What is Preventive Dentistry and How it Relates to TMJ Dysfunction
Monday, 29 June 2020

 Maintaining a natural smile is not that easy. It is crucial to establish a habit of preventive dental care. One of the most important branches of dentistry that you need to know about is preventive dentistry. 

 It involves the identification and treatment of oral health issues. The reason why preventive dental care has become incredibly popular in recent times is that it helps preserve the optimal amount of dental structure and reduces oral health issues. 

So What Is Preventive Dentistry?

Preventive dentistry focuses on addressing dental health issues that relate to the overall health and wellbeing of patients. The practice is centered around wellness. It emphasizes dental disease prevention. The goal is to foster and maintain a healthy mouth and a great smile. Preventive dentistry is quite comprehensive as it looks at the interrelationship between the gums, teeth, supporting bones, and jaw muscles. It is crucial for each of these to work in harmony in order for us to speak, smile, and chew properly.
What Does Preventive Dentistry Involve?

Since preventive dentistry is very comprehensive, it involves more than just the scanning of the mouth for tooth problems and cavities. It focuses on analyzing the health of every structure that contributes towards a healthy mouth. When you go for a visit, the dentist would educate you on how you can maintain and achieve oral health for your entire life. Each visit emphasizes the importance of maintaining the natural form of the teeth and focuses on creating a beautiful smile. Preventive dental care involves the following. 

Digital X-Rays

The dentist conducts a digital x-ray of the teeth for an interactive diagnosis. Digital technology has reduced procedure time and offers better diagnosis capabilities. It allows the transfer of information instantly without any inconvenience.

Hygiene Care

Develop healthy oral habits by paying a visit to the hygienist. The professional will instruct you on the best tips for optimal hygiene care. It is easy to develop habits when you know why you should focus on developing them. The dentist will work with you to create a schedule of ongoing maintenance and care. Dental cleanings and checkups are conducted twice a year. Through regular evaluation and diagnosis, symptoms of common oral health problems such as bruxism, gum disease, tooth decay, oral cancer, and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder are identified.
Oral Cancer Screening

Besides the digital x-ray and hygiene care, the dentist and hygienist would study the far ends of your mouth while conducting the oral cancer screening. In the United States alone, over 43,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer each year based on a report by the Oral Cancer Foundation. Although oral cancer is hard to diagnose, oral cancer screening helps identify the underlying issues early on. 

TMD/ TMJ Therapy

TMJ dysfunction occurs when the temporomandibular (TMJ) joints are damaged or strained. It causes considerable pain and limits jaw mobility. TMJ therapy is an important part of preventive dentistry. For those of you that suffer from TMJ dysfunction, the following options are available.
  • Occlusal Splints
  • Occlusal Adjustments/ Equilibration
  • Night-guards for clenching, teeth grinding, and bruxism.  
So What Is TMJ Dysfunction And How Does It Relate To Preventive Dentistry?

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is responsible for connecting the lower jaw to the skull. It is a complex joint that allows us to speak and eat. TMJ dysfunction refers to any of the problems that may occur. Even though it is more common in women, it affects both genders. Its cause is a mystery. It may be connected to either of the following.
  • Stressful Lifestyle: High levels of stress cause muscle tension in our body including the muscles that are responsible for controlling the TMJ. 
  • Daily Habits: Poor posture or excessive chewing of gum may cause TMJ dysfunction.
  • Jaw Damage: It is possible for arthritis or a traumatic injury to cause TMD.
  • Misaligned Bite: The jaw would be under extra stress if the teeth do not properly rest together.
Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) impacts an estimate of 5% to 12% of the general population. Unfortunately, many people continue living with many of the symptoms and do seek treatment until it is too late. Preventive dentistry plays a huge role in the identification of TMD. If you experience persistent jaw pain, it is crucial to visit a dentist.    
Preventive dentistry is a field that is growing every day. It helps identify TMD early on. Hence, it is important to regularly visit your local dentist to stay on top of your dental care.
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