Posts for: April, 2015
For some time now, you’ve noticed things about your teeth and gums — your overall smile — that you would like to change. But you’re in unfamiliar territory: you don’t know where to begin.
Here, then, are a few basic cosmetic dentistry questions you should ask yourself and us to get you moving in the right direction.
Am I a candidate for cosmetic dentistry? Invariably, the answer is yes — there’s always a way to enhance your appearance, starting with basic hygiene or whitening. But whether you’re a candidate for a particular procedure will depend on a full examination of your mouth — a “smile analysis” — to assess its current condition and needs, and what cosmetic options would best fit those needs.
Are my expectations realistic? That will first depend on what we find with your smile analysis. It will, however, also include studying the bigger picture — how certain changes might affect not only your smile but your overall facial appearance. Your wants and desires are extremely important in this process, but they should also be balanced with a dose of reality — some things may not be in your best interest health-wise to undertake, or are not in keeping with basic aesthetic principles of beauty.
Will I be able to have an idea beforehand how the changes will look? We’ve come a long way in providing patients ways to preview their new smile before undertaking a procedure. It’s often possible to “see” your proposed smile through computer simulation, or in some cases “test drive” it with temporary (provisional) crowns or veneers. For restorations involving porcelain crowns, it may be possible to take your input and fine-tune the shape and color of the permanent crown before it’s completed.
What will it cost? This will depend on the treatment plan we develop. Some treatments like teeth whitening are relatively inexpensive, while procedures like dental implants or orthodontics are major investments. You should also consider the costs to your time — some treatments require only a single visit, while others may take months or even years to complete. Depending on your financial means and comfort level, cost will need to be factored into the final plan, as well as your expectations.
If you would like more information on cosmetic dentistry, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Cosmetic Dentistry: A Time for a Change.”
When you think of the term TMJ you probably think of a disorder that causes pain in the jaw. But the term TMJ actually simply refers to a hinged joint in the jaw: the temporomandibular joint. This is the joint that allows your jaw to move in order to chew and speak. When people experience pain and suffering related to the temporomandibular joint, that condition is known as TMD or temporomandibular joint disorder. Here are some more facts about TMJ/TMD.
A temporomandibular joint disorder tends to affect women ages 20 to 40, though it can affect anyone at any age range. The cause of TMD is not always understood, but your Turlock CA dentist can help you uncover behaviors or injuries that may relate to the disorder.
Symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorder include:
- Facial fatigue/tiredness
- Tenderness around the jaw, ears, neck, shoulders
- Pain around the jaw, ears, and neck
- Pain and discomfort in the shoulders
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing
- Limited jaw movement
- Clicking or popping in the jaw
- Swelling in the jaw
If you experience these or similar symptoms, contact your dentist right away for an evaluation. You may want to see a dentist who specializes in treating TMJ disorder as not all dentists necessarily offer this service. Dr. Cesar Acosta at Acosta Family Dentistry in Turlock, CA treats TMJ/TMD.
When you see your dentist about chronic jaw pain, they may inquire whether you’ve had any recent head injuries including whiplash, perhaps from a car accident or a fall. TMJ/TMD can also be caused by grinding or clenching of the teeth, jaw dislocation, or even stress.
Even though experts may not always be able to pinpoint the exact cause of TMD, there are treatments available to help relieve pain and discomfort. If you experience these symptoms, seek professional care as early as possible to limit your discomfort. If you believe you may have TMJ disorder, schedule an appointment with your Turlock, CA dentist Dr. Acosta today to find out how treatment can help you.