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Treatment Options for TMD

October 17th, 2018

Temporomandibular dysfunction (TMD) refers to a diverse range of disorders that relate to muscular function in the jaw and face — the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). That could mean difficulty opening your mouth, pain in the jaw or face, or any sort of problem with the jaw joint.

TMD can be difficult to diagnose because of the varied causes. Whatever the case, an accurate diagnosis from Drs. Burk and Flinn helps make treatment as successful as possible.

Most often, jaw problems will resolve themselves within several weeks or months. Surgeries like arthrocentesis, arthroscopy, and open-joint surgery should be a last resort. More conservative and reversible treatments should come first and are in fact the most critical step in the treatment of TMD.

Less invasive treatments like acupuncture and splints can be helpful, but that will depend on your particular case. It’s worth your while to speak with Drs. Burk and Flinn at our Rockville and Olney, MD office to learn about solutions that could work for you.

A combination of treatments will most often produce the greatest relief for TMJ patients. It’s a good idea to avoid activities that overuse the jaws, such as chewing gum or clenching your jaws.

You can be proactive in finding relief for TMD by trying the following remedies at home:

  • Eat soft food: When you eat soft and/or blended food, your jaw gets an opportunity to rest. Avoid chewy and crunchy food, and food that requires you to open your mouth wide, like apples or corn on the cob.
  • Apply moist heat: A hot water bottle wrapped in a moist towel can help reduce symptoms.
  • Apply ice: Applying an ice pack wrapped in a cloth or towel for no longer than 15 minutes may also reduce pain and promote healing.
  • Do jaw exercises: A physical therapist can help identify the exercises that will work for you. Jaw exercises have been shown to be an effective treatment method that can be performed at home.
  • Relaxation: Actively try to relax the muscles of the face and lips, and let your teeth come apart. Many find meditation, yoga, and slow, deep breathing to be helpful for reducing stress and tension.
  • Avoid wide yawns: Keep your fist under your jaw when you feel a yawn coming on, to keep your jaw from opening too widely.

Which mouthwash should you use?

October 10th, 2018

Although using mouthwash is certainly not the equal of brushing and flossing, it does have benefits for your dental hygiene. If you use mouthwash regularly, you should find out which type is best suited for your needs. Here are some things to think about the next time you’re at the store.

The first item to weigh is why you want to use mouthwash. If the reason involves a high risk for cavities, you should focus on a mouthwash that contains fluoride. Make sure to double-check the label, because some mouthwashes do not necessarily include fluoride.

If you’re looking for a mouthwash to fight gingivitis, select an oral rinse with antibacterial properties. Make sure to read labels and avoid picking one that contains alcohol. Antibacterial mouthwash would also be best for a patient who has periodontal disease.

Another option is prescription mouthwash. These should be discussed with Drs. Burk and Flinn and/or your pharmacist in order to avoid negative side effects. Pay close attention to the directions regarding how much to use and for how long. Keep in mind that some brands may lose their effectiveness if you use them on an ongoing basis.

For children, you can find a mouthwash that changes the color of plaque on their teeth. This is a fun way to help them understand how well they are brushing, and what areas they need to focus on. It can even be a tool for adults who have trouble reaching certain areas of their mouth.

While mouthwash is generally considered as a safe means to improve your oral health, you need to keep certain things in mind. Avoid using any mouthwash that has alcohol in it. If you are using a strong one, it can reduce your sense of taste over time. Be wary of a mouthwash that claims it can loosen plaque; this is not accurate and can mislead consumers.

We hope these simple suggestions will help you the next time you’re at the store. Make sure you pick the right mouthwash to keep that healthy smile! Feel free to contact Drs. Burk and Flinn at our Rockville and Olney, MD with any questions you may have.

Invisalign® and Invisalign Teen®

October 3rd, 2018

There are so many adults and teens in our Rockville and Olney, MD office who would love to have their teeth straightened but that are unwilling to go through the long and unsightly process of traditional metal braces. Well, that's where Invisalign® and Invisalign Teen® come to the rescue; the most advanced clear aligner systems in the world!

There are several reasons why, if you're considering getting braces, you should consider Invisalign too. Here are some of them:

  • You can eat whatever food you'd like, without worrying about it getting caught in wires or breaking brackets.
  • Most people won't even know you're wearing them!
  • If you need to, you can remove your aligners at any time.
  • The removable aligners let you brush and floss as you normally would, making for better overall oral health.
  • Since they are made of a smooth BPA-free plastic, Invisalign aligners are simply more comfortable to wear than traditional braces. No metal means no more roughed up gums or irritated tongue!
  • You'll need to visit our Rockville and Olney, MD office less often — only once every six weeks or so.
  • With Invisalign Teen, you’ll receive up to six replacements for lost or broken aligners.

Before you get started with treatment, you’ll have a consultation with Drs. Burk and Flinn to see if Invisalign or Invisalign Teen is right for you. If your case is a good fit, then you’ll have X-rays, pictures, and impressions of your teeth taken. That information will be used to make the 3D models of your teeth that let Drs. Burk and Flinn see how they will move throughout the entire treatment and approximately how long it will take.

After that, you’ll receive your aligners based on the treatment plan we recommend. You’ll get a new set of aligners every two weeks. Then all you need to do is wear your aligners 22 hours a day and you’ll be on your way to a straighter healthier smile. Don’t hesitate to a member of our Rockville and Olney, MD team for more information about Invisalign!

Damon® Smile Self-Ligating Braces

September 26th, 2018

Damon® Smile is a state-of-the-art braces treatment that enables you to get a healthy, straight smile more quickly and comfortably than traditional braces. Studies show Damon Smile requires up to six months less time to complete successful treatment.

However, a question many patients have is...

Why should I get braces?

Apart from the boost in self-esteem that straight teeth can give a person, some people wonder whether braces like Damon Smile are necessary. As Drs. Burk and Flinn will tell you, braces offer many health benefits as well as aesthetic ones.

When you have evenly spaced teeth and correct bite:

  • It’s easier to brush and floss
  • There is less tension on the supporting bones and muscles of the mouth and jaw, which reduces stress and headaches
  • Chewing is more efficient (which can help your digestion)
  • There is less likelihood of tooth decay caused by inadequate oral hygiene since teeth are easier to clean — so this helps to prevent gum disease.

You can see the benefits of getting braces, but why Damon Smile instead of traditional braces or clear aligners? Damon Smile offers patients a highly customizable and discreet way of straightening their teeth. And it's suitable for almost all patients, unlike clear aligners, which can be used only in certain situations.

Since Damon Smile isn’t removable, the braces work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to correct your smile and bite. That means faster results with less chance of relapse!

Damon Smile doesn’t use elastics like traditional brackets, which means you experience less bacterial buildup and faster, more comfortable movement of your teeth. Did we mention Damon Smile also comes in a clear version? Damon® Clear™ lets patients move teeth discreetly as well as effectively. There is also a nickel-free option for patients who are sensitive to nickel.

These are just some of the many benefits of braces with Damon Smile. The next time you visit our Rockville and Olney, MD office, ask Drs. Burk and Flinn if you’re a good candidate for Damon Smile so you can experience the benefits yourself!

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