Sometimes temporary and occasional jaw pain may just be the result of grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw during sleep, which is not uncommon during times of stress or a bad dream. But chronic (long-term) or recurring jaw pain can also be a sign of oral health problems like tooth decay or gum disease, or temporomandibular disorder (TMD), which results from an injury or damage to the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Dr. Ralph Mazzuca, a dentist in Washington, D.C., offers diagnostic and treatment options to treat and offer relief from TMJ symptoms.
TMJ Diagnosis and Treatment in Washington, D.C.
The temporomandibular joint connects the upper and lower jaw to the skull and plays an important role in the mechanical movements that allow you to chew and open and close your mouth. A problem with the joint can cause pain, stiffness, and even cause the law to "lock" in the open or closed position in more severe cases. The most common symptoms of TMJ/TMD are:
- Pain and/or tenderness around the jaw or joint
- Headache/facial/ear aches and pain
- Difficulty chewing
- Clicking or locking when opening or closing the mouth
Identifying a direct cause for TMJ/TMD can be difficult, but there are a few factors that can increase the risk of developing symptoms:
- Direct damage to the joint or jaw caused by direct trauma or injury
- Injuries or disorders that affect the cartilage or soft tissue in the joint
- Mechanical damage to the joint from prolonged teeth grinding or clenching
You may experience TMD in one or both joints, and the treatment options for TMJ vary depending on the severity of joint damage and your symptoms. In some cases, mild forms of TMJ may clear up on their own or respond to conservative treatment with over the counter pain relievers or prescription medication. Dentists also prescribe physical therapy, oral appliances or lifestyle changes and modifications to help ease jaw pain. In cases of extreme joint damage or if conservative treatments fail, surgery is sometimes used to repair severe damage to the joint.
Find a Dentist in Washington, D.C.
Don't wait to find relief from jaw pain and discomfort. For more information on the diagnostic and treatment options available for your TMJ symptoms, contact our office by calling (202) 537-1088 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Mazzuca today.
Are you interested in dentures? Do you want to ask your Washington D.C. dentist, Dr. Ralph Mazzuca, some questions, but would like to have a background about dentures first? Well, let us give you a quick run through of frequently asked questions.
What are dentures?
Dentures are removable oral appliances made out of plastic or acrylic resin that is combined with different types of metals. They can be worn by people who have lost some or all of their teeth due to a variety of reasons:
- Injury while playing a sport
- Tooth decay because of poor oral hygiene
- Disease, such as gum disease
What are some types of dentures?
- Full/Complete Dentures: These types of dentures are used to replace all of your teeth. There are also immediate dentures, which you wear while you're transitioning into your permanent dentures, conventional full dentures, which are permanent and fit over your teeth with perfection, and implant-supported overdentures, which typically use dental implants to support upper and/or lower dentures.
- Partial Dentures: On the other hand, partial dentures fill in the gaps and spaces caused by missing teeth and help prevent other teeth from changing their position. There are transitional partial dentures, which are used while your gums heal before a dental implant, and removable partial dentures, which is used instead of dental implants and bridges.
Who is a candidate for dentures?
If you're missing teeth, whether some teeth or all of your teeth, you are a good candidate. You should go to your Washington dentist for a more thorough evaluation and assessment of the health of your teeth and if any other procedures are necessary before getting dentures.
How do I care for dentures?
Make sure to rinse, floss and brush dentures while the dentures are in your mouth. This will ensure the removal of food debris. If your dentures aren't in your mouth, completely immerse them into water to prevent them from becoming warped.
If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact your Washington, D.C. dentist Dr. Ralph Mazzuca.
A smile gap--you know, it's that empty space where you've lost a tooth. Of course, you don't like the way it looks, but did you know that gaps control your smile in other ways besides personal appearance? Dr. Ralph Mazzuca places dental implants at his Washington, DC, office to eliminate the many unfortunate consequences of teeth lost to dental decay, gum disease, and oral trauma. Implants are premiere tooth replacements, so natural in form and function, that patients take back control of their smiles. Read all about dental implants here.
Dental implant particulars
A dental implant differs from conventional tooth replacement options, such as fixed bridges, because it replaces a missing tooth--literally from root to crown. Additionally, multiple implants may support partial or full dentures or bridgework.
How does an implant work? Well, it has three parts:
- A titanium metal screw or cylinder that is surgically-inserted into the jaw where the natural tooth once resided
- A metal abutment, or post, that extends above the gums
- A realistic porcelain crown
During a simple procedure at his Washington, DC, office, Dr. Mazzuca installs the dental implant and then allows the site to fully heal over the course of many weeks. As it heals, the implant site undergoes osseointegration, a natural bonding process that knits the jaw bone to the implant device. Osseointegration creates the solid foundation dental implants are known for. When the implant is fully integrated, the dentist can bond the extension post and crown in place, finishing the restorative process.
Qualifying for dental implants
Most teens and older adults who are missing teeth do qualify. Good overall and oral health, as well as adequate jaw bone density, are critical to implant success. Dr. Mazzuca does a thorough oral exam, including digital X-rays and CT scanning to determine a patient's suitability for implants. Then, he can present the patient with options for tooth replacement.
Benefits of dental implants
There are so many, but the most important is how well a dental implant mimics a natural tooth. Truly, the implant looks, feels and acts like a real tooth, and in fact, as a patient bites and chews on it, the implant site is exercised and strengthened. There's no slippage as with dentures, and gums and underlying jaw bone keep their size and shape.
The Institute for Dental Implant Awareness documents up to a 98 percent success rate for dental implants. Longevity depends on good oral hygiene--that is, brushing twice a day and flossing to keep the site free of bacteria-laden plaque and tartar. Additionally, smoking cessation avoids a destructive condition called peri-implantitis. Resembling advanced gum disease, peri-implantitis compromises gum and bone health and often requires implant removal.
Could you receive dental implants in Washington, DC?
Find out! Arrange a consultation with Dr. Mazzuca and his team today. Call (202) 537-1088 for a convenient appointment, and take control of your smile gaps!
Cosmetic dentistry has become more and more popular in the United States. This type of dentistry focuses on improving the smile rather than just the health and/or function of the teeth and gums. It gives patients the smile they’ve dreamed of, whether from replacing missing teeth with implants, improving components of the smile with veneers or simply using teeth whitening. Cosmetic dentistry procedures can be administered by our professional dentist, Dr. Ralph Mazzuca in Washington, DC, to patients of all ages.
Cosmetic Dentistry Types
Dental technology advancements have created tooth-like, natural options and materials that are better than ever. Some of the cosmetic dentistry services offered by Dr. Mazzuca in Washington, DC include:
- Dental veneers
- Dental implants
- Dental bonding or re-shaping
- Teeth whitening
- Dental fillings
He specializes in smile makeovers. The first step to improving the smile requires a consultation and full dental examination. During this appointment, your treatment goals are discussed. This helps him to determine which cosmetic dentistry treatments will work best for you. It is common to find dental issues that need to be treated before any other cosmetic dentistry procedure. After our treatment, your smile will be healthy and functional.
If you are unhappy with your smile, cosmetic dentistry may be the answer. Cosmetic dentistry offers restorative benefits to patients of all ages. For those looking to revive their damaged, unattractive, yellow or dull smile, we are here! Allow Dr. Mazzuca to help you to get the smile you’ve always dreamed of. Your new smile is only just one consultation away. With years of experience, we have a variety of procedures that will improve your smile just the way you want it. For helpful information on cosmetic dentistry services, call Dr. Mazzuca's professional dental office in Washington, DC at (202) 537-1088.
Preventive dental care is important for several reasons. Preventive care can help prevent a variety of oral health problems, including gum disease. It can also help you maintain better health overall. Gum disease and other oral health concerns can lead to other health problems in the body, such as heart disease. Maintaining good oral health through preventive care is a great way to maintain your overall health. Dr. Ralph Mazzuca is your family dentist in Washington, DC, and can help you remain healthy with preventive dental care.
Better Oral Health
Regular dental visits play a major role in preventive care. Dental professionals have the skills and equipment to provide a more thorough cleaning of the teeth than can be achieved at home. For instance, tartar that has formed on the teeth cannot be removed with regular brushing and flossing. It can only be removed with a professional dental cleaning. Tartar buildup must be removed to prevent the development of gum disease, which can lead to decay and tooth loss. Regular visits with your family dentist in Washington will keep your teeth and gums healthy.
Preventive dental care helps ward off a host of oral health problems, such as gum disease and oral cancer. Additionally, regular visits with a dentist can help with prevention of other diseases within the body. A study done by the Academy of General Dentistry linked a variety of systemic diseases to poor oral health. Such diseases include heart disease, pancreatic cancer, kidney disease and diabetes. Poor oral health might contribute to the development of these diseases. Preventive care can help avoid such conditions, as well as boost oral health.
Regular dental visits are an important part of preventive care and can help you maintain good oral health, which can also contribute to better overall health. Preventive care saves you from having to endure various dental procedures down the road to correct problems due to poor oral health. Preventive care can also help with prevention of other diseases and health concerns. See a family dentist in Washington, DC, to discuss you preventive care can help you. For an appointment with Dr. Mazzuca, call his office at (202) 537-1088.
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