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Posts for: September, 2015

By Inland Oral Surgery
September 29, 2015
Category: Oral Health
Tags: TMJ  

Mouth and jaw pain can be extremely disheartening. It is very important to be able to speak and eat properly, and when problems arise that make those things difficult, your quality of life can fall drastically. Does your jaw make it difficult to perform everyday tasks? Do you TMJhear a clicking or popping sound when you speak or chew? This could mean you have potentially severe disorder called TMJ, but with help from your Spokane, WA oral surgeon, you can battle TMJ and get back to a pain-free life.

What is TMJ?
TMJ, or Temporomandibular Joint dysfunction, is a condition affecting the joint in the jaw and the muscles surrounding it. Though there are many symptoms of TMJ, the following symptoms are the most common:

  • difficulty chewing
  • locking of the jaw joint
  • difficulty opening or closing the mouth
  • aching pain around the face and ear
  • aching pain and discomfort surrounding the jaw and/or ear
  • clicking or grating sensation while chewing or speaking

How is TMJ treated? 

Effective TMJ treatment can be as easy as over-the-counter drugs like ibuprofen. These can reduce swelling and inflammation, and help relieve pain. Eating different foods that are softer or less sticky can also help in preventing TMJ pain. Hot or cold compresses along the jaw muscles can also be used to alleviate pain. Some sufferers have high levels of stress in their lives. Finding ways to relieve that stress can decrease instances of habitual jaw clenching.

Dental work or night guards may help with TMJ pain by aligning the jaw correctly and helping to form a more natural bite. Therapy such as heat therapy and laser or radio-wave therapy prescribed by your doctor may be beneficial in severe cases. The most severe cases of TMJ require open-joint surgery.

Do you suffer from TMJ pain? Inland Oral Surgery in Spokane, WA can help. Our staff is committed to professional and knowledgable care using the most modern techniques. Call (509) 321-1404 to schedule an appointment today!

By Inland Oral Surgery
September 16, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures

As a member of the best-selling pop group Spice Girls, Mel C (AKA Sporty Spice) enjoyed her share of musical superstardom. At the band’s peak in the Nineties, the young singer’s signature look featured baggy sweatpants, an assortment of tattoos, a nose stud and a gold-capped incisor, front and center in her mouth. Today, Melanie Chisholm is still singing — but now she’s a mom, an amateur triathlete… and that gold tooth is just a memory. Not only that, her smile looks more evenly spaced and whiter than it did when she was referred to as the “tomboy” of the group.

What happened? In our view, it all boils down to changing tastes — plus a little bit of help from dental professionals. As the “wannabe” singer proves, there’s no single standard when it comes to making your teeth look their best. Your own look is unique to you — and your smile can reflect that individuality.

For example, crowns (caps) are substantial coverings that may be placed on teeth when they are being restored. They are available in three types: gold, all-porcelain, or porcelain-fused-to-metal. The latter two are tooth-colored, while the gold is — well, shiny like gold bling. Which one is right for you? In many cases, it’s your choice.

Likewise, dental veneers — wafer-thin shells that can correct cosmetic issues by covering the surface of your teeth — can be made in a variety of shades. Their hues may range from natural ivory to Hollywood white, and everything in between. What’s the best color for you? Only you can say.

Some people opt for a “smile makeover” that uses small irregularities in the spacing and color of teeth to create a more “natural” look. Other folks want a perfectly even, brilliant white smile that dazzles the eye. Still others are looking to match or restore the smile they once had — perhaps even re-creating a signature gap between the teeth. As long as there are no other dental issues involved, the choice is yours.

So if you’re unhappy with your smile — or if you feel it doesn’t reflect the person you “wannabe” — why not talk to us about a smile makeover? Just call our office to schedule a consultation. You can learn more about this topic in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Beautiful Smiles by Design” and “The Impact of a Smile Makeover.”

By Inland Oral Surgery
September 01, 2015
Category: Oral Health

Barley malt, corn syrup, maltodextrin — these and over fifty other label ingredients are all names for refined sugar. Under its various aliases, this sweet carbohydrate is tucked away in three-quarters of packaged foods in the U.S.

Although in recent years the general health effects from too much sugar have gained the spotlight, its effect on dental health has been known for decades. Accumulated sugar in the mouth is a prime food source for bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease.

For both general and oral health, people have been looking to artificial alternatives to satisfy their sweet tooth. But do they have their own issues that can impact overall health? Here is an overview of some of the more popular brands of artificial sweeteners and their effect on health.

Saccharin — One of the most widely used artificial sweeteners, saccharin is often used under the names Sweet’N Low or Sugar Twin in low-calorie foods because it contains no calories. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) there are no associated health risks with consuming saccharin in recommended servings.

Aspartame — used commonly in beverages as Equal or NutraSweet, aspartame is unsuitable for cooking because its chemical structure breaks down under high heat. Although generally safe for consumption, it can affect people with a rare condition known as phenylketonuria that can’t adequately break down its chemicals.

Sucralose — marketed as Splenda, this sweetener is made by chemically altering refined table sugar so the body can’t process it. This may be one reason it has the most recognized natural flavor profile among consumers and is a market leader. It’s stable at high temperatures, so it’s often used in cooked or baked goods.

Stevia/Erythritol — this combination of an extract from the extremely sweet herb stevia and the sugar alcohol erythritol is marketed as Truvia. Unlike other calorie-free artificial sweeteners, this and other alcohol-based sweeteners have a low calorie level due to sugar alcohol’s characteristic of slow and incomplete absorption during digestion.

Xylitol — although all the previously mentioned sweeteners won’t promote bacterial growth like refined sugar, the sugar alcohol xylitol — often added to chewing gum and mints — has an added benefit: it may actually reduce levels of bacteria most likely to cause decay.

If you would like more information on the effect of sweeteners on dental health, 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 “Artificial Sweeteners.”