What Is TMJ Disorder?

Annoyed young woman suffering from toothache and touching jaw

If you have been experiencing pain or discomfort in your jaw or around your ear, it could be TMJ disorder. This joint dysfunction affects more than 35 million people in the United States alone, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. 

So, what is TMJ disorder? What causes it? And, how can it be treated? Let’s talk about it. 

What is TMJ Disorder? 

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint that connects your temporal bone (or upper jaw) to your lower jaw – and it is located on either side of the head, right next to the ear.  It is designed to move with a sliding hinge-like motion. But, when it is not functioning properly, it can lead to a lot of pain and discomfort. This is referred to as TMJ disorder. 

What Causes TMJ Disorder? 

There are many different things that can cause TMJ disorder, which is likely why it’s rate of prevalence is so high. Below is a list of the most common causes. 

  • Tooth or jaw alignment issues
  • Poor oral health
  • Stress
  • Bruxism (grinding or clenching)
  • Trauma to the mouth or jaw
  • Arthritis
  • Eroded disk (wear and tear)

Sometimes the cause is difficult to pinpoint, regardless of your signs or symptoms. 

Signs and Symptoms of TMJ Disorder

Most individuals who deal with TMJ disorder experience some level of discomfort. If you are experiencing any of the below, it is best to seek treatment from your dentist so that you may find relief. 

  • Jaw pain and/or tenderness
  • Pain around (or in) the ear 
  • Pain while chewing
  • Dull facial pain or ache
  • Clicking or grating sound when opening and closing mouth
  • Locking of the joint – being unable to open or close the mouth easily

Treating TMJ Disorder

Because TMJ disorder is so prevalent and doesn’t always cause debilitating pain, it is not uncommon for people to seek at-home treatments. For these mild causes that don’t cause too big of a disruption in life, you may want to try one of the following: 

  • Apply moist heat to the area
  • Apply ice to the area to reduce inflammation
  • Eat soft foods to give your jaw a rest
  • Relax your muscles and allow your jaw to loosen up
  • Take over-the-counter pain medication if necessary

However, for those cases of TMJ disorder that is a little more painful and disruptive – seeing the dentist is recommended. A thorough examination of your mouth and jaw alignment as well as determining the cause of the jaw disorder can help your dentist find the best treatment. For instance, if things are out of alignment, steps can be taken to realign the bite, teeth, and jaw, often using braces. Or oral appliances can benefit someone who has bruxism that is leading to TMJ disorder. 

To find any relief at all, though, you have to take the first step and visit the dentist. 

Find Treatment for TMJ Disorders at Savannah Dental Solutions

The entire team at Savannah Dental Solutions understands how much TMJ disorder can impact your overall quality of life. We want to help you find healing and comfort by providing you with the best care. 

How to Find a Good Emergency Dentist

Unhealthy senior woman touch cheek suffering from toothache

A dental emergency can make you feel helpless, and many people don’t know where to turn when they need emergency dental care on the weekend or late at night. Emergency dentists can help you in your time of need.

First, Call Your Usual Dentist

When you’re facing a dental emergency, call your usual dentist. Most dentists’ offices have after-hours phone numbers for you to call in an emergency.

If your regular dentist is unavailable, check with family or friends for a quick referral, or try doing a Google search for “emergency dentist” and the name of your city. Google search results will often display reviews so that you can see other patients’ opinions.

These are other sites you can use to find a dentist near you and check their reviews:

How Do I Know if I Need Emergency Dental Care?

If you believe you require emergency dental care, schedule an appointment immediately. It’s better to be cautious. If a tooth has been knocked out, there’s only a brief window of time to save it. Other conditions, such as a dental abscess, tend to deteriorate rapidly and can even lead to systemic illness in your body.

Seek emergency dental treatment if you experience severe or sudden pain. If you sustain a mouth injury, seek medical attention immediately, even if there is no visible oral damage.

Types of Dental Emergencies

Broken or cracked tooth – A broken or cracked tooth can cause bleeding and infection, both of which should be treated immediately.

Tooth abscess – Tooth abscesses can occur when bacteria infect the pulp of your tooth or when there is an injury to an existing cavity. Abscesses can cause intense pain and swelling.

Lost filling – If a filling falls out and you don’t have it replaced promptly, food debris could get trapped in your gums and may lead to infection.

Loose crowns or bridges – Loose crowns or bridges should be replaced as soon as possible. 

Toothache – If you’re in severe pain, seek dental treatment as soon as possible. 

Steps to Take While Waiting to See a Dentist

When something happens to your teeth or gums, try these three steps to ease discomfort until you can see a dentist:

  1. Rinse with warm water to flush out any debris and to help stop any bleeding.
  2. Apply pressure to the painful area. If you’re bleeding from a specific tooth or laceration, try applying a piece of gauze to the area to absorb the blood and to help stop the bleeding. Apply a cold compress to help alleviate any swelling. 
  3. For a toothache, you can take an over-the-counter pain reliever like Tylenol (acetaminophen) if necessary to relieve pain and swelling. Avoid Advil (ibuprofen) if there’s any bleeding. 

Savannah Dental Solutions Can Treat Your Dental Emergency

Savannah Dental Solutions is a family-owned and operated practice that offers emergency dental care. Drs. Chad and Alexandra Schnabel welcome new patients and can help put even the most nervous patients at ease. Savannah Dental Solutions combines traditional customer-oriented values with the latest technology. If you need emergency dental care or are ready to start your journey to better oral health, contact us online or call us today at (912) 354-1366.

What Causes TMJ Disorder?

Woman complaining suffering toothache at home

TMJ disorder is a condition of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), where the lower jaw attaches to the skull. The condition is characterized by pain and sometimes limited range of motion in the jaw. TMJ disorder is not only uncomfortable, but it can affect your overall health and wellness if it is not treated. Dental issues and malnutrition are common concerns resulting from TMJ disorder.

What causes TMJ disorder? How is it treated and prevented? Here’s why it occurs and what you can do about it. 

Potential Causes of TMJ Disorder 

The underlying cause of TMJ disorder is inflammation of the tissues surrounding the joint. But what causes the inflammation? Here are some potential aggravators.

  • Teeth grinding/clenching. If you grind or clench your teeth, whether at night when you’re sleeping or during the day, the excess pressure it puts on your TMJ can cause inflammation of the muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Many people are unaware that they grind their teeth because it happens during the night while they sleep or they do it unknowingly during the day as a result of stress or a nervous habit.  
  • Trauma to the jaw. Getting bumped or hit in the jaw can injure the joint or even misalign your jaw. The problem may be apparent right away or it may progress over time after the injury. The more you use the joint by talking or chewing, the more irritated it may get until you develop TMJ disorder. 
  • Excessive chewing. If you’re always chewing gum or crunching on nuts or hard candy, the repetitive movement of the jaw and force of chewing takes its toll on the TMJ. The muscles, tendons, and ligaments can become inflamed, causing pain and limited range of motion when opening and closing your mouth. 
  • Arthritis. Arthritis is defined by pain and stiffness in one or more joints. If you have arthritis in other joints, it is not uncommon to experience TMJ disorder in conjunction. 
  • Autoimmune diseases. The most common symptom of autoimmune disease is inflammation in the body, which often causes pain in the joints. If you suffer from an autoimmune disease, it could be the cause of your TMJ disorder. 

Treatment for TMJ Disorder

Now that you know what causes TMJ disorder, it helps to know how it can be treated. Minor cases of TMJ disorder may be relieved with basic remedies, but severe cases may need more intervention. Here are some treatment options for TMJ disorder. 

  • Natural home remedies. If you experience pain in your jaw or limited movement, the first thing to do is rest your jaw as much as possible. Eat soft foods and avoid chewing for a few days. Keep talking to a minimum. You can also apply ice to your jaw to reduce swelling and inflammation. Continue these treatments until you experience relief. 
  • Medication. Try taking an over the counter pain reliever, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Anti-inflammatory pain medications, as their name suggests, helps to reduce inflammation in the joint, so ibuprofen may be more effective than acetaminophen. 
  • Professional treatment. If home remedies and over the counter medication has not provided relief, refer to your dentist for recommendations. Your dentist will most likely want to see you in their office to assess your condition first before providing additional treatment. Prescription medication, such as pain relievers and muscle relaxers may be the next step. Your dentist may also recommend that you get a mouthguard if you grind or clench your teeth. Severe cases that don’t respond to any other treatment may require surgery, but such cases are rare. 

Savannah Dental Solutions Provides Treatment for TMJ Disorder 

If you’re experiencing pain or other symptoms of TMJ disorder, Savannah Dental Solutions can help. We will evaluate your condition and recommend the best course of action to treat and prevent TMJ disorder. 
Call (912) 354-1366 or contact us today to schedule an appointment. We look forward to providing you with relief from your TMJ disorder.

What Are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are the top quality tooth replacement option. A dental implant can replace a single tooth, and multiple implants can support a dental bridge or dentures. Dentists highly recommend dental implants for patients who have missing or hopeless teeth. 

If you’re considering getting a dental implant, you probably have some questions. What are dental implants? How do they work? Here’s an overview of this tooth replacement technology. 

Single Tooth Replacement

When you are replacing one tooth that is either already missing or needs to be extracted, this is how a dental implant works. 

The first step is to determine if you have sufficient bone density in your jaw to support an implant. Your dentist will take some images of your jaw to measure the thickness of the bone to make sure there is enough space to put an implant safely. If the natural tooth has been missing for a while, the bone may have weakened and partly dissolved in the area where the tooth used to be. 

If there is not sufficient bone structure, a bone graft procedure may need to be done first. A bone graft involves surgically placing a piece of bone under the gum tissue on top of the existing bone. This helps to fortify the bone and encourage regeneration. 

Once the jaw is ready to receive the dental implant, it will be surgically placed in the bone where the natural tooth root used to be. The implant is made of titanium, a biocompatible material that will fuse with the existing bone to form a solid bond. This process, called osseointegration, takes a few weeks to a few months to solidify.

The next step is to attach the abutment, which is a post that extends above the gums. Then the crown, typically made of porcelain, is attached to the abutment and the process is complete. You have a fully functional, natural looking tooth that will most likely last for the rest of your life. 

Implant Supported Bridges

In cases where there are multiple missing or hopeless teeth, an implant supported bridge can be an affordable option. It is possible to replace all of your teeth with dental implants, but the cost for multiple implants is often more than most patients are willing or able to pay. Instead, a dental implant can be placed on either end of a bridge, which is a row of artificial teeth. The implants are capable of holding a bridge securely in place, replacing multiple teeth at once.

Implant Supported Dentures

If all of the teeth on either your upper or lower jaw are missing or hopeless, implant supported dentures are a quality replacement option. A few dental implants can be placed in the jaw to be used as anchors to hold dentures in place. Implant supported dentures are more secure and often more comfortable than traditional dentures because no adhesives or suction is needed to hold them in place. Another benefit is that the dental implants preserve the bone structure in your jaw, preventing the sunken jaw look that traditional denture wearers often develop over time. 

Are Dental Implants Right for Me?

Now that we’ve answered the question of what are dental implants, it’s time to determine if one more dental implants is the right tooth replacement option for you. The best way to decide is to discuss it with your dentist. Your dentist can determine whether or not you are an ideal candidate for dental implants and answer any questions you may have. 

Savannah Dental Solutions Provides Dental Implants

Looking for a dentist with extensive experience with dental implantology? Savannah Dental Solutions can provide you with one or multiple dental implants, as well as any preparatory procedures you may need, such as bone grafting. We also provide implant supported bridges and dentures. 

Call (912) 354-1366 or contact us today to schedule a consultation. We look forward to providing you with top quality tooth replacement services.

How Much Does Invisalign Cost in Savannah, GA?

Close up mans hand holding invisible aligners for whitening and straightening of teeth on the blue background. Orthodontic therapy after brackets. Teeth healthcare.

Are you considering trying Invisalign? Invisalign is an orthodontic treatment that is designed to straighten the teeth and align the bite. It serves the same purpose as braces, but with a different approach. There are many benefits to Invisalign, such as the fact that the aligners you wear over your teeth are clear and virtually invisible. Another major benefit is that you can remove your aligners to eat and clean your teeth. 

With all of its benefits, people often wonder about the price. How much does Invisalign cost in Savannah, GA and the surrounding area? Here’s what you can expect on average. 

Average Cost of Invisalign Treatment 

Invisalign cost varies based on a variety of criteria, but will typically fall within the range of $3,000-$8,000. The average cost is about $4,000-$5,000. This includes the initial consultation, your complete set of aligners, appointments to monitor progress, and the retainers you will wear once your teeth are in the desired position. 

Factors that Contribute to the Cost of Invisalign 

You will find that Invisalign cost varies depending on a variety of factors, including: 

  • Your orthodontist. Not all dentists and orthodontists charge the same price for Invisalign. Each practice will set their prices based on what it costs them to provide the treatment and what it takes to stay competitive with other practices in the area. 
  • Where you live. The cost of dental and orthodontic services is also affected by the cost of living in your area. You may be quoted a higher price for Invisalign if you live in a city with a large population than if you lived in a small town or rural area. 
  • Extent of corrections needed. Different orthodontic issues require more intervention than others. The further your teeth need to be shifted in order to achieve proper alignment, the more aligners you will require. When your treatment plan is established, your complete set of aligners are created at that time. You are then instructed to wear each one for about 2 weeks, switching to the next in consecutive order. The more aligners have to be made, the higher the price.
  • Length of treatment. How long your Invisalign treatment will take may be a factor in the overall cost. Longer treatment means more appointments and consultations with the dentist/orthodontist. The number of aligners you will require will give a fairly accurate estimate of the length of your treatment time. 
  • Replacement aligners.  If you lose any of your aligners along the way, there is a cost to replace them. This will affect the overall cost of your treatment if the situation arises. Some practices offer Invisalign Teen, which is a version that includes built in replacement aligners at no additional cost. 

Does Insurance Cover Invisalign?

If you have dental insurance that includes coverage for orthodontic treatment, Invisalign is typically covered. It is always best to check with your dental insurance provider about your coverage before starting treatment. Insurance coverage for orthodontics is most often a lump sum amount that can be put towards braces, Invisalign, or other orthodontic treatments. On most plans each dependent qualifies for a one time lump sum toward orthodontic treatment in their lifetime. Insurance rarely ever covers the total cost of treatment, but choosing an in-network dentist/orthodontist can help reduce the overall cost. 

Savannah Dental Solutions Provides Invisalign Treatment

One of the biggest advantages of Invisalign treatment is that it can be administered and monitored by your dentist. Dentists are able to offer Invisalign because it does not require the same level of expertise of an orthodontist. The computer software analyzes the digital impressions of the teeth and designs a treatment plan accordingly. The dentist must only instruct you on how to wear your aligners and monitor your progress along the way. 

Savannah Dental Solutions is a certified provider of Invisalign in Savannah, Georgia. We have helped numerous satisfied patients transform their smiles for better dental health and renewed self confidence. 

Call (912) 354-1366 or contact us today to schedule a consultation. We look forward to helping you transform your smile and improve your dental health.

What Is Emergency Dentistry and How Does It Work?

Emergency dentistry refers to the treatment of urgent dental issues. Most dentists provide this service to their patients on a need basis. Emergency dentistry covers a variety of different problems that need to be addressed right away and cannot wait until a regular appointment. Some may be truly emergent, and others may be able to wait until the next day. 

Here are some examples of dental emergencies. 

Severe Tooth Pain

If you or your child has a severe toothache, the kind that can’t be ignored or treated with over the counter pain relievers, you should call your dentist. A toothache typically means that the tooth is infected, most likely from a cavity that is so deep that it has reached through the enamel and into the root canal of the tooth where the nerves are. Your tooth will most likely need a root canal procedure, which involves removing all of the soft pulp from inside the tooth and filling the tooth with dental material. The tooth may also require a crown. 

Your dentist may be able to see you the same day if you call during normal business hours. After hours it may need to wait until the next day depending on the severity.  

Dislodged or Knocked Out Tooth

If you or your child has knocked out a tooth, first determine if it is a permanent tooth or a baby tooth. A permanent tooth should be put back into place as soon as possible or placed in a glass of milk or saliva. (A baby tooth should not be put back in the mouth). Bring the permanent tooth with you to your appointment. Your dentist will attempt to put a permanent tooth back in place. If this is not possible, you may need a replacement tooth, such as a dental implant or a bridge. 

Call your dentist immediately for a knocked out tooth because time is of the essence. They will most likely see you right away. 

Broken, Chipped, or Cracked Tooth

Sometimes a tooth remains in place, but gets broken, cracked, or chipped. Depending on the severity, it may be able to wait until the next day. If you are in severe pain, call your dentist right away no matter what time it is. If the break is minor, call your dentist during regular business hours. But don’t wait more than 24 hours to address it. Even the smallest chip or crack can leave your tooth vulnerable to decay. 

Soft Tissue Pain 

If you have severe pain in the soft tissues of your mouth, such as your gums, the inside of your cheeks or lips, or your tongue, call your dentist. You may have an abscess, which is an infected sore that forms in your mouth. Your dentist will ask you some questions to determine how severe your situation is and when to see you. 

When You Should Seek Emergency Care From a Hospital

Some situations are so severe that you should go immediately to an emergency room or call 911: 

  • Excessive bleeding. If the dental trauma has caused excessive bleeding that won’t stop when regular first aid practices are applied, proceed to the nearest emergency room. 
  • Someone is unconscious or unresponsive. If the person with the dental emergency is unresponsive or unconscious, call 911 immediately. 
  • Trouble breathing. If the person is having difficulty breathing, call 911 immediately. 
  • Severe swelling that has spread over the face. If there is severe swelling that has spread to other parts of the face, such as the eyes, proceed to the nearest emergency room. 
  • Tooth or soft tissue pain with high fever (101+). Soft tissue pain is usually an indication of an infection. When infection is accompanied by a fever higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit, proceed to the nearest emergency room. 

Need an Emergency Dentist? Contact Savannah Dental Solutions 

If you’re in need of an emergency dentist, Savannah Dental Solutions is here for you. Call (912) 354-1366 immediately and we will see you in our office as soon as possible. If you call us after hours, simply follow the prompts on the after hours voicemail and someone will contact you shortly. If the situation becomes life threatening, don’t wait for a call back. Call 911 or proceed to the nearest emergency room. 

For regular, non-urgent appointments, call (912) 354-1366 or contact us. We look forward to providing quality dental care for the whole family.

How Long Does Teeth Whitening Treatment Last?

Are you considering getting a teeth whitening treatment? Or perhaps you’ve just had a whitening treatment done. Teeth whitening is a popular and common cosmetic dental procedure. It is one of the fastest, least invasive, more affordable options for improving the appearance of your smile. As people consider whether or not to whiten their teeth, a common question many people have is how long does teeth whitening treatment last? 

There’s no definitive answer to this question, as there are many factors that affect how long your teeth whitening results will last. Here’s what you can expect when it comes to teeth whitening and longevity. 

Average Time Length for Whitening Results 

On average, teeth whitening lasts 1 to 2 years. Some patients may find that their results only last about 6 months, while others may find that their teeth stayed white for 3 years or more. It really depends on the following factors.

Factors That Affect How Long Teeth Whitening Lasts

There are many factors that have an impact on the length of time you can expect your teeth to stay white after a teeth whitening treatment, such as: 

  • Type of treatment. Professional teeth whitening treatments typically offer longer lasting results than over the counter whitening products. If you have a whitening treatment in your dentist’s office, your results will most likely last longer than if you used whitening strips or wands from the drug store. 
  • Your initial results. The more dramatic your results, the longer they will last. In other words, the whiter your teeth appear after the initial whitening treatment, the longer it will take for them to start looking dull or discolored again. Professional whitening treatments typically offer more dramatic results than over the counter whitening products. 
  • Touch ups. Most professional whitening treatments come with at-home touch up treatments you can do to keep your teeth looking white for longer. Without touch up treatment your results may not last as long. 
  • What you eat and drink. There are certain foods and beverages that are known to discolor teeth. If you drink coffee, tea, red wine, and dark soft drinks you may find that your teeth won’t stay white as long as they would if you avoided these beverages. Some teeth staining foods can also be a problem, like blueberries, blackberries, beets, soy sauce, tomato sauce, and anything with artificial food dye. Avoiding these foods and beverages can help your teeth stay whiter longer. 
  • Smoking. If you smoke cigarettes, cigars, a pipe, or any other tobacco products you are likely to find that your teeth whitening results do not last as long. Chewing tobacco will have the same teeth discoloration effects. Touch up products may help to prevent teeth staining from these habits. 
  • Oral hygiene habits. Brushing your teeth twice a day can help your teeth whitening results last longer. Brushing immediately after consuming foods or beverages that stain your teeth can reduce their effects. 
  • The health of your teeth. The healthier your teeth are, the more likely your teeth whitening results will be more effective and will last longer. Healthy tooth enamel is solid and more stain resistant than teeth that are thinner and more porous. 
  • Visiting your dentist regularly. If you go to the dentist for regular cleanings every 6 months it will help your teeth whitening results last longer. Dental cleanings remove plaque which can stain the teeth and polishes the surface of your teeth so that they are smooth and shiny, which enhances your teeth whitening results. 

Savannah Dental Solutions Provides the KöR Teeth Whitening System

When it comes to teeth whitening treatments, Savannah Dental Solutions recommends the KöR teeth whitening system. We provide this treatment to patients who are ideal candidates. We create your custom fit trays so that you can conveniently whiten your teeth at home while you sleep. The two week at-home treatment is then followed up with an in-office procedure to complete your treatment. 
Call (912) 354-1366 or contact us today to schedule an appointment.

How To Find the Best Dentist in Your Area

Are you looking for a dentist in Savannah, Georgia or the surrounding area? Whether you are new to the area or you just need a change, looking for a new dentist may seem overwhelming. With so many dentists to choose from, how do you decide where to go?

Finding a new dentist doesn’t have to be difficult. It helps to know where to start and what to look for. Consider these tips on how to find the best dentist in your area. 

Ask for Recommendations

Start by asking for recommendations from friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, and other health professionals. Ask the person making the recommendation what they like about their dentist and why they would recommend them. It helps to know what you’re looking for in a dentist in the first place so that you can listen for the specific criteria you have. Compile a short list of potential dentists to start with and then move on to the following steps. 

Confirm Qualifications and Credentials

Do some research to determine what qualifications and credentials a dentist has. You can usually find this information on their website. Look for their educational background and license. If this information is not readily available, contact the dental office and request it. Any professional dental office should easily be able to provide proof of the qualifications of the dentist as well as other members of the dental team who will be providing your care.

Look for Experience

Another key quality in a dentist is experience. Find out how long the dentist has been practicing and how long their current practice has been in operation. Experience means that you can expect a higher level of care than you might get at a new practice with an inexperienced dentist and staff. If you can’t find this information online, contact the dental office to ask. It is always better to know for sure than to take a chance or ignore this highly important piece of information about a potential dentist. 

Read Reviews from Patients

Read patient reviews online, not just the ones the dental practice puts on their website. Take the time to read a range of reviews. If there are negative reviews, don’t immediately cross the dentist off your list. Look at the reason for the negative reviews. What may have bothered one patient may not be an issue for you. Also pay attention to the manner in which the negative reviews or conflicts were resolved, which speaks volumes to the level of customer service and care you may receive. 

Consider Your Insurance 

Insurance providers and dental practices are sometimes in-network with each other. This means that the insurance company and the dentist have negotiated the pricing of dental services ahead of time. You will likely pay less out of pocket if you go to a dentist who is in-network with your insurance provider. If a dentist is not in-network, they may still accept your insurance. This means they will bill your insurance company for the services they provide to you, your insurance company pays the amount or percentage according to your plan, and you are responsible for the remaining balance. 

Look for a Dentist That Meets Your Needs

Do you need a dentist for the whole family or just yourself? If you have children and you want to be able to take everyone to the same place, look for a family dentist who sees patients of all ages. Some dentists are specifically pediatric and others only see adults. Make sure to find a dentist who accommodates your needs as an individual and a family. 

Savannah Dental Solutions Provides Comprehensive Dental Care

Now that you know how to find the best dentist in your area, you can find all the above criteria and more at Savannah Dental Solutions. We provide a complete range of dental services to patients of all ages. We welcome families with children as well as adults. We accept most dental insurance providers and offer a wide range of payment and financing options to make your care affordable. 

Call (912) 354-1366 or contact us today to schedule an appointment.

How Safe Is Sedation Dentistry?

Little boy getting Inhalation Sedation while teeth treatment at dental clinic. Teeth treatment child

Sedation dentistry refers to the medical interventions used by dentists to help patients relax for procedures. Sedation is used in a variety of situations. It can help someone with severe anxiety feel relaxed enough to undergo a necessary dental procedure. Sedation can be used when a dental procedure will be particularly invasive. Whatever the reason, sedation dentistry is a routine practice. But exactly how safe is sedation dentistry? Here’s what you need to know. 

Types of Sedation Used in Dentistry

The following types of sedation are the most commonly used by dental practices: 

  • Nitrous Oxide: a gas you breathe in through your nose, jokingly referred to as laughing gas because it provides a relaxed and euphoric feeling that has been known to make some patients laugh or giggle. The effects subside quickly once oxygen and fresh air is breathed for a few seconds to a few minutes. This is one of the safest forms of sedation. 
  • Oral Sedation: a pill you can take before your dental appointment that will help to relax you. When you take it about an hour before your appointment, you should be feeling relaxed by the time you sit down in the dentist’s chair. You will need someone to drive you to and from your appointment as oral sedation can make you drowsy. This option is also very safe. 
  • IV Sedation: a medication that is administered by a single IV in your arm or hand. It makes you feel as if you are asleep, although you are awake enough to respond to questions. Even so, you typically won’t remember anything about your procedure. IV sedation is safe for most patients, barring any underlying medical conditions. 
  • General Anesthesia: usually administered in a hospital setting because it renders you completely unconscious, requiring a machine to help you breathe. This option is not commonly used for dental procedures, but for complex oral surgeries. General anesthesia is definitely the riskiest option listed here, yet still very safe under medical supervision. 

What Safety Precautions Do Dentists Take When Using Sedation?

Dentists will only prescribe or administer sedation if it is completely safe for the patient. In order to use sedation methods safely, dentists make sure to do the following: 

  • Get the patient’s complete medical history. Your dentist will ask for your previous medical history as well as current conditions and medications before administering or prescribing any type of sedation. 
  • Carefully monitor the patient. Your blood pressure and blood oxygen level will be constantly monitored throughout the procedure to ensure that there are no negative effects from the sedation. 
  • At least two caregivers are provided for each patient. While you are under sedation, there will be two caregivers who will be watching you and taking care of you during your procedure. 
  • The entire office is trained in ACLS and BLS. Everyone in the office is trained in Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support and Basic Life Support in case an emergency should arise. 

Which Sedation Option Would Be Best For You?

You and your dentist should discuss the sedation options available to help you determine which type or combination of sedation types would be best for you. Talk to your dentist about your fears and concerns if you have any. Are you more afraid of being out of control? Or do you prefer to be completely unaware? The type of dental procedure will also play a role in the decision, as some procedures are more invasive than others and require deeper sedation. 

Savannah Dental Solutions Provides Safe, Effective Sedation Dentistry 

How safe is sedation dentistry? Rest assured that sedation dentistry is one of the safest ways to undergo dental work. Any complications are extremely rare and easy to remedy right away. The benefits of sedation dentistry definitely outweigh the risks for most patients, especially those with severe dental anxiety. Savannah Dental Solutions provides careful monitoring and highly trained staff to ensure a safe experience for all patients who undergo sedation. 

Call (912) 354-1366 or contact us today to schedule a consultation. We look forward to helping you relax under the safe administration of sedation dentistry.

Who Can Treat TMJ Disorder?

Jaw pain after sleeping, bruxisum TMJ teeth clenching

Do you have pain or limited motion in your jaw? These are the two most common symptoms of TMJ disorder. TMJ stands for the temporomandibular joint, which is the place where the lower jaw attaches to the skull. This joint can become inflamed, resulting in pain and restricted movement. 

If you have symptoms, you may wonder who you should see about it, your dentist or your primary care doctor. Sometimes TMJ causes ear pain, which makes patients wonder if they need an ENT (ear, nose, and throat doctor). Here’s what you should do if you have TMJ pain. 

See Your Dentist for TMJ Disorder 

The best medical professional to see for TMJ issues is your dentist. Dentists focus on the health of the teeth as well as the jaw. A dentist specializes in the anatomy and physiology of the jaw, including bite alignment as it plays a major role in dental health. 

If you were to contact your primary care doctor about your TMJ disorder, they may refer you to a dentist or prescribe you some basic treatment options. Even though you may experience pain in the ear, if the issue is with your jaw, an ENT will not be able to help you. 

Save yourself some time and contact your dentist directly about any issues with your jaw. If your dentist can’t help, they will refer you to someone who can. 

What Causes TMJ Disorder?

One of the most common causes of TMJ disorder is teeth grinding. If you grind your teeth or clench your jaw often, it puts pressure on the temporomandibular joint. This can cause the muscles and tendons to tighten up and become inflamed, causing pain and limited range of motion. Other causes include:

  • Injury. A blow to the jaw could cause the joint to be out of alignment or cause the disc to slip out of place in the joint. 
  • Arthritis. Arthritis can affect the temporomandibular joint as it does the other joints in your body. 
  • Autoimmune diseases. Rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases can affect the TMJ. 
  • Lengthy dental procedures. If you have recently undergone lengthy oral surgery or a dental procedure, TMJ disorder may result from the strain of holding your mouth wide open or having it propped open for a long period of time. 

Treatments for TMJ Disorder

There are a variety of treatment options for TMJ disorder. The course of treatment depends on the severity of the disorder, the symptoms, and the cause. 

  • Ice. Ice can be applied to the jaw and temple to reduce swelling and inflammation. 
  • Anti-inflammatory pain reliever. Ibuprofen is an anti-inflammatory medication that can relieve pain and reduce inflammation in the joint. 
  • Mouthguard. If your TMJ disorder results from teeth grinding, a mouthguard can help to absorb the shock and lessen the force on your jaw. 
  • Diet of soft foods. It can help to eat soft foods that don’t require much chewing or opening the mouth very far. This allows the jaw to rest for a period of time. 
  • Prescription pain reliever. Sometimes a stronger, prescription strength pain reliever can be prescribed when over the counter medication is not effective. 
  • Steroid injection. Severe cases may benefit from a steroid injection to promote healing. 
  • Botox injection. Botox can relax the muscles in the jaw to relieve pain and improve range of motion. 
  • Surgery. When nothing else works, surgery may be required to correct TMJ disorder. 

Most dental offices can provide the majority of these treatment options or refer you to a specialist. 

Savannah Dental Solutions Can Treat Your TMJ Disorder

If you’re experiencing pain or limited motion in the jaw, Savannah Dental Solutions can help. We can diagnose TMJ disorder and recommend a treatment plan to relieve your symptoms and help prevent reoccurance. We specialize in TMJ treatment and provide a range of treatment options in our office. 

Call (912) 354-1366 or contact us today to schedule an evaluation. We look forward to helping relieve your TMJ symptoms and providing solutions for prevention.