an impression of your lower and/or upper gums, depending on your specific requirements. Before your dentist makes your dentures, he or she will study your teeth alignment and bite. The aim is to ensure that the length of the dentures allows for optimal and comfortable speech and chewing.

 

  • Implants


If you are looking to get implants, you need to have adequate jawbone for your dentist to place them. These are very popular, especially among people aged between 55 and 64 years.


Your dentist will extract damaged teeth, including the root, and drill a hole into your jawbone. He or she will implant a metal prosthetic root deep into your jawbone. The dentist will then fit a crown at the top of the post and attach an artificial tooth matching the surrounding teeth.


 

Cost


Cost is another important factor to consider. Generally, dental implants tend to be significantly more expensive than dentures, bridges, and other treatments. The cost will vary based on where your dentist practices, in addition to other factors.


 

Maintenance


The procedure for caring for dental implants is the same as that of caring for natural teeth. This means brushing teeth at least twice daily, flossing, and going for regular dental checkups. When it comes to dentures, however, greater daily maintenance is essential for them to remain viable for the long term.


For example, you should avoid wearing them overnight. Instead, soak them in a special cleaning solution or water at night. Also, you need to remove them after eating and brush them, in addition to brushing away any lingering bits of adhesive on your gums.


 

Complications


Although experts consider dental implants an effective and safe solution to missing teeth, they can still present certain complications. Some of these include mechanical problems and infections. Between five and 10 percent of the time, dental implants fail. When it comes to dentures, the most common problems are difficulty staying in place and sores forming on the gums.



To learn more about dental implants and dentures, visit Levenson Smile at our offices in Worcester, Massachusetts. You can also call (508)731-3940 to book an appointment.

Are Porcelain Veneers Right for Me?

If you are wondering how to fix the imperfect parts of your smile, then cosmetic dentistry can help you. There are many cosmetic options available including porcelain veneers. These are thin sheets of porcelain that a dentist places atop your natural teeth. They have a natural look that can change the outlook of your smile.
 

There are many cosmetic effects in choosing porcelain veneers. They can correct the gaps in your teeth and cover the stains on your teeth. Despite their amazing results, veneers are also a worthy investment. Before deciding on whether to have them, there are a few things that you should consider.


 

How Do They Work?

 

Porcelain veneers are slim shell-like things that are put on your teeth. Before application, your dentist trims a thin enamel layer from your teeth. They do the trimming so that your teeth do not feel heavy after the application of the porcelain veneers. Your dentist will take an impression of your dental shapes to customize the porcelain veneers that are ideal for you.


 

Process of Putting Porcelain Veneers

 

When you make the appointment to have porcelain veneers, you will go through several steps. Your dentist will carefully take you through them so do not worry. Your dentist must check your viability from your first appointment. During that appointment, they will evaluate your dental health. In this session, they will guide you towards possible cosmetic dental options available for you.
 

If you decide to take up porcelain veneers, you move to the next step. This involves thorough reviews and advice on how to prepare yourself for what is to come. Among these are you and your dentist’s expectations.


 

Advantages of Porcelain Veneers

 

One great advantage of porcelain veneers is that they improve your looks. Apart from improving your aesthetic outlook, they can change your view of life. They can change how you view yourself, especially how you think others perceive you. Among other benefits include:
 

  • Resistance to staining and breakage
     

  • It blends with your other teeth
     

  • Is symmetrical and natural
     

  • Veneers are non-porous
     

  • Requires little future dental procedures
     

  • A valid investment that can last up to 15 years



 

Who Is a Bad Candidate?

 

Although porcelain veneers are among the least invasive cosmetic procedures, some factors can exclude you from the procedure. Some of these include having a cross- or under-bite, teeth of labial version, or lots of damage to your teeth. Also, habitual grinding of teeth or jaw clenching, current or recurring gum disease and lack of dental hygiene causing a culmination of cavities will exclude you.


 

Cost of the Procedure

 

The cost of having this procedure depends on the condition according to your dentist. Several factors dictate the price of the procedure. These include your specific requirements and the number of teeth that require the procedure.
 

Depending on your location, porcelain veneers may cost between one thousand to two thousand five hundred dollars per tooth. The truth here is that the procedure is costly. Being that it is a cosmetic option, most common health insurance policies do not cover the procedure.




For more information on porcelain veneers, visit Levenson Smile at our office in Worcester, Massachusetts. You can also call (508) 731-3940 to book an appointment today.

How Botox and Cosmetic Dentistry Can Work Together

Many people associate Botox treatments with visits to a cosmetic surgeon or a dermatologist. While this is true in many cases, dental offices are fast becoming a destination for Botox (Botulinum toxin). Today, more dentists are incorporating Botox injections as part of their patient services.

 

Manufacturers derive Botox from the botulinum toxin. Some people worry that this can make them ill. But Botox injections have an established safety record. In fact, medical professionals deliver millions of Botox injections each year. These injections are for therapeutic and cosmetic purposes.

 

Getting Botox treatments at the dentist’s office is not such a stretch. Many people already turn to their dentists for cosmetic procedures. Some of these cosmetic procedures include:
 

  • Professional teeth whitening

  • Crowns and caps

  • Veneers


Botox is another useful tool that dental professionals can provide. By offering Botox, they help patients practice self-care and achieve their desired outcomes.

 


How It Works

 

Dental offices are using Botox injections for both therapeutic and aesthetic reasons. When combined with other cosmetic dental procedures, the effect is a more youthful appearance. The dental professional will inject Botox into the patient in-office. The procedure is quick, and most patients report little to no discomfort.

 

Dental professionals are experts when it comes to the mouth and facial structure. To administer Botox treatments, they also undergo additional certification. Because dental offices focus only on the mouth and face, they are extremely knowledgeable already. They will also consider the patient’s unique smile and desired outcomes.

 


Types of Procedures

 

It’s amazing how much cosmetic dental procedures can improve a person’s well-being. Many people gain so much self-confidence from a dental implant or professional teeth whitening. But many patients are also concerned about age lines and wrinkles around the mouth. There are other conditions that benefit from Botox from both a therapeutic and cosmetic standpoint, such as:

 

  • Gummy smile — a condition where too much gum shows

  • Bruxism — grinding the teeth or clenching the jaw, especially at night

  • Uneven lips or an uneven (lopsided) smile

 

Other conditions like chronic jaw clenching also respond well to Botox treatments. The injections can reduce the overly large muscles in the jaw that result from this chronic condition, giving the face a more pleasing jawline.

 

More and more patients are turning to their dentists’ offices for both Botox and dermal filler procedures as part of their cosmetic dentistry journey. These injections last for several months and take very little time to administer.
 

 


Trusting the Experts

 

Botox has a place in the dental professional’s arsenal as both health management and a cosmetic tool. Dentists and their staff are well-qualified experts with excellent training in the oral and facial areas. They can combine this vast knowledge with their training in cosmetic dentistry to help you achieve your best smile.

 



At Levenson Smile in Worcester, Massachusetts, we will work with you to help you put your best face forward. To schedule your appointment, call us at (508) 731-3940 to get started today.

What Happens When Gum Disease Is Left Untreated?

About 85 percent of adults in the U.S. have some sort of gum disease. This is a troubling statistic. Although so many people are dealing with it, you rarely hear much about the condition. Gum disease has many stages, and it is reversible at its earliest stage. This disease is the leading cause of tooth loss. Therefore, it is important to seek treatment as early as possible.

 

What Is Gum Disease?

 

It is a gum infection caused by poor oral hygiene. When you let plaque form and harden on your teeth, periodontal disease may develop. You may not experience symptoms, and the disease can go unnoticed for a long time, or until you go for an oral exam. Left untreated, gum disease can lead to tooth loss and damage to the jaw. Some of the symptoms of gum disease include:

 

  • Persistent bad breath
     

  • Swollen, tender, and red gums
     

  • A change in bite
     

  • Mouth sores
     

  • Puss between teeth and gums
     

  • Bleeding while flossing and brushing
     

  • Separating or loose teeth
     

  • Receding gums

     

How Gum Disease Develops

 

The progression of this disease starts with tartar and plaque buildup, which releases toxins that infect the bone structure and gums. This results in chronic inflammation and tooth loss. The beginning of infection is usually painless, which is why younger patients rarely show signs of gum disease. Symptoms tend to become more prevalent when people are in their 30s to 40s.

 

Periodontal disease or gum disease starts as an inflammation of gums or gingivitis. Sadly, gum disease requires lifelong care, and it can even trigger other life-threatening conditions if left untreated. These include:

 

Heart Disease

 

One of your body’s worst enemies is chronic inflammation. When your body starts to attack both healthy and unhealthy cells, it becomes a big problem. This is why doctors link gum disease to heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, you are three times more likely to develop heart disease if you have poor dental hygiene.

 

Gum disease can have a negative effect on your blood pressure, especially if you are hypertensive. It can also disrupt the effects of various hypertension medications. Researchers discovered that this disease can increase a person’s risk for heart attack by 49 percent. Fortunately, treatment of gum disease can decrease your blood pressure.

 

Diabetes

 

In the presence of sugar, bacteria will thrive. If you have high glucose levels in your body, it will help bacteria to spread. These germs can attack your gums and teeth, leading to gingivitis. Gum disease, on the other hand, increases the levels of blood sugar in your body, which can increase your likelihood of developing Type-2 diabetes.

 

Rheumatoid Arthritis

 

Certain bacteria are common in both rheumatoid arthritis and gum disease patients. The periodontal disease triggers the inflammatory autoimmune response, which is your body’s defense system. It causes the immune system proteins to become more active, which can lead to joint inflammation. Other conditions that can result from untreated gum disease include Alzheimer’s disease and pneumonia.

 

To learn more about gum disease, contact Levenson Smile in Worcester, Massachusetts at (508) 731-3940 to schedule an appointment today.

What Results Can I Expect After Professional Teeth Whitening?

Teeth whitening is one of the fastest ways to improve your smile. Over time, your teeth may get discolored no matter how many times you brush your teeth. Your teeth may discolor due to smoking, medications, or eating certain foods and drinks.

 

Professional teeth whitening is a one-day procedure that takes only a few hours. With a good and experienced dentist, you can have the best results within no time. If you are considering undergoing the whitening procedure, you probably have a few questions. Here are some of the frequently asked questions to help you understand what to expect from teeth whitening.

 

How Long Can You Wait to See the Results?


You should see the results immediately after the treatment. If you had brownish stains, they could be quite hard to remove compared to yellow stains. But, you should see a difference immediately after the procedure. You may have to go through several treatment sessions before you get your desired results.

 

How Long Do the Results Last?


Teeth whitening is not a permanent treatment. But, if you take good care of your teeth, the results might last for about two to three years. Some of the major causes of tooth discoloration include drinks such as coffee and tea, smoking, and certain medications. If you can avoid these, then you can prolong the results.

 

For your results to last longer, you need to visit your dentist for checkups and cleanings. Your dentist can recommend the best toothbrush and toothpaste to use for better results. You can also request your doctor to give you a home whitening kit to help you between the visits.

 

Should You Expect Any Side Effects?


After the teeth whitening process, you might experience some discomfort but only for a while. Your teeth may get heightened sensitivity that is mainly caused by hydrogen peroxide used to remove plaque. You might feel sharp pains in your gums, but that should only last a day or two. You can avoid hot or cold foods after the treatment to reduce the sensitivity.

 

If you had sensitivity issues before the procedure, you should inform your dentist to use a kit with a lesser dosage of hydrogen peroxide. Also, you can get a home whitening kit instead of going for professional teeth whitening.

 

Also, you should expect some irritation on your gums. That is if the whitening solution spills or gets into contact with your gum tissues. An experienced dentist should have minimal gum exposure to the solution.

 

Is Whitening Teeth Harmful to Your Enamel?


Your enamel provides support and protects your teeth from decay. Teeth whitening cannot damage your enamel. If anything, you are likely to harm your teeth more by brushing incorrectly than having your teeth whitened. So, teeth whitening should not worry you. It is a safe process.

 

Learn more about professional teeth whitening services, contact Levenson Smile in Worcester, MA at (508) 731-3940 to book an appointment.

What Results Can I Expect After Professional Teeth Whitening?

Teeth whitening is one of the fastest ways to improve your smile. Over time, your teeth may get discolored no matter how many times you brush your teeth. Your teeth may discolor due to smoking, medications, or eating certain foods and drinks.

 

Professional teeth whitening is a one-day procedure that takes only a few hours. With a good and experienced dentist, you can have the best results within no time. If you are considering undergoing the whitening procedure, you probably have a few questions. Here are some of the frequently asked questions to help you understand what to expect from teeth whitening.

 

How Long Can You Wait to See the Results?

 

You should see the results immediately after the treatment. If you had brownish stains, they could be quite hard to remove compared to yellow stains. But, you should see a difference immediately after the procedure. You may have to go through several treatment sessions before you get your desired results.

 

How Long Do the Results Last?

 

Teeth whitening is not a permanent treatment. But, if you take good care of your teeth, the results might last for about two to three years. Some of the major causes of tooth discoloration include drinks such as coffee and tea, smoking, and certain medications. If you can avoid these, then you can prolong the results.

 

For your results to last longer, you need to visit your dentist for checkups and cleanings. Your dentist can recommend the best toothbrush and toothpaste to use for better results. You can also request your doctor to give you a home whitening kit to help you between the visits.

 

Should You Expect Any Side Effects?

 

After the teeth whitening process, you might experience some discomfort but only for a while. Your teeth may get heightened sensitivity that is mainly caused by hydrogen peroxide used to remove plaque. You might feel sharp pains in your gums, but that should only last a day or two. You can avoid hot or cold foods after the treatment to reduce the sensitivity.

 

If you had sensitivity issues before the procedure, you should inform your dentist to use a kit with a lesser dosage of hydrogen peroxide. Also, you can get a home whitening kit instead of going for professional teeth whitening.

 

Also, you should expect some irritation on your gums. That is if the whitening solution spills or gets into contact with your gum tissues. An experienced dentist should have minimal gum exposure to the solution.

 

Is Whitening Teeth Harmful to Your Enamel?

 

Your enamel provides support and protects your teeth from decay. Teeth whitening cannot damage your enamel. If anything, you are likely to harm your teeth more by brushing incorrectly than having your teeth whitened. So, teeth whitening should not worry you. It is a safe process.

 

Learn more about professional teeth whitening services, contact Levenson Smile in Worcester, MA at (508) 731-3940 to book an appointment.

Tips for a Healthy Mouth in the New Year

Cheers! Here’s to a New Year! Here’s to a New You! Well, you may not be new, but your focus this year is sharper and renewed. You have resolutions you hope to achieve, and one of them, hopefully, is to lead a healthier life. Part of having a healthy body is to have a healthy mouth.

 

Luckily, it’s not difficult to keep your mouth healthy. The following tips can help:

 

1. Maintain a Healthy Diet

 

Among the essential steps toward better oral health is to watch what you put in your mouth. Eat vegetables and fruits in plenty. They boost your immunity and help to clean your mouth. If your immunity decreased, you would be prone to oral diseases like periodontal disease and others. Also, fruits and veggies like apples, carrots, and celery help scrape off plaque from your teeth surfaces, reducing bacteria occurrence.

 

2. Brush Twice in a Day

 

You must brush your teeth every day, if possible, after meals. Get yourself a good toothpaste and toothbrush. If you’re not too sure about what to use, ask your dentist to recommend some.

 

After a meal, take about 30 minutes, then brush. Some foods contain acids that weaken the enamel. Brushing too soon can cause corrosion. Also, you could push any lingering acidity in your mouth further into the dentin and enamel.

 

3. Quit Smoking

 

If you smoke, quit today. Smoking has detrimental consequences for your gums, teeth, and entire body. Smoking increases your risk of developing gum disease, gum recession, tooth discoloration, and cavities. You also increase your likelihood of developing cancers of the mouth and lungs. So, stop smoking early in the year for the sake of your teeth and general health.

 

4. Limit Your Sugar Intake

 

Reduce the amount of sugar you take because bacteria thrive on it. When you fail to clean some sugar off your teeth, bacteria in your mouth feed on it and produce acids. The combination of acids, food particles, bacteria, and saliva is what forms plaque. Plague forms a coating on the surface of your teeth, and the acids start to eat away the enamel slowly. Once you have lacerations in the enamel, your teeth can get cavities and begin to decay. So, reduce your sugar intake to as little as possible. Swap your sugary foods and drinks with the sugar-free kind.

 

5. Drink More Water

 

Many people are lovers of coffee, teas, and sodas. They end up drinking several cups a day and little to no water. But, these drinks contain some level of acidity that erodes your enamel and stains your teeth. So, cut back on soda, coffee, and tea, and replace them with water. Water cleans your mouth and your body system. This year resolve to drink more water.

 

6. Get Regular Dental Checkups

 

The recommended number of times to see a dentist in a year is twice a year. Your dentist examines your teeth for possible issues and treats them early before they become significant. Dental hygiene appointments are also helpful because you get to have your teeth and gums professionally cleaned.

 

Maintaining a healthy mouth is not too complicated. You only have to adjust a few things and make a commitment to uphold the habits that boost your oral health. Start today, and you will see some significant improvement by the end of the year.

 

Find out more ways to keep your mouth healthy in the new year, contact Levenson Smile in Worcester, MA at (508) 731-3940 to request an appointment.

Dental Implant Surgery Recovery


Dental implants are one of the most popular types of tooth replacement solutions. Dental implants are unrivalled in terms of stability and durability. Dental implants don’t rely on healthy natural teeth to support them. Instead, they have an artificial root which is created using a biocompatible titanium post. This post is surgically implanted into the jawbone. Since bone regenerates, it will heal around the implant post to secure it permanently into the structure. This process takes a few months, after which time a custom crown can be used to replace the visible element of the tooth and this is attached to the implant post.

 

Dental implants require patients to undergo surgery, which necessitates preparation and a recovery period while their mouth heals. Here’s everything that you need to know about what to expect from dental implant surgery recovery.


You may need to wait for the anesthetic and any sedation to wear off


Dental implant surgery is usually carried out using local anesthetic, although in some cases patients may be given sedation too. Depending on what sedation is used, you may need to allow yourself some time after the procedure and may need someone to drive you home and stay with you. The anesthetic may take several hours to wear off and during this time you will need to avoid drinking hot drinks and eating anything so that you don’t inadvertently injure your mouth.


You’ll probably be in some discomfort


Patients will need to prepare for some slight discomfort following their dental implant surgery. Most patients find that over the counter pain medications are enough to keep their discomfort at a tolerable level, but if you do find that you need something stronger, don’t hesitate to speak to your dental implant dentist at Levenson Smile in Worcester, MA. Make sure to take your pain medication as directed for it to be as effective as possible.


You won’t be able to eat your usual diet for a few days


While you probably won’t feel like eating right away and won’t be able to until the anesthetic has worn off, you won’t be able to eat your usual diet of food for at least a few days either. You’ll need to take special care not to disrupt your sutures and your mouth may be slightly swollen and sore, so you will be advised to stick to a soft diet for at least the first 3 or 4 days after surgery, perhaps longer. Your dental implant dentist in Worcester, MA will be able to advise you what you should eat, which could include foods like mashed potatoes, soup, yogurt, and smoothies.


Your mouth may be swollen too


Inflammation and swelling are a natural reaction to any surgery and most often occurs around the sites where incisions have been made. You may wish to hold a cold compress against your face near the incision sites to help counteract swelling, which may also help to reduce discomfort. This should resolve itself within a week or so of your surgery, but if you have any concerns, don’t wait to speak to your dental implant dentist.


Schedule some time off work


While you may feel capable of returning to work fairly quickly, adequate rest and recovery is essential to ensure you heal and recover with minimal complications. Plan to take at least a few days away from work so that you can enjoy some downtime and kickstart the healing process.


Follow your dental implant dentist’s advice


You’ll be issued with a set of very specific post-surgery instructions to follow. These will refer to how to care for your mouth, how to clean around the surgical sites and what you should and shouldn’t do after your dental implant surgery. Make sure that you follow these exactly as directed as these will help to minimize your risk of complications.

 

 

If you would like more information about what to expect from dental implant surgery recovery, don’t hesitate to contact our team at Levenson Smile by calling (508) 731-3940.

What Causes TMJ to Flare Up?


Each time you breathe, swallow, talk, and chew, you’re using your temporomandibular joint (TMJ). It’s formed by the articulation of the jawbone and the temporal bone of your skull. The TMJ allows the opening, closing, and side to side movements of your mouth. Some activities and habits can cause or exacerbate jaw pain and dysfunction. This painful condition is known as TMJ disorder, which occurs when your jaw joints become misaligned. Here are the common causes of TMJ flare-up:


Eating Hard Food. 

Food items that are too hard to bite or chew can put more pressure on your jaw. This can trigger a TMJ flare-up. It’s best to take small bites and chew slowly. Chop whole foods, and peel and cut fruits and vegetables into bite-size pieces. Opt for moist foods. Also, use sauces or gravies to help moisten foods.


Physical Injury. 

Trauma can also cause TMJ flare-up. Rear-end collisions can result in sudden impact, causing the head to snap in multiple directions. This quick, forced movement can tear the muscles and supporting ligaments within the TMJ. Other sources of trauma include fights that involve a blow to the jaw, fall, and injuries from contact sports, such as football or hockey.


Post-Dentist Appointment. 

TMJ disorder can also be triggered after dental work. It could happen because of how your jaw is positioned during a procedure or the length of time you had to keep your jaw open. While the effects can vary from one patient to another, it’s best to let your dentist in Worcester, MA know if you are experiencing any strain or discomfort during your appointment.


High-Stress Levels. 

Stress and emotional factors contribute to TMJ flare-up. Those who have bruxism or a tendency to grind their teeth or clench their jaw excessively are more at risk of experiencing TMJ disorder because of anxiety. When people are stressed out, some clench their jaws and put more pressure on them. People with bruxism tend to clench their jaws for far longer during the day or even at night. This behavior can aggravate the joints causing TMJ.


Other Potential Causes. 

​​​​​​​Certain habits exacerbate jaw pain and dysfunction. These include constant nail-biting and biting on the back of a pen or other objects. Chewing on unyielding non-food items can cause fatigue on your joint and its surrounding muscles. Other potential causes include misaligned teeth, arthritis affecting the TMJ, tumors, and genetics. Prior surgery in the jawbone or surrounding structures can also be a factor.


Symptoms of a Flare-Up

A TMJ flare-up occurs when you experience new symptoms or your existing symptoms increase in severity all of a sudden. Some of the common signs of a flare-up include jaw pain, throbbing headaches, ear pain, and ringing in the ears. TMJ flare-up may also be indicated by a popping or clicking of your jaw each time you move it to eat or talk and muscle spasms, such as a twitching eye, cheek, or neck. Facial swelling and a tight jaw are also common. So is lockjaw, which happens when you cannot move your jaw until a professional realigns the joint.

 

Are you experiencing any of these symptoms? At Levenson Smile, we can help keep this painful condition from wreaking havoc on your quality of life. Call our office in Worcester, today at (508) 731-3940 to make an appointment.

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