TMJ Awareness Month: What You Need to Know

TMJ Awareness Month - Dr. Brian Leeson

TMJ Awareness Month: What You Need to Know 2021

We at 4th Street Family Dentistry, Dentist in St. Petersburg FL, are happy to answer some of the most common questions patients have about TMJ issues in honor of TMJ Awareness Month this November. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, roughly 10 million Americans are affected by this disorder. The next sections go through the essentials of TMJ/TMD.

What is TMJ?

The TMJ, or temporomandibular joint, works like a hinge that connects your jawbone to the skull. You can find this ball and socket joint on each side of your head. The joint has an intervening disc, and collectively, they make it possible for you to chew, swallow, and speak.

What are TMJ disorders?

TMJ disorders are also referred to as temporomandibular disorders (TMD). Dr. Brian Leeson, the family dentist in St. Petersburg, FL, explains that TMJ disorders refer to a group of symptoms related to defects in the TMJ. These symptoms normally include pain in and around the temporomandibular joint. TMD affects the jaw muscles and other structures around the TMJ.

What are the Symptoms of TMJ disorders?

The best dentist in Shreveport, LA, Dr. Ben Kacos, points out that the symptoms of TMJ disorders vary widely, but the following are the most common;

  • Pain in the jaw muscles or TMJ
  • Joint sounds, such as popping or clicking
  • Limitations in the range of movement of your jaw
  • Tension in your neck or face
  • Headaches, especially around your temples
  • Pain or difficulty while you chew

What Causes TMJ Disorders?

If you search for a “St. Pete dentist near me” and talk to that professional, they will tell you that it is sometimes difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of temporomandibular disorders. 

Some of the possible causes of TMD are listed below:

  • Stress
  • Jaw dislocation
  • Arthritis
  • Genetics
  • Jaw or tooth alignment problems 
  • Teeth grinding or clenching 
  • Injuries affecting the side of your face or jaw joints.

What are the Available Treatment Options for TMD?

You need to see a family dentist in St. Petersburg, FL, for a proper diagnosis before appropriate treatment can be recommended. Since most TMJ disorders are self-limiting, Dr. Brian Leeson is likely to recommend a conservative treatment option, such as modifying your diet (eating softer foods, for example), avoiding repetitive functions (chewing gum or ice, for example), alleviating pain by using a heat pack, and practicing techniques aimed at making you relax your jaw muscles (meditation and biofeedback, for example). Also, Dr. Kim, Dentist Lexington KY, adds that your dentist can also prescribe medications. These include anti-anxiety drugs, muscle relaxants, analgesics, and anti-inflammatory drugs.

Sometimes, your emergency dentist in St. Petersburg, FL, may find it necessary to recommend a dental appliance such as a bite plate or night guard to limit how much you clench or grind your teeth. Surgery (arthroscopy and arthrocentesis, for example) are last-resort options when Dr. Brian Leeson determines that none of the conservative measures highlighted above will be of any help, or when they have been tried, and symptoms worsen or persist.

When Should One See a Dentist in St. Pete?

If you experience persistent jaw pain around the TMJ or have difficulties while opening or closing your jaw, see a dentist immediately. Contact 4th Street Family Dentistry, and Dr. Leeson will examine you and discuss the most appropriate treatment options to restore normalcy to the way your TMJ works.

Can 4th Street Family Dentistry Help with TMD?

Yes, Dr. Brian Leeson and our entire team have extensive experience treating different dental health conditions, including TMJ disorders. Don’t live another day with TMJ disorders; contact us today and schedule a consultation. We would be honored to help!

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in November 2020 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness. 

Must-Knows About Children’s Oral Health

must knows about children oral health St pete

Must-Knows About Children’s Oral Health

February is National Children’s Oral Health Month! To celebrate, our St. Pete, FL family dentist is sharing oral health tips all month long. Creating good oral health habits at a young age is so important to prevent oral health-related illnesses. The American Dental Association recommends that children visit the dentist every six months after they turn one year old or after their first tooth erupts. On today’s blog, we’re sharing all the must-knows about children’s oral health

Oral Health Tips #1: It’s Not Too Soon To Start Brushing

Many parents are surprised that it’s never too early to start brushing children’s teeth. However, you should handle brushing your infant’s teeth differently than you handle your own. Infant teeth and gum wipes can be used by parents to swab their child’s gums before teeth come in. This gentle practice helps maintain optimal gum health by slowing the development of bacteria in the mouth and tongue. Teeth and gum wines can be found at your local supermarket!  

For brushing, you can start with a soft-bristled baby toothbrush once your child has at least one tooth. Our friend and pediatric dentist Bethlehem GA, Dr. Uyen recommends parent use a small grain-sized dab of fluoride toothpaste and a gentle brush after breakfast and after dinner. 

Oral Health Tips #2: Try Fluoride Toothpaste

It is safer to begin brushing with fluoride toothpaste. Many of our parents grew up with a training toothpaste, something that was ‘healthy when swallowed.’ As soon as your baby gets his or her first tooth, you should start brushing with fluoride. Again, for your infant, use a grain-sized toothpaste dab. About the time the child reaches three, you can then use a pea-sized dab.

Oral Health Tips #3: Visit Your 4th Street Dentist Often

Around the time of his or her 1st birthday, your child should visit our St. Pete dentist, Dr. Leeson. Adults usually ought to visit the dentist twice a year, and the same applies to your children. An oral exam will be performed by a pediatric dentist and a dental history will begin. Are you prone to cavities? Your child might be as well, but if you start early and maintain regular dental appointments, this can help prevent cavities or other dental health issues. 

Oral Health Tips #4: Help Your Child Focus On Their Brushing Technique 

Usually, children are old enough to begin brushing their own teeth between the ages of 3 and 5. Two minutes of brushing with the bristles towards the gums in tiny circles for each tooth is a good rule. This will prevent plaque build up on the surfaces and spaces of your teeth. That means on the top right and left and on the bottom right and left for around 30 seconds each. 2 minutes may seem like a long time, especially for kids who don’t have all their teeth, it might not take a full 2 minutes.

Oral Health Tips #5: Make Flossing On a Regular Basis Fun

Most parents assume that before the permanent teeth come in, children do not need to floss. However, as soon as your teeth meet one another, you can start flossing. No matter how good you wash, when you touch your teeth, there are areas that cannot be reached. Disposable flossers that are intended for little children to perform well. 

4th Street Family Dentistry knows how busy life can get. This year, make you and your child’s oral health a priority. Good dental care is critical for the growth and overall health of a child. If you have any questions or concerns about your family’s oral health, contact our dental office in St. Petersburg, FL.