Your Smile Dental Care blog


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Medications and YOUR SMILE

  • Are Medications Ruining YOUR SMILE?

We are seeing a growing number of patients that are experiencing dryness of their mouths and a number of dental issues associated with this dryness.

In fact, some dryness of the mouth can be so severe that it is not just uncomfortable, it becomes very painful. Additionally, there are times when the throat is so parched, that a person can’t even swallow.

The Importance of Saliva

You may not have given much thought about saliva, other than the fact that the mouth is moistened by it, but the production of saliva is an important process in the mouth. It not only moistens, but it helps control the levels of  bacteria and fungi in our mouths, aids in chewing, tasting and digestion, cleans, protects and remineralizes teeth, and neutralizes our mouth after acid attacks.

Naturally, when a patient complains about a decrease in the quality and quantity of their saliva, we become concerned.

The condition of persistent dry mouth is called Xerostomia and it is a common side effect of many of the prescription and non-prescription medications we may be taking as well as a manifestation of certain diseases such as Aids, anemia, stroke, hypertension, cystic fibrosis, arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, cancer, diabetes and a condition called Sjogren’s syndrome.

Your saliva output can also be damaged by medical treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy, smoking/tobacco products, menopause and dehydration from illnesses, bulimia, excessive sweating, diarrhea, blood loss and burns.

Because our bodies are about 60% water, even a small drop in hydration can affect us immediately, let alone long term. There are over 500 medications that list dry mouth as a possible side effect.

Check out the Colgate Oral Care webpage where the classes of prescription drugs that affect the salivary glands are listed.

If you suspect that you are experiencing dry mouth, speak to your family physician and even your pharmacist as soon as possible. They can, hopefully, find a solution that is right for you.

As dentists, we can recommend that you:

  • Restore any dental issues that have arisen due to dry mouth.
  • Ensure that you are brushing at least 3 times/day and flossing before bed.
  • Limiting your meals to 3-4/day and spacing them out 4-5 hours apart
  • Reduce the amount of sugar you intake
  • Ask your doctor to suggest the vitamins supplements that are right just for you
  • Choose a product from your local pharmacy for help with dry mouth. This includes, sprays, rinses and special toothpastes. You may have to try a few until you find one that works best for you.
  • Chew sugar-less gum or suck on sugar-free lozenges
  • Drink more water
  • Using a humidifier in your bedroom at night
  • Use a fluoride rinse at bedtime
  • If you use a mouth rinse choose an alcohol/peroxide-free product
  • Avoid weather and activity that causes excessive sweating
  • Use a nasal spray if you are experiencing sinusitis
  • Avoid tobacco, alcohol, caffeine, carbonated beverages and highly acidic juices
  • Avoid dry food such as crackers and toast
  • Avoid very salty foods

Unfortunately, if dryness of the mouth persists and is left unchecked, it can lead to tooth decay, mouth sores and gum problems. If you would like more information about dry mouth, please follow the link below:

 

 

Yours in Better Dental Health,
The Your Smile Dental Care team
(905) 576-4537
(416) 783-3533
www.yoursmiledentalcare.com


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Botox and TMJ?

When Laughing Hurts…

Are you experiencing jaw pain, headaches, or can hear/feel clicking sounds when you open your mouth? Does your jaw, “pop or lock up?

You may have a condition that is commonly referred to as TMJ – Temporal Mandibular Joint. While the TMJ is an actual anatomical part of your head, this acronym has become an umbrella term to describe a painful dysfunction of area.

The TMJ is the area where your lower jaw fits or mates with the temporal bone of your skull. It acts like a sliding hinge allowing you to open and close your mouth and move it side to side. This area is a complex structure of ligaments, muscle, joint capsule, articular disc and the actual 2 bone surfaces: the temporal bone and mandible.

Impairment of the TMJ can occur with osteoarthritis, injury, wear, misaligned bite, bruxism (teeth grinding/clenching) and even poor posture. It can involve the muscles surrounding the bones, the joint itself or both. Pain and discomfort can be a temporary problem or can last many years.

Signs and Symptoms can include:

  • Sore jaws
  • Toothaches
  • Headaches
  • Earaches
  • Dizziness/Vertigo
  • Neck/Shoulder pain
  • Trouble chewing
  • Jaw thrusting
  • Popping, clicking or grating feeling/sound in joint
  • Facial swelling
  • Jaw locks up or gets stuck when opening or closing mouth.
  • Tinnitus  (ringing in ears)

 

Diagnosis

If you suspect that you may have a TMJ issue bring it to the attention of your dentist right away. Your dentist will perform a clinical exam of your dental structures and face, check for abnormal movements of the jaw, assess your bite, listen for sounds in the TMJ area, and discuss your health history.

For some patients, because the condition is minor, treatment may be as simple as a bite agjustment or a bite guard to place on the teeth into a more correct position and lessen the effects of bruxism. For others, it may involve further testing such as x-rays, MRI, and/or a CT scan. A referral to a Specialist may also become necessary when pinpointing the exact source of TMJ problems is difficult to determine.

Oftentimes, dealing with TMJ issues involves a multi-phased approach starting with minor adjustments and treatments, and if necessary, increasing in levels of intervention. In conjunction with any treatment recommendations, your dentist may also recommend the use of muscle relaxants, anti-anxiety and/or anti-inflammatory medication, jaw exercise and the use of hot/cold compresses

What Can You Do?

In the meantime, there are some things you can do to help alleviate your discomfort before, during and after treatment:

  • Switch to softer foods
  • Avoid opening your mouth very wide including yawning, yelling and singing
  • Keeping chewing to a minimum
  • Avoid gum chewing
  • Gently massage the jaw, TMJ and temple to stimulate circulation, relax the muscles and relieve discomfort and tightness.
  • Practice good posture. You can buy a simple posture brace to help.

Give your jaw at rest by:

  • Keeping your teeth slightly apart. Separating your teeth with your tongue can be helpful.
  • Avoid clenching/grinding movements (often subconscious habit, but try to be more aware)
  • Avoid resting your head/chin on your hand to relieve pressure on your jaw.

BOTOX: The alternative treatment for TMJ

 

TMJ disorder can be a very debilitating condition, but there is hope. Oftentimes, it is triggered by muscle spasms and bruxism which tends to be a stress response. Modern dentistry is now turning to what is commonly thought to be just a cosmetic enhancement – Botox.

Botox is now used therapeutically in many medically compromised patients. For TMJ issues, it is used as a non-surgical approach to weaken the muscle involved with jaw movement to put an end to spasms. This, in turn, allows the entire anatomy associated with TMJ disorder to get the rest and healing it needs. It is usually repeated every 3-4 months with the hope, that over time, inflammation will subside and the anatomy will get the rest and healing it needs to alleviate the condition or any contributing, destructive habits.

Our friendly staff are happy to answer any questions you have about your TMJ problem or any other dental issue you may be experiencing. With proper care, you need not suffer any longer.

 

 

Yours in Better Dental Health,
Your Smile Dental Care Team 
(905) 576-4537
(416)783-3533
www.yoursmiledentalcare.com