TMD Disorder and Orthodontic Treatment

WHAT IS TMD DISORDER?

Research shows that health problems as varied as headaches and breathing problems may be related to abnormal alignments of the bones of the face and jaw, all of which is related to malpositioning of teeth. When there are misalignment on any of these components, chances are the rest of your body will follow suit. Some would complain of neck, shoulder or back pains and clicking of jaws while others will present slouching, dissymmetry of facial features and idiosyncratic symptoms like itching of the inside of the ears. They may not be aware that they are suffering from a not so known disorder called Tempero-Mandibular Disorder, or TMD. Learn more about TMD, and how the Makati Dentist can help you.

The causes of TMD are so varied but one common denominator is the misalignment/malposition of teeth. The symptoms build up over the years that doctors could not pinpoint the causes of patients’ pain or symptoms. That is why, in our Makati dental clinic, before any patient would ask for orthodontic treatments, we have to rule out any TMJ disorder symptoms or else the treatment would fail in the long run. It’s not uncommon among people who have undergone orthodontic treatment, especially those with unnecessary premolar extractions, to experience the many symptoms of TMD. With traditional orthodontic treatments for crowded teeth, the first rule of thumb is to extract some teeth so the misaligned teeth could have space to fit in. With the contemporary orthodontic treatment that we practice, extraction is the last recourse. If there is crowding, then we use certain appliances (similar to retainers) to produce space for the misaligned teeth.

If TMD is present, its treatment should precede orthodontic treatment. It is like fixing the railroad tracks (the jaws) on which the train (the teeth) runs. You may or may not have TMD, but we can give you a diagnosis since TMD can also be symptomless. So before you have your orthodontic treatment with us, ask us about TMD.

HOW EARLY SHOULD TEETH HAVE ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT?
As with any medical or dental treatments, prevention and early intervention should begin as early as possible. Many parents wait until children are in their teens before considering braces. But once a child reaches the age of 13, jaw development slows and there is limited room for growth. When done early, the dentist can redirect the child’s jaw and teeth growth and reduce the length of time that a child wears braces.

HOW LONG DOES AN ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT LAST?
This depends on age, the severity of the problem and the condition of the mouth. Wearing braces usually begins around age 10 although braces can be worn at any age. Early orthodontic intervention can make treatment more predictable. It can also help to alleviate that ugly duckling teeth phase much earlier. After the braces are removed, a removable retainer must be worn for several months to hold the teeth in their proper position until they’re more secure.

ADULT BRACES
Metal braces that are made of high-grade stainless steel and attached to the front of teeth, are the most common. We are excited to announce the availability of Quick Brackets in our clinic. It provides faster treatment and lesser visits. It is a self ligating ‘brace’ wherein it actively moves your teeth 24/7 without the need for you to go back frequently to the clinic to change your elastics, which is the most active part of traditional braces. It’s smaller and easier to clean than conventional braces. Resulting in a more esthetic looking ‘braces’.

Clear ceramic braces are worn on the front of the teeth like conventional braces. They blend with the color of the teeth for a much less noticeable appearance. However, they may break more easily than metal braces and take a longer treatment time.

Invisible braces are a series of clear, customized, removable appliances called aligners. These braces are invisible and removable so your teeth can be cleaned easily. You’ll wear each series of aligner for about two weeks and only remove it for eating and brushing. But this is only recommended for patients with mild spacing problems and one major disadvantage is frequent check ups with your Makati dentist and difficulty in speaking while wearing it since it makes your teeth feel a little bit thicker in the front and back.

You probably will experience some discomfort or difficulty speaking or eating at first. While wearing braces, keep your teeth and brackets clean. If you wear cemented, non-removable braces, food and plaque can get trapped between teeth and gums. To reduce your risk of cavities, follow a regimen of brushing, flossing and rinsing, and reduce your consumption of sweets and carbohydrates. Plaque and sugar combine to make acid, which can cause decalcification (white spots) on teeth and tooth decay if left behind.

YOUR BRACES AND YOU
We highly advise you not to eat hard and sticky foods during your orthodontic treatment as such can damage or dislodge braces. These foods can bend wires and knock bands or brackets loose. Not following your Makati dentist’s advice could mean longer treatment period.

You should also limit or minimize intake of sugars and starches. This should be good news for everybody wearing braces since it could serve as motivation to lose a little excess weight. Every time you eat foods containing sugars or starches, the bacteria in your mouth rapidly grow and produce acid which dissolve the tooth enamel to cause decay. Within 20 minutes, the acid produced by the bacteria after feasting on the sugar and starches will attack your teeth. Therefore, food that stay for a longer time in the mouth (such as lollipops or candies) can mean an extended acid attack on your teeth.

Sticky food for you means more storage of food for the bacteria in your mouth. Leading to a prolonged acid producing frenzy for the little critters.

Be sure that you brush and don’t eat or drink anything except water before you sleep. Remember that the bacteria in your mouth work 24/7. Foods you ate before bed stay on the teeth throughout the night.

It’s not how much sugar and starches you eat but how often you eat them Therefore, it’s a good rule of thumb to brush your teeth after any meal especially when under orthodontic treatment. After brushing, it is highly recommended for you to apply a pea size amount of GC Tooth mousse to ensure that the acidic ph of your saliva will be neutralized to prevent any acid attack on the surface of your teeth. This should also be done as a last step before you sleep.

Braces can leave scratches on teeth. Brush with a fluoride toothpaste and use the GC Tooth Mousse to promote mineral deposition on teeth, and the scratches can disappear in a few weeks. Longer brushing time with three times a day can promote fastest improvement. Keep in mind that vigorous brushing would only do more harm than good. Be gentle to your teeth and gums. Brushing longer is better than brushing harder.

For more information on TMD and securing proper orthodontic treatment, please contact our Makati dental clinic here.

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