Tag Archives: Dr. Alhadef

What is TMJ?

jaw pain-tmjHave you been experiencing unexplained headaches, popping or click of your jaw, or pain in your face neck or shoulders? If you answered yes, then you may be suffering from TMJ.

What is TMJ?

TMJ, also referred to as temporomandibular joint disorder, is a disorder where the hinge that joins the upper and lower jaw isn’t working properly. It’s been said that this very hinge is one of the most complex joints in the human body, considering it’s responsible for smoothly moving the lower jaw up, down, forwards, backwards and even side to side. The hinge is what allows us to chew, speak and yawn. Many times, temporomandibular joint disorder feels like your jaw popping, clicking, locking up or “getting stuck” in place. It’s been reported that patients notice symptoms appearing with no apparent cause.

TMJ Symptoms

There are several signs and symptoms that come along with TMJ disorders. However, it can be difficult to be sure you have TMJ, as these signs can be present due to other medical problems. To get a proper diagnosis you should visit your dentist.

Common TMJ Signs and Symptoms Include:

  • Feeling pain or tenderness in your jaw muscles
  • Headaches (that mimic migraines) earaches and pain behind your eyes
  • Having pain in the face, neck or shoulders
  • Experience clicking and popping opening and closing your mouth
  • Jaw “gets stuck” , locks or move out of place
  • A sudden change in the way your lower and upper jaw fit

How is TMJ Treated?

Most experts strong suggest that you treat TMJ using the most conservative, reversible treatments possible, as more research is needed on the effectiveness and safety of alternative TMJ treatments.

  • To try to relieve and eliminate pain you can apply moist heat your jaw or take medication such as muscle-relaxer, aspirin or over-the-counter pain relievers, or anti-inflammatories.
  • Wear a dental appliance to reduce the harmful effects of clenching grinding such as bite plate or splint. These are customized dental appliances that slid over the upper teeth and keep them from grinding or clenching against the lower teeth.
  • Learn relaxation techniques to help control muscles spasms that occur in your jaw. Reducing the stress in your life can also ease TMJ symptoms.
  • Practice gentle jaw stretches and relaxation exercises to help increase jaw movement. Your dentist can recommend jaw exercises if it is appropriate for your induvial case.
  • Lastly, when the jaw joint become affected and the above treatments are unsuccessful, jaw joint surgery or Botox may be recommended.

Before you go ahead and receive any sort of TMJ treatment, be sure to get properly diagnosed with TMJ by a professional. If you are diagnosed your dentist will help choose the most appropriate TMJ treatment for your particular case.

If you think that you’re suffering TMJ, contact Dr. Gary Alhadef, DDS at 214-368-2434 to schedule a consultation today. Or visit www.dallascosmeticdental.com for additional information regarding temporomandibular joint disorder.

Sleep Apnea: Signs and Symptoms

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a common and potentially serious sleep disorder in which your breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep. It occurs when there are repeated episodes of complete or partial blockage in your upper airway during sleep. While this is occurring, your diaphragm and chest muscles are working hard to open your obstructed airway and pull air into your lungs. This can decrease the flow of oxygen to your vital organs and cause irregular heart rhythms.

It can be difficult to identify sleep apnea on your own, since the most noticeable symptoms occur while you’re sleeping. A family member or partner may notice signs or symptoms of your sleeping disorder first. The signs and symptoms they may notice are the pauses while snoring, following by a gasping or chocking noise. Some signs of sleep apnea you may notice may be trouble concentrating and fighting sleepiness during the day, at work or while operating a vehicle. Sometimes you may even catch yourself rapidly falling asleep during the quiets times of your day when you’re not being active.

More Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea Include:

  • Headaches upon waking up
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Memory or learning problems
  • Feeling depressed, irritable or having mood swings/ personality changes
  • Waking up frequently to use bathroom
  • Dry mouth or sore through upon waking up

Sleep Apnea is more common in men than women. In order to diagnose sleep apnea, your doctor will have to perform a physical exam and take your medical and sleep history. Your doctor may ask your family members or the individuals that live with you about your sleeping habits.

If you think that you may be suffering from sleep apnea, contact Dr. Gary Alhadef, DDS to schedule a consult today. Visit our website at www.dallascosmeticdental.com to learn more about sleep apnea.

Dentures: Three Main Types

cerec same day crowns dallas tx

 

People can lose their natural teeth for several different reasons. It may be from trauma, tooth decay or a number of different oral health issues. Fortunately, dentures are an ideal solution for those who’ve lost some or all of their natural teeth. Dentures are artificial replacements for missing teeth that you are able to remove and put back into your mouth. They take some getting used to and may never feel exactly like your natural teeth, but dentures have become much more natural looking and comfortable than ever before.

There are three main types of dentures: full dentures, partial dentures and implant supported dentures. All types of dentures will help improve your oral health as well as your appearance. Your dentist will help determine what type of dentures best suit your individual needs based off whether some or all of your teeth need to be replaced.

Three Main Types of Dentures:

  • Partial Dentures- Partial dentures are used in cases where a patient is missing multiple teeth but not all of them in a single arch. Partial dentures rest on metal framework that attach to the patients natural teeth.
  • Full Dentures- Full dentures are used when a patient is missing a full set of teeth, either the top arch, bottom arch or both. A set of artificial teeth are permanently secured into a gum colored base. Full dentures can either be held in place by suction or by denture adhesive.
  • Implanted Dentures- Implant supported dentures are secured in place by dental implants rather than just resting on a patients gums as traditional denture do. Dental implants are surgically inserted into the jaw bone and the dentures snap onto them. This offers the dentures more support, preventing them from slipping or shifting around while you eat or talk.

If you have missing teeth that you’ve been considering replacing with dentures, contact Dr. Gary Alhadef, DDS to schedule a consult today or visit our website at www.dallascosmeticdental.com to learn more about the different types of dentures.

Maintaining Oral Health

girl eating appleMaintaining oral health is both easy and important – failing to properly care for your mouth can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, bad breath, eventually missing teeth and potentially even systemic health issues. Much of maintaining oral health comes down to managing the bacteria that naturally occurs in your mouth through four basic procedures: brushing, flossing, rinsing with mouthwash, and having regular professional cleanings.

Bacteria in your mouth naturally form sticky, yellow film known as plaque. Over time, if that plaque is not removed, it will form a calcified deposit known as tartar, which is very difficult to remove. Brushing twice a day with toothpaste is the first step towards removing plaque and preventing tartar buildup – by brushing twice a day, you remove food the bacteria needs to survive, and physically remove plaque from the surfaces of the teeth. Failing to brush allows the bacteria within plaque to produce acids that damage tooth enamel, creating cavities and weakening teeth. Brushing at least twice a day (and ideally after each meal) can not only remove the bacteria from the teeth, but also remove the bacteria’s food source.

Flossing, like brushing, is designed to minimize plaque and tartar by physically removing both the bacteria/plaque and it’s food. Flossing between teeth helps keep the surfaces between teeth free of plaque, and protects your teeth and gums from plaque that can’t be reached by brushing alone. While you don’t need to floss as often as you brush, you should floss at least once a day.

While brushing and flossing remove plaque from your teeth, and should help prevent plaque from turning into tartar, rinsing your mouth with antibacterial/antimicrobial mouthwash can help kill any bacteria remaining in the mouth. In addition to killing bacteria on the tissue of your cheek, gums, and tongue, rinsing with mouthwash can also help dislodge any stuck food particles, again minimizing nutrients that bacteria needs to survive.

Finally, routine professional checkups and cleanings are the last step in maintaining proper oral health.  In the event that plaque does survive and mineralizes to form tartar, routine professional cleaning can help remove calcified tartar from teeth, and your dentist or hygienist can use specialized, high-speed tools to properly clean areas of your mouth that are difficult for you to clean on your own. At this time, your dentist can also check your mouth for signs of decay, gum disease, or other oral health problems, and can hopefully treat them before they cause permanent damage.

Overall, maintaining oral health comes down to building a routine of brushing, flossing, mouthwash, and regular dental visits. By following that routine, you can protect your natural teeth, avoid cavities caused by decay, and prevent the onset of periodontal disease.

For more information on oral health contact Dr. Gary Alhadef, DDS. Make an appointment by calling 469-718-0128 or visit our website atwww.dallascosmeticdental.com.

What is Tartar & How to Fight It

ThinkstockPhotos-464323669If you’ve purchased a toothbrush or mouthwash lately, you’ve probably seen the phase “tartar control”. It’s seemingly mentioned on most toothbrushes, toothpastes, and mouthwashes, but many patients don’t realize what tartar actually is, or why simple brushing, flossing, and mouthwash may not eliminate tartar entirely. To help keep your mouth healthy, it’s important to know what the goal is: what is tartar, and why is controlling tartar so important?

As you eat, bacteria and food particles combine to form a sticky yellow film known as plaque. Plaque coats your teeth – it’s difficult to clean, and it accumulates in cracks, crevices, and beneath the gum line even as you brush it off of the exposed surfaces of your teeth. The bacteria contained in plaque will damage your teeth – it creates acids that damage your tooth enamel and creates cavities. Worse still, if plaque is allowed to stay on your teeth for as little as a day, it hardens into a calcified substance known as tartar.

Just as the bacteria in plaque can cause cavities, the bacteria in tartar will damage teeth – unfortunately, as it hardens it becomes nearly impossible to remove with brushing or flossing alone. Not only can it not always be brushed off, it creates a rough surface for additional plaque to build up, and protects bacteria against your teeth, allowing them free reign to attack your tooth enamel. Typically, tartar will need to be removed with professional cleaning, which is one of the reasons dentists recommend professional cleaning every 6 months.

Because tartar is so difficult to remove, it’s often best to avoid allowing plaque to harden into tartar – by brushing twice a day, flossing every day, and using antibacterial mouthwash, you can help remove plaque before it becomes tartar. Because tartar takes 12-24 hours to harden, brushing twice a day – or after each meal – gives you multiple opportunities to catch all of the plaque before it becomes tartar. For any tartar you miss, you’ll need to rely on your routine professional cleaning to remove.

For more information on oral care contact Dr. Gary Alhadef, DDS. Make an appointment by calling 469-718-0128 or visit our website atwww.dallascosmeticdental.com.

Dental Injuries and Emergencies

cerec same day crowns dallas txDentists will encourage you to visit their office every 6 months for routine cleaning and checkups, and if everything goes well, that may be the only time you need to see your dentist. Unfortunately, sometimes life will have other ideas, and you’ll encounter dental issues that may require visits in between your routine checkups. Some dental issues are emergencies and require immediate treatment – others can wait for a scheduled appointment.

Here’s some guidelines to help you know the difference:

- If a tooth is knocked out completely, immediate care is required to save it. It’s possible that the tooth can be re-implanted if you get to the dentist within an hour or so. Rinse the tooth with water, being careful not to touch the root. Keep the tooth moist by placing it in your mouth, against your cheek, and go to the dentist immediately.
- A chipped or fractured tooth may need prompt care. If you chip or break a tooth, call your dentist – they’ll likely ask you to visit the office in the coming days for inspection. It’s difficult to know the extent of the damage without x-rays and proper checkup, so even if you feel it’s minor, be sure to call your dentist for advice.
- If you experience physical trauma that loosens a tooth, but does not fully remove it from its socket, try to remain calm. If the tooth is pushed inward or outward, GENTLY try to straighten it but do not try to force it into its socket, and call your dentist. If possible, stabilize the tooth with gauze or tissue on your way to the dentist.
- If you’re experiencing a severe toothache, brush your teeth, and then rinse with warm salt water. If you’re experiencing swelling, you may have relief with a cold compress, and for many patients, acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) can help relieve the pain. Call your dentist for an appointment – it’s likely not an emergency, but you should have the tooth checked as soon as possible.

We can’t always avoid physical injury, but your dentist can help treat injuries as they happen. In many cases, teeth can be saved, but even in serious cases where the tooth can not be saved, your dentist can help restore your smile. Try to stay calm, call the dentist, and your dentist will provide the best possible care.

For more information on oral care contact Dr. Gary Alhadef, DDS. Make an appointment by calling 469-718-0128 or visit our website atwww.dallascosmeticdental.com.

Tips for Brushing Your Teeth

dental hygiene routineMost dentists will tell patients that the two most important things they can do at home are to brush and to floss regularly. While this advice seems simple – and it is – there are ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ ways to brush your teeth, and it’s important to understand the difference.

Start by choosing a toothbrush that is a comfortable size – if you have to strain to open your mouth to get the toothbrush in, it’s probably too big, and choose a brush with softer bristles, to avoid damaging your gums.

You should brush at least two times a day, but three is even better, and it should take about 2 minutes each time. If you spend 30 seconds on each quadrant (top right, bottom right, top left, bottom left), you’ll hit the two-minute mark.

Brush lightly, being careful not to damage the gums. Hold your brush at a 45 degree angle to your gums, and move the brush in an up and down motion, using short strokes. Avoid long, wide, side to side sweeping strokes that can cause scrapes along your gums.

Plain fluoride based toothpaste tends to be the best – whitening toothpastes, or those marketed to fight tartar, are likely to be harsh on your teeth, and may actually wear down your enamel over time.

Avoid acidic drinks that can weaken enamel – coffee, soda, orange juice, and energy drinks all will contribute to weakened enamel. Because of this, avoid brushing your teeth immediately after consuming them (in fact, you can avoid brushing immediately after a meal). If you wait a half hour after eating or drinking before brushing, your saliva will have an opportunity to bring your mouth back to it’s normal form, allowing your enamel to re-harden and make it less likely to be damaged during brushing.

Finally, take care of your toothbrush. Rinse it after each use, keep it in a clean area, and change it regularly, every 3 to 4 months. Doing so will keep the brush clean, so that you’re less likely to contaminate your mouth while trying to clean it.

For more information on oral care contact Dr. Gary Alhadef, DDS. Make an appointment by calling 469-718-0128 or visit our website at www.dallascosmeticdental.com.

Teeth Whitening

459899307Bright white teeth is something we all desire to have and if you’re tired of having yellow, stained teeth, you are not alone. What can be done about your stained and discolored teeth? Teeth whitening, of course!

Teeth whitening restores natural tooth color and bleaching whitens beyond the natural color. There are many methods available, such as brushing, bleaching strips, bleaching pen, bleaching gel, and laser bleaching. Teeth whitening has become the most requested procedure in cosmetic dentistry today. More than 100 million Americans whiten their teeth one way or another.

So if you brush, floss and visit your dentist regularly then why are your teeth still discolored? This happens because the outer layers of your teeth get stained over the years by consumption of certain foods, soda, wine and smoking.

When these outside sources of staining are left to sit on the teeth all day until your next brushing, the dentin on your teeth becomes yellowish or darkened. The best way to help your stained discolored teeth is with one of the easiest cosmetic dentistry procedures, professional teeth whitening.

Contributing factors to yellowing, stained teeth:

  • Tetracycline based antibiotics used before the age of 8 years old
  • Excessive exposure to fluoride as a child
  • Internal bleeding due to trauma
  • Discoloration due to a health condition
  • Natural aging- as time goes by enamel gets thinner and thinner and will get a yellowish hue
  • Soda
  • Wine
  • Smoking
  • Caffeine

The most popular and convenient method is in office professional treatments. Your dentist may even offer a custom tray for at home whitening. Ask Dr. Alhadef what the best plan of attack is to get your smile the whitest it can be. 

For more information on teeth whitening contact Dr. Gary Alhadef, DDS. Make an appointment by calling 469-718-0128 or visit our website at www.dallascosmeticdental.com.

The Effects of Smoking on Your Oral Health

166219324Everyone knows that smoking causes harmful effects on your entire body but what about your mouth specifically? The most obvious effects being bad breath, tooth discoloration and loss of taste and smell, but there can be more serious periodontal problems.

When you take a puff of that cigarette, cigar or pipe, think beyond what it’s doing to your lungs and your heart. Think about what it’s doing to your mouth and teeth. Cigarette smoke contains over 4,800 chemicals, 69 of which are known to cause cancer. As you inhale, the smoke lingers in your mouth before you exhale, even if you don’t inhale fully. Imagine what those 4,800 chemicals hanging around in your mouth can do to your teeth and gums. None of it is good!

Every puff of smoke that gets into your body starts by passing your lips, tongue, teeth and gums.

Tobacco-related conditions of the mouth include:

  • Brown to blackish staining of teeth, dentures and dental restorations.
  • Increased risk of leukoplakia (a lesion in the mouth which can develop into cancer).
  • Increased risk of tooth decay and tooth loss.
  • Bad breath and impaired taste.
  • Smoker’s melanosis (brown spots on the gums).
  • Black hairy tongue (bacteria, yeast and debris collecting on the tiny bumps on the tongue).
  • Smoker’s palate (the roof of the mouth becomes thickened and pale or white).
  • Dental implants are more likely to fail.
  • Some enzyme activity in saliva is reduced by chemicals in tobacco smoke(Source: quit.org).

Not to mention thousands of people die yearly from mouth cancers.

If you are a smoker, you should perform self-checks on a regular basis. Smokers should check for sores around the face, mouth, and neck. If the sores persist after two weeks, it is a sign of a more serious problem. People who smoke should also check for recurrent bleeding in the mouth, lesions, swelling, and lumps. White, red, or dark patches on the inside of the mouth, under the tongue, and on the cheeks that last more than two weeks should be brought to the attention of your dentist immediately.

When you quit smoking, you’ll be at less risk for gum disease, bad breath, stained teeth and cancer. You’ll be healthier and have a huge reason to smile!

For more information on your oral health contact Dr. Gary Alhadef, DDS. Make an appointment by calling 469-718-0128 or visit our website at www.dallascosmeticdental.com.

A Smile Makeover with Veneers!

porcelain veneersDental veneers are a commonly proposed solution to a wide range of problems. The basic concept is simple: the outer layer of the tooth is removed, and a new, hard, shiny shell is installed in its place.

The basic description sounds simple, but the flexibility provided by this basic procedure makes it a viable option for a number of potential problems. When teeth are discolored (due to root canal treatments, various drugs, or even large fillings), a veneer can provide a bright white surface. When teeth are worn down, cracked, or chipped, veneers can provide a strong, intact surface to repair the patient’s bite and smile. When teeth are misaligned or unusually shaped, veneers can provide a strong, well-shaped surface to match the other teeth in the patient’s mouth.  When gaps exist between two teeth, veneers can be used to narrow the gap and provide a more natural looking smile.

Veneers typically utilize porcelain, which is well tolerated by gum tissue, and provides a strong, natural looking surface that matches nearby teeth. However, patients considering veneers should consult their dentist to discuss the possible downsides, such as the fact that they are non-reversible, difficult to repair, and may not be a good choice for patients who have existing dental problems (such as decaying teeth, as the veneer will not solve the problem of decay, and may complicate fillings in the future).

There are often options to veneers – such as bonding and crowns – and insurance coverage varies by cause (often times veneers are considered cosmetic, but some cases may be covered). Talk to your dentist to discuss whether veneers are right for you.

For more information on veneers contact Dr. Gary Alhadef, DDS. Make an appointment by calling 469-718-0128 or visit our website at www.dallascosmeticdental.com.