Do you have any advice for frequent headaches and jaw pain? You could try an NTI-appliance, which has been shown to reduce the frequency of headaches and jaw pain drastically when worn regularly. NTI-appliances are mouth guards that you wear while you’re sleeping. NTI-appliances have been proven to treat bruxism (night grinding) and TMJ (jaw joint pain) disorders with a simple but revolutionary, small acrylic mouthpiece.
How does NTI work? Bruxism and TMJ disorders result from a jaw muscle/nerve malfunction. The NTI mouthpiece interrupts the involuntary tug-of-war between the jaw’s side and temporal muscles, reducing clenching intensity by one-third, thus reducing the negative impulses transmitted by nerves. Furthermore, the device causes muscles to relax in a stable position so that the hyperactive malfunctioning muscles can rest. Often this eliminates bruxism-related headaches and various kinds of TMJ pain. Some patients experience relief after only one night, while others find comfort after a few weeks of wearing the NTI-appliance.
How often should I have a checkup? The American Academy of Dentistry recommends that the average healthy adult should make an appointment to see a dentist every six months. We usually recommend one exam and one cleaning for our patients twice a year, and once a year dental x-rays to check for cavities between the teeth. However if you have been diagnosed with gum disease (periodontal disease), you may require 3-4 cleanings per year to clean the areas below the gums that daily cleaning (brushing and flossing) can’t reach.
What causes bad breath and how can I prevent it? Bad breath or halitosis can be caused by a variety of dental problems, such as decay or periodontal disease. However, if your general dental health is good and you still have bad breath we recommend that you brush and floss twice-daily and clean your tongue at least daily. There are also specially designed products, such as BreathRx which breaks down odor causing sulfur bonds that may cause bad breath. Finally, it may be a systemic or internal problem such as sinus infection or a gastrointestinal problem and for that we would recommend a visit to your family physician.
Do I really have to floss daily? There is significant research that shows that daily brushing and flossing can increase longevity of life by up to ten years. After you eat, you can get bits of food and other debris caught in between your teeth. Even if you brush daily, you may have food, debris and bacteria growing in the areas of your teeth you cannot easily reach with a tooth brush. If left untreated, this bacteria can thrive, plaque can form, and infection can result. This can put a damper on your immune system, and over time take a serious toll. When you floss, you clear out those hard-to-reach areas of food and bacteria, leaving your teeth cleaner and your breath fresher. The moral of the story is to brush and floss often, preferably after every meal, in order to keep your teeth free of food, debris and bacteria.
Visiting the dentist is stressful for me. Is there anything you can do to help me relax? You might be a good candidate for Oral Sedation Dentistry. At Huffman Family Dentistry, we never want you to fear the dentist. Dentists have received a bad rap in previous years, but we’d like to turn that around. Our dentists are trained and educated in the most advanced techniques and procedures, and each one of those procedures is designed with optimum comfort in mind. Ask us about oral sedation dentistry to see if it's right for you! Whether you are coming in for a routine cleaning, a dental implant or veneers, we’ll make sure you are completely comfortable from beginning to end. And our care for you and your well being doesn’t just end when your appointment is over. We routinely follow up with you to make sure that you are progressing normally after the procedure is completed. At Huffman Family Dentistry, we want you to know that you and your family are always in good hands.