TMJ Dysfunction: Causes and Symptoms

Gentle Touch General Dentistry

TMJ dysfunction stands for temporomandibular joint. Millions of people in the U.S suffer from a TMJ disorder, whichmay cause extreme discomfort and pain in the jaw. But this disorder can adversely affect other areas of your body as well. Several symptoms of TMJ can cause severe damage, which, in turn, may impact an individual’s ability to conduct his or her daily activities.

Let us understand in detail the causes and symptoms of TMJ dysfunction.

Causes of TMJ dysfunction

The temporomandibular joint serves as a sliding hinge by connecting the skull with your jawbone. This joint functions like any other joint in the human body. However, in some cases, a dysfunctional TMJ impacts the muscles that help in moving the jaw apart from causing jaw pain. For some people, this jaw pain can be severe and can even extend to the ears.

TMJ pain is not related to one single cause; there are several causes behind this disorder. Injury to the joint, muscles on the head and neck or the jaw can lead to TMJ. Arthritis, poorly aligned teeth, and tightening of the jaw and facial muscles can also trigger TMJ. For some people, TMJ can be a genetic disorder. To know more, you should consider scheduling an appointment with a professional in general dentistry in Richardson, TX.

Symptoms of TMJ

In case you are confused about whether you suffers from TMJ disorder or not, you need to look out for some common symptoms.

  • Locked Jaw: TMJ dysfunction interrupts the smooth functioning of your jaw. Individuals might experience their jaws getting “lock” or “stuck” when open or close your mouth. This locked jaw can last for a moment and can even lead to prolonged jaw locking.
  • Popping Sounds: Do you hear any sound, such as clicking, popping, or crunching, while moving your lower jaw? If your answer is “yes,” then there are chances you might have TMJ disorder. But, you should not take all sounds to make you worry over TMJ dysfunction, as they can be due to other physicalities of the joint in the jaw.
  • Trouble Chewing: TMJ can also make chewing difficult for individuals. They might feel suddenly feel uncomfortable while biting something.

As a preventive measure, it is better to consult a dentist near you in case you experience any pain and discomfort in your jaws. At GentleTouch Dentistry, we offer customized dental services in Richardson, TX, to cater to the different needs and requirements of a patient. This approach is highly effective in controlling the pain caused by TMJ.

4 Dental Emergencies That Children Might Experience

As much as you try to protect your child and keep them safe, getting bumps and bruises from time to time is all part of being a kid. Sometimes, however, playtime can turn into an emergency situation quickly. Knowing how deal with an emergency can keep help in protecting your child’s dental health and ensuring quick treatment. Here are 5 common dental emergencies that require you to contact a dental care for kids in Richardson, TX.


When your child complains about a toothache, it may not automatically mean there is an emergency. A minor irritation may be caused by a trapped piece of food, and the first step is to carefully brush and floss around the area. Rinse your child’s mouth with warm water. If they’re still feeling pain or discomfort, apply a cold compress and give them a children’s pain reliever. Don’t apply heat, as this could make the problem worse.

Broken, Chipped, or Fractured Tooth

Broken or chipped teeth are only considered an emergency if it’s causing pain or significant sensitivity. You should still come in as soon as possible so we can fix the problem before it gets worse. In the meantime, help your child rinse their mouth out with warm water followed by a cold compress to reduce swelling. If possible, find the broken piece and store carry it to the dental office so that it could be restored if possible.

A Permanent Tooth Has Been Knocked Out

This is one of the more serious emergencies that your child may experience. It is a time-sensitive dental emergency. While this is a cosmetic problem, it can also cause the following, more serious problems.

  • Bone loss in the jaw
  • Shifting teeth
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Wearing down of remaining teeth
  • Changes in their jaw joint

Obviously, these are serious concerns. They can only be avoided by taking action quickly. Additionally, if a tooth is knocked out by force, it may bleed significantly, so you should get that under control first. Apply direct pressure with a cold compress, or have your child bite down on a piece of gauze. Depending on how much pain your child is in, you can give then an appropriate dose of an over-the-counter pain reliever to make them more comfortable.

Try your best to locate the tooth if possible. Gently rinse off any debris before trying to put it back in the socket. It’s very important that you only touch the tooth at the crown, avoiding any contact with the roots. If you cannot put the tooth back in the socket, place it in a bowl of milk or a damp cloth.

Fractured Face or Jaw

Broken bones in your child’s face and jaw are a serious emergency and should be treated as a medical and dental emergency. Any damage to the bones should be your first priority, as well as any brain injuries your child may have sustained since facial fractures are most commonly caused by a blow to the head. Apply a cold compress and go to the hospital immediately. If teeth have been knocked out, you can keep them in a glass of milk or wet cloth and take them with you.

Dental emergencies are always scary, but knowing what to do makes it easier to handle the situation safely. If your child experiences a dental emergency always contact a pediatric dentist near you in Richardson TX immediately. Oftentimes, acting quickly is the best way to both fix the problem at hand and avoid more significant problems in the future.

The Symptoms and Treatment of Bad Breath (Halitosis)

Bad breath is known, in scientific terms, as halitosis. Bad breath is, as you already learn, a disorder where the mouth gives off an unpleasant smell. This is due mainly to the excess amount of bacteria in the mouth. The best way to know if you’re having bad breath is, of course, if someone asks you, or if you can smell it yourself. What if no-one asks you, though? How do you know when you’re having a bad breath?

If you do have a persistent bad breath epidemic, you shouldn’t leave it untreated. That would only result in additional complications. You’d come across the other distinct signs of bad breath and treatment in the following sections of this article.

Symptoms of bad breath

  • A weak or sour taste in the mouth is a sign of bad breath which is almost inevitable. This could be caused either by high bacterial content in the mouth or by a reflux of acid. Acid reflux is a digestive disease, in which the food pipe lining is irritated by stomach acid.
  • Another symptom of getting a bad breath is a whitish or yellowish coating on the tongue. Typically this is linked to the food you eat, or to bad dental hygiene. Every time you brush your teeth, it is recommended that you use a tongue-cleaner.
  • A dry mouth is also a sign of getting bad breath. Saliva is meant to lubricate the mouth and counteract any possible bad mouth odor. Lack of saliva means the mouth doesn’t have enough lubrication to battle off the bad smells.

Treatment for bad breath

It is essential to keep the bad breath away by using a clean, alcohol-free mouth rinse, such as Biotène. It is advisable to rinse with your mouth after every meal you take, no matter what mouth rinse you use. If you choose to wash your mouth, avoid alcohol content, as strong flavors would only make the situation worse.

Moreover, it prevents or completely stops tobacco consumption. That may not be fast, but neither is there a bad breath, every single day! Have a healthy and balanced diet, and brush and floss your teeth regularly in the morning and evening.

Note that the symptoms and causes mentioned are just a few of the more common ones related to bad breath. It’s possible that your bad breath can display some other symptoms, which emerge from unusual causes. That way, if you have a bad breath endured, see a dentist near you in Richardson TX immediately!

Here’s What You Should Do in Any Dental Emergency

Dental emergencies can happen at any time. It may be as serious as a broken tooth due to an accident, or as mild as something that is caught between your teeth. Whatever the matter is, it must be handled with due care. How do you guarantee that you know exactly what to do in any kind of dental emergency? To answer that, the most common dental emergencies are the following, and what you should do in each of those cases.

Something caught in between your teeth

First, do not make it out with a pin or any sharp object. This could damage your teeth and make things worse. Use a floss to remove anything that is caught in between the teeth. Start gently, and only rigorously floss when the object does not yet come out. If you still can’t pick it out, see a dentist the following morning.

Broken orthodontic braces

In case a thread breaks and pokes your inner mouth, placing orthodontic wax at the end of the wire is the first thing you may think. If you don’t have an orthodontic wax, use the pencil eraser to place the wire. Make sure that you see an orthodontist as soon as possible, and don’t try to cut off the wire!

A crown comes off loose

First of all, don’t hesitate to see your dentist. Once you make an immediate appointment with your dentist, consider using a dental glue or toothpaste to secure the crown back in place. If you can’t do that, you can use a cotton swab and put a bit of clove oil on it and apply it to the area. This helps in reducing the pain for the time being.

Uprooted/broken tooth

If you have a tooth uprooted, try putting it back in the socket but don’t force it down. If you can’t save the fractured or uprooted tooth, rinse your mouth with water and wash away any bits of your tooth from your mouth. While bleeding, make sure to put a gauze into the area until the bleeding stops. Visit your dentist as soon as possible!

Oral injury

Use an ice pack wrapped around a towel and apply it to your cheek for a period of 10 minutes at a time in case of injury. Use a tea bag if you are bleeding, and apply it for about 15 minutes to the injured area. You might even think about rinsing your mouth with warm water. If the situation isn’t getting any better, see a dentist right away.

Unusual toothaches

Rinse your mouth with warm saltwater, if you are experiencing inexplicable toothaches. Do that twice a day. Floss to see if any part of the food is stuck in there. If the pain persists, book a dental appointment.

Consulting a dentist is a must in case of any dental emergency if the situation does not change for you any time soon. It is critical that the incident be handled as soon as possible in order to avoid any further complications resulting from the situation.

For that matter, you can get the best emergency dentist in Richardson TX near you open today.

Symptoms of Gum Disease

Gum disease or periodontal disease is a condition in which the gums get infected by bacterial contamination. Untreated gum disease can lead to severe health complications that include heart diseases. One of the main causes of gum disease is poor oral health and hygiene. If you spot the following symptoms, visit a dentist immediately.

1. Bleeding gums while flossing and brushing

Your gums bleed when they’re infected. Your dentist has probably told you before that your gums bleed because you don’t floss. That’s true! Flossing gets rid of the bacteria underneath your gums and helps your gums stay healthy. But when you’re bleeding while flossing or brushing, that’s a sign that your gums may be infected.

However, this is a common sign and doesn’t necessarily mean that your gum disease has advanced to an irreversible stage. Visit a dentist soon enough and you’ll be just fine!

2. Red and swollen gums

Red and swollen gums are signs of advancing gum disease. This indicates that the bacteria have contaminated and infected your gums so much that it’s enough to swell them up.

3. Loose or moving teeth

Over time, you may start to notice that some of your teeth have shifted. This is because gum disease makes your gums weak, which disables them to hold your teeth in position strongly. This is also the reason why you may have loose teeth.

4. Bad breath

Do you have persistent bad breath along with some of the symptoms that have been listed? The odor does not come from the bacteria but the metabolism of those bacteria. When there’s too much bacterial contamination, that’s when the odor becomes strong enough to give you persistent bad breath.

5.  Receding gums

Are your teeth apparently getting longer? No, it’s just your gums receding. Your gums will contract as a result of being infected since the cells and tissues in your gums are being fed on by the bacteria. This is one of the signs of advanced gum disease, post which, your overall health starts to get severely affected.

If you have even one or more symptoms listed above, consider visiting a dentist near you right away. You can get the best gum disease treatment in Richardson TX from the best dentist near you open today. Click here to find out more.

Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Get Invisalign®

Invislaign® is a kind of a clear aligner that is used in orthodontics- a field of dentistry associated with straightening and aligning teeth. It is an innovation in dentistry and has been readily adopted by orthodontic patients around the world for several reasons. It is currently treating over 2.5 million orthodontic patients worldwide.

So what is it that prompts patients to get Invislaign® over traditional dental braces. To answer that, we take a look at the 5 main reasons why people prefer Invislaign®:

1. No hassle inside the mouth

Invislaign® is smooth and light and unlike traditional dental braces, they do not have braces and wires. This makes Invislaign® comfortable to wear and feels perfectly smooth inside the mouth. While there may be some difficulties getting adjusted to it initially, it will go away with time. Needless to say, they cannot cause any oral injury!

2. Treatment that doesn’t feel like one!

Invislaign® treatment is so smooth that you get the treatment that you need but never feel like it! Invislaign®is removable and that is why you can take them off whenever you want to, although doctors recommend you wearing them for at least 12 hours a day.

You can take them off while you eat, brush and floss, and put them back on. No matter what you eat, it’s not going to affect your Invislaign®, which brings us to the next reason to get Invislaign® treatment.

3. No diet restrictions 

Okay, maybe just a few restrictions but that too depends on your orthodontist. Some do suggest a few restrictions like barring you from having certain acidic foods, while most pose no restrictions at all! The official website of Invislaign® says that you can indeed have anything you want to!

4. No one notices!

This is actually the main benefit that comes to mind when people come to know about Invislaign®. The flaws that orthodontic braces bring to your smile are intolerable! So why not replace them with Invislaign®? Smile as wide as you want to and no one would see brackets and wires on your teeth. Just a pure, white smile!

5. Monitored progress

With Invislaign® treatment, you get to know exactly how your teeth would progress in alignment from the very start. This is because the treatment is computerized and yields you results that you anticipate! This keeps you less impatient throughout the orthodontic treatment and more motivated.

Now that you know the reasons why you should get Invislaign® treatment, what’s holding you back? Just get a dental consultation near you and get set! If you’re in Richardson TX, visit the best orthodontist near you open today and get the best quality Invislaign® treatment!

How to Care for Dental Implants


What to expect?

Post dental implants, chances are that you would be facing some soreness for a few days. You would instinctively take some special care of the implant unless you feel fully recovered.

However, you are bound to have a few questions about caring for your implant, “What should I eat?”, “Should I brush or floss the area?”, “Should I take medications after dental implants to heal faster?”, “How should I deal with the implant stitches with proper care?”

These are the questions that this article aims to answer for you, with a complete guide to help you care for your implant.

Firstly, maintain your hygiene

Do not hesitate to brush or floss. You may tend to brush or floss less as a preventive measure, but it would do more harm than good.

Brush the area around the area gently, but do brush regularly. The same goes for flossing. You may use implant-specific flosses for a few days post the implant.

Consider using a low abrasive toothpaste. This would prevent the burning sensations post brushing. It would also help the area around the implant to heal quicker.

You may even consider rinsing your mouth with hot saltwater. It works wonders for your healing process!

Take painkillers in prescribed doses 

Ibuprofen is the most recommended painkiller that is recommended for this purpose. Since the pain is expected to be tolerable, do not take a painkiller unless it gets intolerable.

If you consider taking other medications than ibuprofen or paracetamol, consult your dentist first. Not all medications are fit for your situation since most have specific side effects.

Also, ensure that you do not take more than your prescribed doses.

Use ice packs to heal swelling 

Do not do what most patients tend to do- pressing against it to check how much it has swollen! Use ice packs instead. If you feel that you are experiencing some unusual swelling in your cheek, applying ice packs for 10 minutes at a time does no harm!

It is advised by most dentists to rather apply the ice pack wrapped in a dry towel, instead of applying it directly on your cheek. This is because too much cold could trigger sensitivity during the healing process.

Watch what you eat and drink

Your dentist is most likely to recommend you not to have anything hot (like a hot glass of milk) post the implant. However, I do not have anything very cold either. The idea is to keep the implant area away from any sort of sensitivity.

Avoid carbonated soft drinks at all costs. They have acidic content, which could harm the surgical area. For a week at least, do not consider any drink apart from room-temperature water.

When it comes to what you eat, do not have anything acidic, especially fruits that have citric acid, like oranges and lemons. Avoid tomatoes to some extent as well. Do not have anything hard that would put pressure on the implant. It takes time for the implant to heal around the bone. Putting pressure on it may damage the healing process. Also, chew your food keeping it away from the surgical area. Also, do not keep disturbing the area with your tongue!

That, apart from the obvious fact that you must stay away from smoking and drinking for the first week and a half, is all you need to care about for your implant. In case you do feel a sustained soreness or swelling that keeps getting worse, consult your dentist right away before taking any sort of medication.

Teeth Whitening Strips: How they Affect your Teeth?

Whitening strips need no introduction, as every individual at some point of their lives have craved for whiter and brighter teeth. In doing so, they must have tried or at least contemplated try their hands on whitening strips. These are over-the-counter strips that are easily available in all drugstores nearby. This makes it evident that these products are a way to attain whitening at a low cost.

However, whitening strips come along with some drawbacks that mostly first-time users are not aware of. Instead of a same-day whitening (as is the case with professional treatments), whitening strips are required to be applied on the teeth for several days to get visible results. Additionally, the concentration of the bleaching agent (hydrogen peroxide) may be insufficient with respect to the degree of discoloration of an individual’s teeth.

Despite all the loopholes, the market for whitening strips persists because of their low cost and easy availability. Another significant cause behind the demand for whitening strips is dental fear. Especially if individuals have sensitivity issues, they are more hesitant to walk into the dentistry for a teeth whitening procedure.

Statistics revealed that a whopping 40.5 million people in the United States used tooth whitening products in the year 2018. It therefore stands necessary to elucidate the flaws of using a whitening strip. Long term use of over-the-counter strips are to some extent baneful for an individual’s teeth. Let’s check how they might be impacting upon your dental health.

The outer layer of the teeth is the enamel. The layer lying beneath this is the dentin. The dentin layer is typically rich in protein. In studies related to the effect of whitening strips on the users teeth, it has been revealed that there was considerable loss of protein from the tooth’s dentin layer.

A research conducted in the Stockton University was aimed to find out how hydrogen peroxide affects the teeth, and which part of the tooth it attacks.

The research — which was led by Kelly Keenan, an associate professor of chemistry at Stockton University

The main whitening ingredient of whitening strips, as is commonly known is hydrogen peroxide. This is actually an oxidizing agent and mostly used as a sterilizer. However, for the common mass, hydrogen peroxide is considered as a color-lightening agent and is used by many to bleach their hair.

Kelly Keenan has discovered that hydrogen peroxide damages dentin, which is the “middle” layer of teeth. The three prominent layers of a tooth are – a shiny enamel, a dentin layer in the middle, and the inner layer that mainly consists of connective tissues. Now, there is a method in which this compound damages the dentin layer. It pierces through the enamel and reaches the dentin layer, again infiltrating through it. This dentin layer contains 90 to 95 percent of the protein collagen

Keenan’s study revealed that the dentin gets chipped away into small fragments by bleaching agent hydrogen peroxide. To study the impact on the protein collagen more closely, the research team had treated pure collagen with hydrogen peroxide. The observations clearly revealed that exposure to hydrogen peroxide oxidizes the protein collagen and leads to its fragmentation.

In a brief, its hard to avoid hydrogen peroxide, when whitening is in your mind. If you can’t get out of your want, you can’t get rid of hydrogen peroxide. This is so because all whiteners pretty much contain this ingredient. In fact, it is a proven outcome that people who are too crazy for making their teeth appear whiter and frequently use these strips for the purpose, also face sensitivity issues in their later lives. This is probably due to the damage of the dentin layer that constitutes the maximum mass of your tooth.

Tips to Get your Child into Oral Hygiene Habits


Start off with Your Dental Visits Early:

If you as a parent, have some kind of dental anxiety, you are quite likely to be passing down those fears to your kids even without realizing that. Starting off with the dental appointments as soon as the first tooth of the baby appears help erase dental fears from your child in future. This is indeed more important rather than visiting the pediatric dentist only after being plagued with fear about cavities or other problems.

This practice among parents, also help dentists problem areas before they become serious! A treatment plan can also be chalked out accordingly. Moreover, the more the child sees a dentist, the more dental hygiene practices can be instilled in him.

 Be Careful of the Drinks:

It is commonly known that sugary beverages are not good for the teeth. The fact behind this is that bacteria get to feed on the sugar content that is left back on your teeth. The sugar content breaks down into acids that attack the enamel of your teeth. This leads to decay and eventual formation of cavities in your baby’s teeth. Thus, drinks that are to be avoided are – sweetened fruit juices, chocolate drinks, aerated soft drinks, too much of formula feed etc. Even if they are consumed at times, two norms need to be strictly followed:

    • Wipe the baby’s teeth with wet cloth or tissue even after having the drink.
    • Preferably make the child use sippy cup or a refillable bottle, such that liquid does not wash the child’s teeth as far as possible.

Sugary drinks taste good. Especially therefore, they are very dear to kids and hence, weeding them out is not going to be easy, but that is the best thing that can be done for the child’s long term benefit.

 Preferably, Lead by Example

No matter whichever practice it is, your children take cues from you, sometimes even without you noticing it. Therefore, your pediatric dentist would highly advice you to make brushing and flossing a family activity every morning and bedtime too. If your mornings are too hectic make sure that this is a regular practice at least once a day! Also keep in mind that brushing should last for at least two minutes and cover all surfaces of the teeth and tongue.

However, if your child is under age two, then you must be brushing and flossing for them.

Finally, there are brushing apps nowadays to help kids! Most brushing apps for children, try making a game out of brushing and flossing every day. You can also create a chart to track progress and reward your children for their good behavior along the way. Eventually, you will notice that the habits will become so routine that rewards are no longer needed to serve as incentives.

Tooth Discoloration – Some Significant Causes

The bulk of cosmetic dentistry cases can be attributed to tooth discoloration. Therefore, measures to prevent your teeth from getting stained are perhaps among the most researched topics in the dental arena. Going deeper into the matter, one gets to reveal that some of our regular habits are actually responsible for this menace.

To enlist the most probable causes of tooth discoloration, the following needs an elaborate mention in this post.

Some Foods:

Simply speaking, foods that would permanently satin your white shirt would damage the color of your enamel too. Certain eatables such as berries, tomato sauces, soy source, coloured lollies, acidic foods and a range of others can stain your teeth when eaten in excess. In saying this, we do not recommend stopping eating these foods completely. Just be aware and consume in moderation, ensuring that your rinse/brush your teeth after meals.


Your regular addictions such as tea, coffee, sports drinks and even wine can cause staining. Carbonated soft drinks and sweetened fruit juices are equally contributory factors in case teeth staining. What is usually recommended is:

  • Partial cutting down on drinking these beverages in excess
  • Using a straw whenever possible and
  • Washing the teeth after consumption

It must be carefully noted that drinking hot and cold liquids immediately one after the other allow stains to penetrate deeper into the teeth. This is because the reverses in temperature causes alternate expansion and contraction of the teeth enamel! So, do not rinse your mouth immediately after sipping in to a cup of simmering hot coffee. A few minutes’ gap needs to be necessarily maintained.

An Improper Dental Hygiene:

Quite naturally, if you do not brush and floss your teeth regularly, your teeth become prone to staining. This is because the bacteria settle down in your oral cavity, feeds on the left over food particles turning them into acids. These acids attack the tooth enamel thus making them lose their natural shine and luster in course of time.


Ageing leads to the wearing down of the teeth enamel. When the enamel wears down, your teeth starts getting discolored the same way as in case of poor oral health candidates. in this case, there are no significant preventive measures and services like teeth-whitening or veneers are the only set of solutions available.


Both chewing and smoking tobacco causes tooth discoloration and should be avoided.

Some Physical Ailments and Medications:

The number of health hazards that may affect your tooth enamel are many. However, cancer affects the dental health of an individual significantly and the chemotherapy drugs plus the antibiotics tetracycline and doxycycline are heavily responsible for darkening of your teeth.


Sometimes, simply your heredity is solely responsible for crooked, misaligned or even discolored teeth!

Just like the causes of tooth discoloration, the solutions are also many in number. Being the most common cosmetic issue nowadays, dental science is equipped with several measures to redo your discolored teeth, such as professional teeth whitening, lumineers, veneers and so on. You can discuss the options personally with your dentist and find out which method suits your dental condition as well as your budget!