In last week’s blog we began looking at how modern dentistry can make you look 15 years younger, and as promised, we are going to continue exploring this topic.
Did you know that sometimes people with temporomandibular disorder (TMD) will sometimes experience changes in the jaw joint that cause the chin and lower jaw to move to an abnormal position. This can distort the normal appearance of the face.
Some patients can correct a TMD problem by wearing a splint – sometimes known as a night guard or a bite guard – when they sleep. This is called occlusal splint therapy. Splints made from a type of durable plastic, usually slip over all or some of the teeth. They cause changes in the joint that can reposition the lower jaw and both relieve pain and restore a more normal appearance.
Splints are relatively inexpensive, but they can take years to work, and they don’t work for every patient. It’s important to know not to bother with over-the-counter boil-and-bite splints. They are not effective for a receding jaw. You need a splint that is customized by a dentist to fit your specific teeth and jaw shape.
MRI or a
CT scan may be needed during the diagnosis stage.
If you’re middle-aged or older, you probably have one or more silver amalgam fillings. These don’t last forever. The edges can open up and allow bacteria to get under the fillings, leading to decay, or eventually the need for root canal therapy. Also, the metal fillings in teeth can darken and appear as gray shadows that are visible through the tooth enamel, imparting an old and unattractive appearance. Depending on the size of the silver filling, the solution can be replacing silver fillings with tooth-colored composite fillings, or lab-processed porcelain “fillings” called inlays or onlays. Inlays and onlays are needed when too much tooth structure needs to be replaced to use composite and have it be effective. There is a great difference in the cost of the two types of restorations to replace silver fillings. Composites can be a few hundred dollars a tooth, and porcelain can be over one thousand dollars a tooth.
We’ll continue exploring the youth restoring qualities of dentistry in our next blog. For now, please visit www.DrTav.com for information about other dental topics.