Occlusion and Headaches, with Your Ft. Worth Orthodontist

young woman with a headacheGood dental hygiene is a vital component of good oral health, but so is the manner in which your teeth move. A healthy human mouth can exert an impressive amount of pressure; its teeth and jaws are designed to evenly displace this pressure, while your jaw’s joints allow for smooth, efficient movement. When your mouth’s components are imbalanced, however, a host of issues can occur, including seemingly unrelated symptoms like chronic headaches. Ft. Worth orthodontist, Dr. Ciro Cabal, has extensive experience and knowledge concerning the intricacies of malocclusion, and today he explains the importance of occlusion and its relation to your overall oral health.

What is Occlusion?          

The specialty of orthodontics focuses largely on the proper alignment and function of your teeth, known as occlusion. Malocclusion, which describes a disturbance in this alignment, can hinder your mouth’s function and lead to a host of oral health issues. The bumps and ridges on your teeth’s chewing surfaces should fit comfortably with the surfaces of their opposites when your jaw is closed. Underbites, overbites, crossbites, and other issues of malocclusion can make your bite uncomfortable and strain your jaw’s joints and muscles, leading to muscle spasms, teeth-grinding (bruxism), and TMJ disorder. (more…)

Ft. Worth Orthodontists Take a Close Look at What Causes TMJ Disorder

3D jaw imageTMJ disorder is only one of a host of complications that can arise from misaligned teeth, but its influence can have wide-spread and long-lasting consequences for your entire oral health. Because of its diverse symptoms, diagnosing TMJ disorder can often be difficult. Finding the source, however, is the first and most important step to treating the jaw dysfunction and finally finding relief from its chronic discomfort. Your Ft. Worth orthodontist, Dr. Ciro Cabal, is well-versed in the intricacies of TMJ disorder and its relation to your mouth’s bite. Today, we explore what causes TMJ disorder and take a close look at the damage that occurs to your jaw’s joints.

Sources that Can Damage Your TMJs

The alignment of your jaws and teeth largely dictates the ease with which you can open and close your mouth when eating and speaking. When your teeth are crooked, the pressure of your bite is thrown-off balance, which can place intense strain on your jaw’s joints and muscles. Aside from malocclusion, TMJ damage can also occur due to extensive tooth loss, a traumatic injury, a congenital (present since birth) jaw defect, excessive stress, habitual teeth-grinding, and arthritis, among many others. (more…)

Ft. Worth Orthodontist Discusses Better Hygiene with Clear Braces

smiling group of young peopleFor older teens and adults, there are many advantages of wearing Invisalign clear braces to straighten your teeth, not the least of which is the ability to improve your smile discretely instead of wearing metal brackets and wires to work for the next couple of years. However, an even more important advantage, as far as your smile is concerned, is the ease with which you can keep your teeth and gums clean during your treatment, compared to traditional orthodontic hardware. To illustrate the value of that advantage, your Ft. Worth orthodontist, Dr. Cabal, explains how your dental hygiene maintenance is simplified with Invisalign clear braces.

The Trouble You Can’t See

Understanding your hygiene means understanding the forces that threaten your oral health every day, which you may recognize as dental plaque. This sticky substance is comprised of hordes of oral bacteria, most of which are harmless under normal circumstances. Some of them, however, can irritate and inflame your gum tissue in preparation for gum disease. Left unchecked, this bacterial infection can destroy the gums and jawbone that support your teeth, possibly leading to tooth loss. Brushing and flossing at least twice a day, as well as diligently attending a dental checkup and cleaning, can help keep oral bacteria in check. If you’ve ever worn metal braces, however, then you probably know that, during traditional orthodontic treatment, daily hygiene can be anything but simple. (more…)

Ft. Worth Orthodontist’s Crooked Teeth Quiz

red quizWhen your teeth are properly aligned, your mouth functions smoother. When your teeth are crooked, your smile’s appearance isn’t the only thing that suffers. Straightening crooked teeth is vital to ensuring your good oral health as well as improving your smile. Today, your Ft. Worth orthodontist, Dr. Ciro Cabal, tests your knowledge of crooked teeth and the consequences of ignoring them.

All About Occlusion—True/False Quiz

1.) (T/F) Malocclusion, which describes crooked teeth that don’t fit together well, can lead to a host of dental problems if left untreated.

2.) (T/F) Metal brackets and wires are the only viable option for straightening crooked teeth.

3.) (T/F) When left untreated, crooked teeth can throw your bite off balance and lead to TMJ disorder.

4.) (T/F) Although crooked teeth can affect anyone, they’re only a concern for children, who’s teeth haven’t fully developed. (more…)

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…)