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How to Tell If Your TMJ Is Getting Worse

TMJ Grand Rapids, MITemporomandibular joint disorder or TMD is a jaw condition that impacts millions of Americans. By causing your temporomandibular joint— the joint just below your ear— to become inflamed, TMD can make everyday tasks such as chewing or talking to become irritating. Luckily, one of the great things about TMD is that it can easily be treated by changing your diet, avoiding placing too much stress on your jaw, icing it, massaging it, and doing occasional jaw exercises. However, sometimes those suggestions alone won’t do the trick. From a locked jaw to extreme clicking, this article will list a few ways you can tell if your TMD is getting worse. Read on to learn more.

Locked Jaw

If your TMD has gotten really bad, you may experience a locked jaw. By making it virtually impossible for you to open your mouth wider than a centimeter or two, locked jaw can make it hard and painful to chew or speak. If you are suffering from this condition, then you may need a TMD surgery to fix it.

No Relief

One of the positive things about TMD is that the symptoms ebb and flow. Usually, after about a week or two of pain and discomfort, you will experience a bout of relief which can last for months. If, however, you aren’t getting any relief from your TMD symptoms and you are consistently massaging and icing it, then you may need a more specialized form of treatment like surgery.

Excessive Clicking

One of the symptoms of TMD is clicking in the jaw when you move it side to side or up and down. And although some amount of clicking is normal, if the clicking is getting substantially worse and more painful, then you may need to consider a different treatment option.

TMD is one of the most common joint disorders. Luckily with at-home treatments, most patients can find some relief. If you have started to experience worsening symptoms like those listed above, it may be time to consider surgery. To learn more about TMD surgery or to schedule an appointment with our staff, contact Dennis W. Nagel today!

M is for Molar: Understanding Your Oral Anatomy

dental services Even though you may remember scenes from the hit 1980’s musical Little Shop of Horrors in which the sadist dentist was singing about bicuspids, you may not know what your bicuspids are or what they do. To help you gain a better understanding of your oral anatomy, we have created a brief article listing the different types of teeth that comprise your mouth. From your molars to your bicuspids, this article will leave you feeling more informed— especially before you watch Little Shop of Horrors again. Read on to learn more.

  • Molars: Your molars typically come in around the age of 12-18 months and then fall out later on in childhood. By giving your mouth the ability to chew and grind up food, your molars play a crucial role in your digestive system.
  • Bicuspids: Once your molars fall out, they are then replaced by your bicuspids or your adult molars.
  • Canines: Your canines are the four sharp pointy teeth that reside at the front of your mouth. Because they are the sharpest teeth in your mouth, they help you tear food apart and move it toward the back of your mouth where your bicuspids can finish the job.
  • Incisors: The first teeth that you ever get and the ones you want to look the prettiest are called your incisors. You have eight incisors total; four on the top and four on the bottom. Your incisors help to cut up food into smaller pieces— making it easier to digest.

By understanding the basic anatomy of your mouth, you can not only better understand your favorite musical but what your mouth is doing every time you bit into a juicy apple. If you would like to learn more about your teeth or how you can take better care of them, contact Dr. Dennis W. Nagel today to schedule an appointment!

How to Properly Floss

General Dentistry Grand Rapids, MIYou’ve been told time and time again since you were a toddler that you have to brush and floss your teeth before bed. And although you may have done it thousands of times, you may not know how to properly floss your teeth— especially if you have braces or a built-in retainer. To help you get a cleaner mouth and fewer cavities, use this easy guide on how to properly floss your teeth. Read on to learn more.

Step 1: Choose the Right Floss

There are two main types of dental floss: waxed and unwaxed. Waxed dental floss is more popular because it creates a smoother barrier between your gums and the floss itself.

Step 2: Grab Enough

Most people aren’t using enough floss to get around all of their teeth. On average, you should be using about 18-24 inches of floss every time.

Step 3: Weave in and Out

Starting from your back molars, weave the dental floss in and out of your teeth— focusing on the hard to reach areas. If you have a built-in retainer or braces, try using a flossing tool that will help you get the floss in between your teeth.

Step 4: Rinse the Floss

Every time you weave the floss in between your teeth, you will pull out some plaque. Make sure to rinse your floss off with clean water in between each tooth so that you don’t spread the plaque across your other teeth.

Step 5: Swish Your Mouth

Using either mouthwash or water, swish your mouth to get out any extra plaque or tartar from out of your teeth so that you don’t get cavities.

Step 6: Repeat

Repeat each step at least twice a day or after every meal.

Flossing is one of the most important steps of having good dental hygiene. If you would like to learn more about your dental health, contact Dr. Dennis W. Nagel today and schedule an appointment!

3 Things to Know About the Art of Swishing

General Dentistry Grand Rapids, MIEven though you may like the sound of the ball swishing through the hoop, swishing isn’t just for basketball. As one of the fastest ways to get your mouth clean, swishing with mouthwash both morning and night is not only effective, but it can be kind of fun as well. Before you reach for your bottle of mouthwash again, however, remember to keep these few things in mind. From getting rid of bad breath to that burning sensation you may be experiencing, this article will list a few things to know before you go to swish. Read on to learn more.

Chronic Bad Breath

Just like scraping your tongue with a toothbrush and toothpaste, mouthwash is designed to get rid of bad breath. However, if you have noticed that no matter how much mouthwash you use that you still have bad breath, this could be a sign that you have an underlying oral infection. Contact Dr. Dennis W. Nagel to schedule an examination.

Look for Fluoride

As one of the best ways to make your teeth stronger and help fight against cavities, Fluoride is a mineral that can be found in your toothpaste and most drinking water. As an added layer of protection, try looking for fluoride in your mouthwash— this will help to not only clean your teeth but keep them protected in the process.

Burning Sensation

A lot of people don’t like the fact that most mouthwashes make their mouth burn after just a few seconds. Caused by a high amount of rubbing alcohol in it, this burning sensation isn’t doing any harm. If, however, you hate that feeling, then look for an alcohol-free alternative.

The next time you reach for some mouthwash, try to keep the above information in mind. If you would like to learn more about your mouthwash or how you can take better care of your teeth, contact Dr. Dennis W. Nagel today and schedule an appointment!

Understanding a Pulpectomy

Children’s Dentistry Grand Rapids, MIJust like with an onion, there are several layers of a tooth. You have the top layer which is the enamel, the middle layer which is the dentin, and the bottom layer which is the pulp. When there’s a crack in the tooth, bacteria can seep into the pulp and cause an infection— leaving adults having to have a root canal procedure. However, when a child has to have a similar procedure, it’s called a pulpectomy. To help you better understand a pulpectomy, we have created a brief guide. Read on to learn more.

What Is a Pulpectomy?

Even though baby teeth fall out, your child will still need as many teeth as they can have to help them chew until their adult teeth grow in. If your child’s pulp is infected, you have two options: you can either have the entire tooth pulled or we can perform a pulpectomy. During a pulpectomy, the affected tissues and nerves are removed and are replaced with special medicated materials to restore the tooth back to its full function.

Is It Painful?

As a parent, one of your number one concerns, when your child is having a procedure, is how invasive it will be and if they will experience any pain. With a pulpectomy, we will typically use a local anesthetic to numb the gums around the tooth and the tooth itself. Once it has been sufficiently numbed, Dr. Dennis W. Nagel will be able to remove the infected pulp and start the procedure without your child feeling a thing.

Is Recovery Hard?

Once Dr. Nagel is done with the procedure, you will be able to take your child home. We encourage our patients to eat soft foods for the first day after the procedure to help with discomfort. After about 24 hours, your child should be able to eat like normal again but should avoid putting too much pressure on the infected tooth.

If your child is in need of a pulpectomy, you can rest assured that you are in good hands with Dr. Dennis W. Nagel. As a common procedure, you don’t have anything to worry about. To learn more about a pulpectomy or to schedule a consultation, contact Dr. Dennis W. Nagel today!

Teeth Grinding Putting You In a Bind?

TMJ Dentistry Grand Rapids, MIFew things are more annoying than listening to someone grind their teeth at night— that and the sound of someone’s nails on a chalkboard. Teeth grinding, or bruxism is one of the most common dental conditions that inflicts patients both young and old. Typically associated with the temporomandibular joint disorder or TMD, these two oral conditions don’t always go hand-in-hand. To help you understand these two conditions separately and collectively, we have created a brief article. Read on to learn more.

What Is Bruxism?

Bruxism or teeth grinding is when patients grind their teeth— usually at night or during stressful situations. If left untreated, bruxism can lead to severe problems like temporomandibular joint disorder or even the slow erosion of your teeth over time. Typically caused by stress, bruxism can easily be treated with a night guard or through finding a new outlet for dealing with stress.

What Is TMD?

Temporomandibular joint disorder or TMD is a jaw condition in which the temporomandibular joint is inflamed and irritated. Causing pain, discomfort, popping, and the inability to open your jaw all the way, TMD can make life as you know it to be a bit difficult. Luckily, TMD can typically be treated with icing, oral anti-inflammatories, and jaw exercises.

How Does Bruxism Effect TMD?

Excessive teeth grinding can result in placing too much stress and pressure on the jaw which can ultimately cause TMD.

Remember that not everyone who has TMD has Bruxism and vice-versa. However, because both of these oral conditions are relatively interconnected, it is not uncommon for them to go hand-in-hand. If you or a loved one have bruxism, make sure to get it taken care of before it results in something more severe like TMD. To learn more about both of these conditions, contact Dr. Dennis W. Nagel’s office today!

The Two T’s: Tinnitus and TMJ

TMJ Dentistry Grand Rapids, MIYou may like listening to the sound of bells ringing or your phone ringing when you’re expecting an important phone call, but the last thing you likely want to experience is ringing ears. As a condition that causes your ears to ring, tinnitus typically stems from hearing loss. However, there are some conditions in which tinnitus is caused by physical ailments in the body such as temporomandibular joint disorder. So, how can you tell if your tinnitus is caused by TMJ or if it is caused by something else? And how can you get rid of it? Read on to learn more.

Signs of TMJ and Tinnitus

The ringing of the ears isn’t something that is always present with patients who have TMJ. However, because the jaw and ears are interconnected, a lot of patients experience a sore jaw, some ear pain, and even tension across their face. If you notice that in conjunction with ringing ears that you also have jaw pain or tension, then you likely have TMJ.

How Can It Be Diagnosed?

For us to create an efficient treatment plan for your TMJ, you will first have to come into Dr. Dennis W. Nagel’s office for a diagnosis. By conducting a physical examination and x-rays, Dr. Nagel will be able to properly diagnose it. If you do in fact have TMJ, then we can start creating a treatment plan.

How Can It Be Treated?

The first thing you likely want to know about TMJ is how it can help you get rid of your tinnitus. Through a combination of things like jaw exercises, massage, and ibuprofen, your tinnitus should start to ease up, and you should start to hear like normal once again. If your TMJ is severe, Dr. Dennis Nagel may recommend that you get surgery.

The great thing about having tinnitus caused by TMJ is that it can easily be treated. If you would like to learn more about tinnitus and TMJ, contact Dr. Dennis W. Nagel’s office today to schedule an appointment.

 

 

Bridging the Gap: The Benefits of Dental Bridges

Dental BridgesBridging the gap is something that typically has political implications; bridging the gap between the rich and poor, between males and females in the workplace, etc. However, when it comes to taking care of your teeth, it’s equally as important to bridge the gap. If you have a missing tooth, you may want to consider getting a dental bridge from Dr. Dennis W. Nagel. This article will discuss a few of the benefits of dental bridges and hopefully help you decide if they’re the right choice for you or not. Read on to learn more.

What Are Dental Bridges?

A dental bridge is a type of device that is fastened to the two teeth surrounding your gap and has a false tooth attached to it. Once the bridge itself is attached to your teeth, the tooth will fit perfectly in the gap— leaving you looking and feeling better than ever before. As long as your surrounding teeth are healthy, you shouldn’t have any problems with your dental bridges.

What Are the Benefits?

When you have one or several missing teeth, you have a variety of options to choose from including dental implants and dentures. However, dental bridges are especially popular amongst patients because they are fast, easy, affordable, and most of the time they are effective. Unlike dental implants that are relatively expensive and take a few months to complete from start to finish, dental bridges can start giving you back your functionality immediately.

If you have a missing tooth— especially if it’s in the front of your mouth— you know just how self-conscious it can make you feel. Luckily, with a dental bridge, you can restore your smile without breaking the bank. To learn more about dental bridges and other dental procedures, contact Dr. Dennis W. Nagel today to schedule a consultation appointment.

 

How to Make Brushing Less of a Chore and More Fun For Your Kids

When you have kids, it can seem like you’re always on their tales: don’t jump on the counter, take your shoes off, do your homework, go to bed… you know the drill. If you feel exhausted by the list of things you are constantly hounding your kids to get done, it might be time to mix up your routine. Even though things like getting your kids to brush their teeth are important, there are ways to make them seem more fun and less like a chore. From singing songs to doing them together, this article will give you a few tips to make you feel less like a nag and more like a cool parent. Read on to learn more.

Sing Songs 

Depending on how old your kids are, they likely love singing songs about everything. As a way to make teeth brushing fun, try making up silly songs together while they brush their teeth. Try incorporating good brushing techniques into each song so that they get a clean smile while they are having fun.

Use Fun Toothbrushes and Toothpaste 

If you’re on a budget (who isn’t these days?), it can be hard to splurge on things like fun toothbrushes and toothpaste for your kids. However, these dental supplies aren’t just a marketing gimmick— they make kids excited about brushing. By spending just a few more dollars every few months at the grocery store, you can get your kids more excited about brushing their teeth with their favorite cartoon characters every day and night.

Brush Together 

Sometimes kids don’t want to do things unless you are doing them as well. To make teeth brushing seem less like a chore, try brushing your teeth together— even if you are going to devour that whole pint of ice cream as soon as they go down. When your kids feel like they’re on an equal playing field, they will feel less of a need to put up a fight.

Singing songs, using fun toothbrushes and toothpaste, and brushing together are just a few ways that you can make toothbrushing less of a chore. To learn more about pediatric dental care tips, contact Dr. Dennis W. Nagel’s office today and schedule an appointment.

 

3 Small Investments to Make for a Healthier Smile

If you have a family, you know just how expensive it can be. Not only do you have to take care of grocery bills, a mortgage, and a car payment, but you also have to pay for your children’s healthcare as well— including dental. To make sure that your family dental bill stays low and that their teeth stay in the best shape as possible, try making these small investments for a healthier smile overall. From buying high-quality toothbrushes to scheduling regular dental cleanings with Dr. Dennis W. Nagle, this article will give you a few tips. Read on to learn more.

Buy a High-Quality Toothbrush
You may pick up a cheap toothbrush at the grocery store and think it’s the same thing as the other more expensive options, and you’ll likely be wrong. Although you don’t have to spend the most money on a toothbrush, a medium-grade brush will be better than the cheapest kind. Containing more bristles and a more contoured shape, a nicer toothbrush will better be able to clean your teeth and get into every nook and cranny.

Buy Waxed Dental Floss
Have you ever tried to floss your teeth with unwaxed dental floss? It’s awful. And if you have little kids, it’s the last thing they are ever going to want to do. Among investing in a high-quality toothbrush, buy waxed dental floss as well. The wax coating will make flossing more comfortable while getting food and plaque out of your teeth.

Schedule Regular Dental Cleanings
Did you know that every member of your family should have their teeth cleaned twice a year by Dr. Dennis W. Nagel. Although that may seem like a lot of appointments for everyone in your family, preventative dentistry is key– it will save your family’s mouths from cavities and gingivitis.

Having a healthier smile requires you to make some small investments— especially if you have a family. If you would like to learn more about how you can take better care of your mouth, contact Dr. Dennis W. Nagel today to schedule an appointment!

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