Ft. Worth Orthodontist Answers: Can Clear Braces Relieve TMJ Pain?

woman smiling and looking upThere are myriad benefits to straightening crooked teeth, not the least of which is the improved confidence that can come with a more aesthetically pleasing smile. Straighter teeth are easier to keep clean with an adequate hygiene routine, and in some cases, correcting the alignment of your teeth can help relieve chronic craniofacial aches and pains related to malocclusion and TMJ disorder. Ft. Worth orthodontist, Dr. Ciro Cabal, explains how clear braces can help relieve TMJ pain by making orthodontic treatment more appealing to older teens and adults.

Occlusion and TMJ Disorder

Straight teeth are designed to do more than look pretty; their proper alignment distributes the pressure of your bite evenly, allowing your stronger back teeth (molars) to take the brunt of the pressure and minimizing the impact throughout your teeth and gums. When your teeth don’t line up correctly, the imbalance can excessively wear down certain teeth and place excessive stress on your jaw’s joints, or TMJs. The undue strain can damage your TMJs and the muscles that surround them, leading to intense and widespread discomfort, known as TMJ disorder. (more…)

The Cosmetic Aspect of Orthodontics with Invisalign Clear Braces

straight smileStraightening crooked teeth provides a number of functional benefits, such as biting, chewing, and speaking without wearing down your teeth and jaw joints. The motivation to straighten your teeth, however, is typically a cosmetic concern; teeth look better when they’re straight and perfectly aligned. If your goal is to boost confidence in your smile, then adorning it with metal framework may not seem appealing. With Invisalign clear braces from your Ft. Worth orthodontist, you can enjoy the cosmetic confidence and benefits of a straight smile without the potential embarrassment of wearing metal braces throughout your personal and professional life.

A Modern Philosophy for Straightening Teeth

The underlying philosophy behind orthodontic treatment is to align crooked teeth to more efficiently displace the pressure of your bite. Proper alignment allows your jaw to move smoothly as it opens and closes, minimizing the distress on your mouth’s various components. (more…)

Do You Habitually Grind Your Teeth? Stop It

clenched teethThe problem with habits is that they’re typically difficult to break; even the ones that do us no good, and can actually cause harm. Smoking, for instance, is a notorious habit that many people wish they could quit, but find it extremely difficult to do so. Some habits, however, may seem utterly harmless, even if they are silently destroying your healthy smile. Today, your Ft. Worth orthodontist, Dr. Ciro Cabal, explores one such habit—teeth-grinding, also known as bruxism.

The Problem with Habitual Teeth Grinding

Many people clench their jaws out of anger and frustration, or when bracing for something painful (like receiving a shot). The occasional tension between your teeth isn’t much of a threat, but when you spend a significant amount of time rubbing and scraping your teeth together with no food between them, then you may have cause to worry. Bruxism, or habitual teeth grinding can sometimes be a manifestation of excessive stress and anxiety, or it can originate with a dental problem, such as an uneven bite. Whatever the case, your teeth weren’t meant to withstand such constant pressure, and if not stopped, bruxism can damage or destroy one or more of your teeth’s structures. The pressure can also damage your jaw’s joints, leading to the debilitating discomfort of TMJ disorder. (more…)

Ft. Worth Orthodontist Discusses the Power of Fluoride

excited guyIf you’re careful about your dental health care, then you’re probably familiar with the popularity of fluoride for keeping your teeth strong and healthy. The mineral is found in most major toothpaste brands, in your tap water, and even at your dentist’s office in the form of fluoride treatments. To help you maintain an effective dental hygiene routine, your Ft. Worth orthodontist, Dr. Ciro Cabal, explains why fluoride is a staple of good dental health, especially if you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment.

What is Fluoride?

Scientifically speaking, fluoride is a chemical ion of the element fluorine, with an additional electron that gives it a negative charge. As a mineral, fluoride is also an essential ally to your teeth’s protective layer of enamel. The strongest substance your body produces, enamel is highly mineralized and formed mainly from calcium and phosphate mineral crystals, with a small amount of fluoride thrown into the equation. Oral bacteria, which contribute to plaque, attack your tooth enamel by producing acid that depletes these minerals from your teeth, weakening the barrier between your teeth and the bacterial infection that causes tooth decay. To strengthen your teeth, fluoride bonds to your enamel’s surface in the same way calcium and phosphate do, fortifying your enamel structure and reducing the risk of developing tooth decay. (more…)

Ft. Worth Orthodontist Asks: What Do You Know About TMJ Disorder?

finger pointing upwardLearning that a jaw disorder may be the cause of your chronic pain is a big step toward finding relief. However, learning how TMJ disorder can lead to such a diverse range of symptoms can help make the diagnosis more understandable, especially if your chronic discomfort is seemingly unrelated, such as severe headaches or neck pain/stiffness. Find out how much you know about TMJ disorder by taking our short quiz below, provided by your Ft. Worth orthodontist, Dr. Ciro Cabal.

TMJ Disorder Quiz

What does the “TMJ” in TMJ disorder stand for?

Answer: Sometimes referred to as TMD, TMJ disorder describes a condition that affects your jaw’s ability to move evenly and smoothly. Caused by a number of various factors, TMJ disorder derives its name from your jaw’s joints, called the temporomandibular joints, which control this movement and are often damaged from undue stress. (more…)

Enjoy Stronger Teeth with Tips From Your Ft. Worth Orthodontist

strong teeth biting an appleDid you know that your teeth are protected by the strongest substance your body produces? Known as enamel, the protective layer around your teeth is their first and foremost defense against the harmful processes that can destroy them. Nevertheless, your teeth and their enamel are constantly under attack, and without your attentive care, your smile can soon fall victim to tooth decay and other dental diseases. To help maintain the longevity of your smile, your dedicated Ft. Worth orthodontist, Dr. Cabal, explains how you can help give your teeth’s natural defenses a boost.

Improve Your Smile’s Defenses

  • Brush and floss often—Your daily hygiene routine is your main tool in preventing the excessive buildup of dental plaque, which consists of over 600 different kinds of oral bacteria, including those that produce acid to attack and weaken your enamel. Be sure to brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once, preferably before going to bed at night. (more…)

TMJ Pain Explained by Fort Worth Orthodontist

Jaw GirlTemporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) can manifest in pain in the muscles and joints on the side of your face that help you open and close your mouth. These joints, often referred to as TMJs, act as hinges to help your mouth open and close. Every moment that you talk, yawn, or chew, your jaw joints and muscles are hard at work. While it is reasonable to assume that the full-blown condition of chronic pain and inflammation in these joints (TMD) will stay isolated to the jaw, this may not end up being true. Your TMJs and the muscles surrounding them are so interconnected with other parts of your body, there is a high likelihood that seemingly unrelated aches and pains can result from TMD. Dr. Ciro Cabal, your Fort Worth orthodontist, will explain.

Earache, or TMD?

If you have an earache, the natural assumption will be an ear infection. You may be surprised to know that nearly half of TMD patients actually complain of earaches as a perplexing symptom. The location of this discomfort will usually be in front of, or just below your ear. With nerve endings so close to each other, it’s easy to confuse this pain and think you have a classic earache. If you have a lot of ear pain and you have been checked by your general physician with no signs of infection, consider visiting your Lake Worth orthodontist to see if some type of misalignment or TMJ issue is causing your suffering.

TMD Shooting Down to the Neck and Shoulders

Neck and shoulder pain will usually be blamed on stress, sleeping wrong, or a pulled muscle. Usually these aches and pains come and go on their own. However, if you find that pain like this is recurring, or never ends, you could consider that your TMJs might be the source. Your jaw muscles run from one ear to the other. This means they collide and interact with your neck muscles. Your shoulders and upper back are right in that same area. Pain sensations can extend and cause you aches and pains that you wouldn’t necessarily assume could start with your jaw tension. (more…)

What is Orthodontics?

some guy thinkingAs one of the nine specialized fields of dentistry, orthodontics focuses on the diagnosis, prevention, intervention, and treatment of improperly positioned teeth (malocclusion). While many people know that this typically involves the use of braces or other appliances to move teeth into their desired positions, fewer people understand the importance of straightening their smiles through orthodontic treatment. Today, your Ft. Worth orthodontist, Dr. Ciro Cabal, discusses the field of orthodontics and the necessity of a specialist for straightening your smile.

The Joys of a Straight Smile

Crooked or misaligned teeth can negatively affect more than your smile’s appearance—they can lead to a host of oral health issues by inhibiting your bite’s proper alignment. For the complex mechanisms behind your mouth’s function to operate properly, they must be perfectly aligned to minimize pressure and damage on your oral structures. (more…)

How a Jaw Dysfunction Leads to Chronic Headaches and Other Pains

pretty jaw painYou probably wouldn’t visit a doctor for a headache, unless it was severe and recurred frequently enough to cause you worry. Yet, many people who do seek medical help for chronic severe headaches, earaches, facial soreness, or other craniofacial discomfort continue to experience trouble even after their doctor visits, still unsure of its cause. Others, however, are surprised to learn that the source of their chronic discomfort lies with a dental issue that affects their mouth’s proper function. Dr. Ciro Cabal, dedicated Lake Worth orthodontist, understands that the discomfort of TMJ disorder can often be confusing, and today he explains how a jaw dysfunction can lead to pain in many other areas of your head and neck.

TMJ Disorder and the Trigeminal Nerve

TMJ disorder borrows its name from your jaw’s joints, called the temporomandibular joints (or TMJs). Located in front of each ear, your TMJs connect your lower jaw, called a mandible, to the temporal bones in your skull. Along with the muscles that surround them, these joints are responsible for your jaw’s diverse range of movement and are work best when perfectly aligned. Unfortunately, a wide range of conditions, such as facial trauma and malocclusion (crooked teeth), can disturb your bite’s alignment, placing an undue amount of stress on your jaw’s muscles and joints as they struggle to keep your mouth straight. The tension can damage these mechanisms, as well as your trigeminal nerve, which innervates your jaws and the majority of your craniofacial structure. (more…)

Lake Worth Orthodontist’s Overview of Invisalign Clear Braces

okay smileIf you’re considering undergoing orthodontic treatment for cosmetic purposes, then donning metal brackets and wires may seem counterintuitive. At Lake Country Orthodontics, Dr. Cabal and our caring staff are dedicated to helping you regain confidence in your smile, and offer a choice of discrete, cosmetic orthodontic treatments to straighten your teeth while maintaining a professional and poised appearance. Today, your Lake Worth orthodontist gives you an overview of one of our most popular cosmetic orthodontic options—Invisalign clear braces.

All About Invisalign Clear Braces

Discretion

As their name suggests, Invisalign clear braces are designed to remain virtually undetectable while moving your teeth into proper position. Replacing the traditional bracket-and-wire set up, Invisalign utilizes a series of clear acrylic aligners that can easily slip over, and off of, your teeth. If you have a date or other social function and don’t want to risk your aligner being noticed, you can temporarily remove it to ensure your smile stays confident the entire night. (more…)