Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions from our dentistry patients. If you have any questions / concerns that are not answered here please click here to contact us and we’d be more than happy to answer them!

What is TMJ?

TMJ is the acronym for temporomandibular joint(s). The TMJ is located just in front of the ear, where the jawbone connects to the skull on either side of the head.

What is TMJD?

TMJD is a painful disorder of the TMJ. TMJD often leads to a wide range of uncomfortable and disabling symptoms commonly mistaken for other conditions, like ear pain, arthritis or sinus problems.

What causes TMJD?

The most common cause of TMJD is a bad bite, or malocclusion, where your jaw is out of alignment. This leads to the constant stress of the muscles, nerves, and connective tissue of your jaw.

What Are the Symptoms Of TMJD?

The most common TMJD symptoms include soreness of the jaw and teeth, as well as frequent, migraine-strength headaches. Sometimes symptoms also include frequent ringing in the ears (tinnitus), clicking or popping of the jaw, neck and back pain, and even pain and tingling in the arms or hands.

How Do I Know If I Have TMJD?

The only way to know for sure is to be examined by a neuromuscular dentist like Dr. George. If you have some combination of severe headaches and jaw or tooth pain, and your doctor cannot locate the cause or give satisfactory treatment, it is a good idea to see if you are suffering from TMJD.

How Does Dr. George Diagnose TMJD?

Dr. George utilizes advanced state-of-the-art equipment to diagnose TMJD. This can include computerized instruments like the Myotronics K-7, a device designed to measure and track jaw and muscle information to gather critical information about your bite, electromyographic muscle analysis, and sonographic joint analysis in addition to the joint X-rays.

How Is TMJD Treated?

The TMJD treatment procedure is broken into three steps. First, Dr. George will seek to relieve your pain and symptoms over the short-term. Then she will stabilize your bite to prevent further damage to the TMJs and your teeth. Finally, she uses long-term treatment options to permanently correct your bite. She may use some combination of the following:

  • Coronoplasty—In this process, she reshapes your tooth enamel to help slightly misaligned teeth fit better.
  • Removable overlays—She may give you permanent orthotics that fit over your teeth to maintain bite alignment.
  • Reconstruction—In this procedure, porcelain crowns are placed on teeth to make them higher and better-fitted to provide structural support for the jaw.
  • Orthodontics—If your teeth are healthy, Dr. George may recommend Neuromuscular braces to move them into the correct position.
How Long Will My TMJD Treatment Take?

You should see rapid relief from symptoms, but the length of treatment depends on how the severity of the condition. When TMJD is caught early, most patients have a shorter course of treatment. If you suspect you have the symptoms of TMJD, please contact Dr. George today at 724-934-3422 to set up your initial consultation.

What are the benfits of porcelain tooth crowns?

Porcelain crowns are a natural, strong, and durable tooth replacement option for patients who have suffered serious damage to the visible portion of their teeth. Porcelain crowns can help return strength and structure to teeth that have been damaged by tooth decay, injury, tooth grinding or TMJD, giving form and function back to the mouth.

Who is a candidate for porcelain crowns?

Tooth crowns are ideal for patients who have suffered some tooth damage or loss, or who require extensive restructuring of individual teeth.

Are tooth crowns strong enough to withstand normal use?

Yes. Porcelain crowns are manufactured from a specially formulated dental ceramic material that is stronger and more durable than your natural teeth. They function just like regular teeth through chewing and speaking.

How long will the dental crown procedure take?

Your porcelain tooth crown procedure will be completed over the course of two office visits. During your first visit, your tooth will be fully prepared by removing of decayed tooth structure and preparing the surface to ensure a strong, permanent bond for your new porcelain crown. We will then take a custom digital scan of your tooth that we will use to create your tooth crown.

During your second visit, Dr. George will place your crown and make any necessary adjustments. We will then use a special permanent bonding cement to affix your new crown

How long will my porcelain crowns last?

When properly cared for and maintained, your new porcelain crown can last more than ten years. Patients should practice good dental hygiene and brush and floss their crown regularly as they would with a natural tooth to extend the life of the restoration. Be sure to schedule regular checkups with Dr. George to have professional cleanings and so that she can make sure your crown is still in good shape.

What are tooth-colored fillings?

Tooth colored fillings, also known as white fillings, are a type of dental fillings made of composites or resins. Tooth colored fillings restore the natural appearance of the tooth that has been damaged by tooth decay. Tooth colored fillings are an excellent way to change the color of damaged teeth cosmetically, and can also be used to change the size and shape of teeth, too.

What are the advantages of tooth-colored fillings?

There are numerous advantages of tooth colored fillings. One advantage is that they can be designed to closely match your natural tooth color and appearance, which makes them undetectable in any part of your smile.

Another advantage of tooth colored fillings is that they can bond tightly to the teeth, unlike metal amalgam or gold fillings. This ability gives back strength to the teeth.

Many patients opt to have tooth colored fillings when replacing their metal amalgam fillings.

Is tooth whitening for me?

Tooth whitening is a popular and effective option for people who want to whiten and brighten their smiles.

What are my tooth whitening options?

We offer two types of tooth whitening: in-office and take-home tooth whitening procedures. In-office whitening is done in just a single visit and can whiten your teeth quickly, whereas take-home tooth whitening is done over the course of several treatments, depending on your specific needs. Either option is effective in whitening teeth and rejuvenating your appearance. We now offer Kör Whitening, a high-quality tooth-whitening system that yields phenomenal results.

Can all teeth be whitened effectively using these procedures?

In most cases. Teeth whitening affects individuals differently, so results may vary. With Kör Whitening, patients with teeth that have been darkened due to illness, injury, decay, or from certain chemicals such as tetracycline, may see improvements. If your teeth do not respond to tooth whitening techniques, they can still be treated using porcelain veneers and dental bonding.

How long will my tooth whitening last?

The results of take-home whitening kits last about 4 months on average. Professional tooth whitening performed by Dr. George will last over a year or more. You can prolong the results of your tooth whitening with proper dental hygiene and by avoiding certain foods and beverages like tobacco, red wine, coffee, and other foods and beverages that can stain your teeth.

Can I have my teeth whitened again in the future?

Yes. Many patients choose to have their teeth whitened regularly when the effects begin to dull or teeth become discolored. Dr. George can go over all your teeth whitening options when you make an appointment!

What is gum disease?

Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, is a condition in which the gums begin to deteriorate due to bacterial infections. This is usually caused by a buildup of plaque around the teeth and under the gum line.

Is gum disease really that serious?

Yes. Gum disease, if left untreated, can cause a range of symptoms, from soreness, bleeding, and bad breath, tooth loss, and other serious dental problems. Gum disease has been linked to many health conditions like diabetes, respiratory disease, prostate cancer, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, dementia, and low birth weight.

What are the symptoms of gum disease?

Common symptoms of gum disease include soreness and bleeding of the gums, swelling of the gums, gum shrinking or a receding gum line, and teeth that feel loose or wobbly. Some patients also develop persistent bad breath or a sore throat because of gum disease.

What treatments are available?

We offer treatments for every stage of gum disease. For early gum problems, a thorough cleaning can often halt and even reverse the effects of gum disease. For more advanced gum problems, gum treatment might include a procedure called a root scale and planing. Other options include surgery to remove diseased or damaged tissue. Dr. George offers laser gum therapy, a noninvasive, nonsurgical option to remove tissue and heal gums.

How can I prevent gum disease?

The best way to prevent gum disease is to practice good oral hygiene habits of brushing and flossing every day. The American Dental Association recommends that you brush at least twice per day and floss at least once per day. Also, be sure to schedule (and keep!) your regular dental checkups with Dr. George. Not only can your dentist detect and treat gum disease in its earliest stages, but regular tooth cleanings can prevent gum disease from occurring in the first place.

Why would a dentist treat sleep apnea? Isn't it a breathing problem?

Yes, sleep apnea is a breathing problem, but the cause of sleep apnea often lies in the soft tissues of the throat. During sleep, these tissues become very relaxed, and fall into the throat, blocking the airway. Depending on the severity of the blockage, some patients will stop breathing. This can happen between 30 to over 100 times in a night in severe cases.

In addition to providing high quality complete dental care and restorative dentistry, Dr. George is also trained to treat patients for sleep apnea. In fact, Dr. George is your best choice for a safe, effective anti-snoring or sleep apnea treatment.

How do I know if I have sleep apnea?

Many sleep apnea sufferers don’t even know they have the condition. Signs of sleep apnea include excessive daytime fatigue, even with a full night’s sleep; insomnia, nightmares, sleep deprivation, or snoring. Your partner may also complain that you are snoring loudly or gasping in your sleep.

Why should I get tested for sleep apnea?

Snoring is an annoyance. Sleep apnea is a serious health condition. Sleep can create serious health problems. Sleep apnea interrupts your sleep, whether you are aware of it or not, causing you to awaken during the night to catch your breath partially. Both the sleeplessness and lack of oxygen flow to the brain caused by sleep can cause serious, even fatal, health problems, like high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and pulmonary complications.

Sleep apnea can also cause oral health complications, like dry mouth and damaged enamel. Tooth grinding and enamel damage is a frequent symptom of sleep apnea patients.

Are sleep apnea treatments safe?

Yes. We provide our sleep apnea patients with custom-fit dental appliances that keep their airways clear and open during sleep. These dental appliances safely and effectively reduce or eliminate snoring and provide patients with the restful night’s sleep they need. No drugs, loud machines, or surgery is necessary.

How do I know if a dental appliance is right for me?

During your consultation, we will do a thorough examination of your mouth and throat to determine whether your snoring problem can be resolved with a dental appliance, or if your condition is being caused by something else. If we determine that your snoring is caused by a medical condition that cannot be resolved in our office, we will refer you to your physician or a specialist for appropriate treatment.

Showing signs of sleep apnea? Dr. George can help!

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