Westchester Oral Surgery March 2019

ManageYour JawPain Tips for Easing the Symptoms of TMD

symptoms than splints. A physical therapist can show you similar exercises that will reduce your TMJ pain. The effectiveness of surgical treatments to address TMJ disorders is still unclear, so talk to your dentist or medical provider to see what kinds of less invasive treatments are available. While there is such a thing as a TMJ specialist, there are many treatments that come from varying schools of thought and are not always based on scientific evidence. Working with your general dentist may be just as effective for you. Some patients have found relief through the TruDenta treatment program, which combines massage therapy, cold laser therapy, microcurrents, and ultrasound to treat the symptoms of TMD. Others have found acupuncture and other forms of alternative medicine to be effective.

It’s a strange feeling for anyone who’s experienced it: waking up to find that your jaw is extremely sore, maybe even to the point where you can’t fully open or close your mouth. Sufferers report various degrees of discomfort, but anyone who knows how it feels agrees that temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain hurts. When it becomes chronic, it is referred to as temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). There are still no definitive answers as to what causes TMJ, though doctors believe stress, anxiety, bruxism (an unconscious grinding of the teeth), and joint imbalances may all contribute. Most cases last a fewweeks, but if you suffer from TMJ for longer than that, you should consult your dentist or physician. If you’re waking up with jaw pain, there are a few things you can do to manage the symptoms at home. Here are some suggestions from the Temporomandibular Joint

Association (TMJA) and the Mayo Clinic:

Apply a moist heat compress to the jaw to reduce pain and increase function. ● Apply an ice pack to ease the pain and reduce inflammation (wrap it with a thin cloth to keep it from touching the skin).

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● Try sleeping on your side.

● Relax the jaw by consciously unclenching and taking deep breaths.

● Eat soft foods.

Some medical professionals prescribe an oral splint to stabilize the jaw and reduce pain. But in one recent clinical trial at the Tokyo Medical and Dental

Given all the options, the first step to address your jaw pain is to educate yourself so you can make the TMJ treatment decision that is right for you.

University, they found that therapeutic jaw

exercises helped patients recover faster from TMD

The Evolving Art of Dentures A BITE OF HISTORY M odern dental care works hard to help patients keep their natural teeth, but for most of human history, losing

In Japan, dental technology was making huge strides. In the 16th century, Japanese doctors invented wooden dentures, which were made by making an impression of a person’s teeth using beeswax. Then an artisan would use the impression to carve a new set of teeth out of wood. Soft beeswax would then be used to keep the dentures in place. This was an incredibly advanced technique for the time, one that would not be replicated in the west for another 200 years. School children across America can tell you that the most famous wooden dentures in history belonged to President George Washington himself. Except this legend is as false as the president’s teeth themselves. Although our first president did lose all but one of his adult teeth before taking office, none of the false teeth he used were made of wood. They were made of ivory, gold, lead, and, in some cases, even other human teeth.

The myth of Washington’s wooden chompers likely came about due to this Founding Father’s love of wine. Washington’s ivory dentures became stained overtime, until they looked almost wooden in appearance. Unfortunately, it would be a couple hundred years before dentists could start offering advanced whitening techniques. Much like our teeth whitening technology, dentures have come a long way since Washington’s day. Porcelain dentures would soon come into fashion, followed by dentures made out of Vulcanite in the 1850s, and acrylic resin in the mid-20th century. Today, there are numerous materials available to craft dentures. And instead of struggling with the discomfort of removable dentures, patients now have the option to enjoy the stability of fixed implant dentures. Quite the improvement over wolf teeth.

adult teeth seemed like an inevitability. It’s no wonder our ancestors got a little creative when it came to making replacements. The oldest known dentures date back to 2500 B.C. and were found in Mexico. Excavators found a prosthetic device made of what they suspect are wolf teeth. On the other side of the world, dentures wouldn’t become popular until around 700 B.C., when the Etruscans began making dentures out of human and animal teeth, fastening them together with gold bands. These early dentures deteriorated quickly but were easy to

make. This technique would be borrowed by the Romans in the 5th century B.C. and remain popular in Europe until the 18th century.

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