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TMJ Pain Treatment Options

TMJ Pain Treatment OptionsTMJ Pain Treatment Options

TMJ, or temporomandibular joint, refers to the joint located in front of the ears on both sides of the head. These joints and the surrounding ligaments and muscles connect the mandible, or lower jawbone, to the temporal bone of the skull. There are discs located between each joint that cushion the bones of the joints to enable smooth, painless movement. The TMJs are responsible for jaw movements that facilitate eating, speaking, and producing facial expressions.

TMJ Dysfunction – What Is It?

There will be instances when a person’s TMJs will become disconnected or improperly seated. When this happens, the nearby muscles work overtime to hold the jaw in proper position. Unfortunately, these muscles eventually become fatigued and swollen and put stress on local nerves. This condition is known as TMJ dysfunction or disorder (TMJD or TMD).

According to a trusted Laurel MD dentist, TMJ disorder causes intense pain and discomfort of various parts of the body, including the jaw, mouth, face, ears, neck, shoulders, and back. Some patients even experience tingling toes and fingers. Other symptoms of this disorder include toothaches, sinus problems, headaches and migraines, pain when chewing or yawning or when opening or closing the jaw, facial tension, clicking, and locked jaw.

TMJ disorder can be caused by one or more factors. The most common causes are:

  • Trauma to the jaw joint
  • Ear infections
  • Improper placement or adjustment of dental fillings
  • Grinding and/or clenching of the teeth
  • Bad occlusion
  • Osteo or rheumatoid arthritis and other types of autoimmune disorders

TMJ Pain Treatment Options

Dentists and other health practitioners offer various types of TMJ pain treatment.

Certain medications are needed to supplement nonsurgical treatments. These medicines can help relieve the pain associated with TMJ disorder. Pain relievers, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs, tricyclic antidepressants, and muscle relaxants can help relieve pain caused by TMJ disorders.

Recommended non-surgical, drug-free, and alternative therapies for TMJD include:

The use of oral splints or mouth guards or occlusal appliances

Many patients suffering from jaw pain can benefit from wearing a soft or firm device inserted over their teeth.

Physical therapy

Your dentist or healthcare provider will use ultrasound, moist heat and ice to provide pain relief. You will also have to do exercises to stretch and strengthen your jaw muscles.


An acupuncture specialist will treat the chronic pain by inserting hair-thin needles in your jaw and other areas on your body.

Relaxation techniques

Practicing the right breathing techniques can help you relax tense muscles which, in turn, can reduce pain.

If these methods won’t provide pain relief, you will be recommended to undergo surgery or other medical procedures. These include arthrocentesis, a minimally invasive procedure which involves the medical practitioner inserting small needles into the joint so that fluid can be irrigated through the joint to remove debris and inflammatory byproducts. Other options that may also be recommended are TMJ arthroscopy, modified condylotomy, and    open-joint surgery.

To find out which TMJ pain treatment options are best for you, make sure you have a thorough discussion with your Burtonsville dentist. Don’t suffer with pain from TMJ, contact Nicholas Dental Care today and allow them to help you get rid of your dental pain.



The Top 4 Myths and Facts About Root Canal Treatment

Root Canal TreatmentThe Top 4 Myths and Facts About Root Canal Treatment

Root canal treatment is a dental procedure recommended by dentists when there is trauma or infection in the nerve or pulp found in a tooth’s canal. The trauma or infection can be caused by various reasons or factors, which include the following:

  • The presence of abscess or decay, also known as an infection, on a tooth.
  • Trauma or injury on the tooth, such as a chipped or broken tooth, which results in the exposure of the nerve.
  • The slow death of a tooth due to aging or previous trauma which was not treated immediately.

Root Canal Therapy Myths and Facts

Leading Burtonsville, MD dentist, Dr. Aaron Nicholas says that root canal therapy is widely regarded as the most feared dental procedure. However, this is mainly due to the inaccurate information many people have about this treatment.

Below are some of the most common root canal therapy myths and the truth behind them:

  1. Myth: Root canal therapy is painful.

Fact: According to a study published by the American Association of Endodontists, the perception that people have about root canal therapy being painful comes from the early treatment methods used to perform this procedure. Dental experts also say that if you are already suffering from pain on the day of your treatment, your apprehension and fear may heighten the sensations you feel during the procedure.

In actuality, root canal therapy is done to provide pain relief to patients. Majority of people who undergo this dental procedure admit they did not experience any pain during the treatment and that they felt better afterwards.

  1. Myth: Your tooth has to hurt really bad before you can undergo root canal therapy.

Fact: You don’t have to be suffering from a really bad toothache for a dentist to recommend root canal therapy. In many cases, teeth that are already dead but are not at all painful may require root canal treatment to prevent the tooth from becoming further infected.

  1. Myth: There is no immediate need to undergo root canal therapy since the tooth will be taken out eventually.

Fact: There is no correct reason to assume that the treated tooth will still be extracted in the future. In general, most root canal treatments are successful and will result in the tooth being saved.

  1. Myth: You will have to visit your dentist several times to complete the therapy.

Fact: Your Burtonsville dentist can complete the therapy in one to two appointments. However, there are various factors that have to be considered to determine the number of appointments needed to complete a root canal procedure. These include the extent of the infection and the difficulty of the procedure. Also, tooth restoration is essential after the procedure to make it functional again. Leading dentists say that the appointments needed to completely restore the tooth should not be considered part of the root canal procedure.

If you still have additional questions about an upcoming root canal treament, contact the professionals at Nicholas Dental Care today!



What Causes Tooth Decay?

Tooth DecayWhat Causes Tooth Decay?

According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, dental caries, more popularly known as tooth decay, are some of the most common chronic diseases in both kids and adults. This is despite the fact that it is a preventable condition.

But what exactly causes tooth decay?

Tooth decay is caused by a diverse number of factors. A Laurel, MD dentist lists the most common causes below.

Poor Oral Hygiene

If you do a poor job of cleaning your teeth, you become more vulnerable to getting tooth decay.

How do you take good care of your teeth and gums? Brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once a day. Brush your teeth for at least two minutes and remember to clean your tongue as well.

Enamel Issues and Deep Tooth Crevices

If you have either of the two, or both, you are highly likely to get tooth decay. This is because the bacteria and plaque in your mouth have room to grow.

To counter this problem, ask your dentist about dental sealants.

Poor Nutrition

If your diet consists of lots of food which are rich in sugar, carbohydrates and acid, you may face tooth decay sooner or later.

Try your best to keep these foods to a minimum and replace these with healthier fare.

Dry Mouth

The saliva in your mouth helps keep the bacterial population inside in check. However, if you are a diabetic, if you are taking medications that affect saliva protection, or if you have a genetic condition, your mouth may become dry and leave you at risk of tooth decay.


Bruxism or teeth grinding while sleeping wears away the teeth’s enamel. This leaves your teeth vulnerable to the attack of the bacteria in your mouth.

Keep bruxism in check by wearing a night or bite guard. You may also consider practicing relaxation techniques.


Some people are, simply put, more vulnerable to tooth decay because of the genes they inherited from their parents.


Tooth decay can become prevalent during old age. However, age may be just one part of a larger equation. Other age-related factors that may come into play include medications which dry the mouth, poor oral hygiene, and recession of gums.

Not Seeing Your Dentist

Good oral hygiene can only do so much for your teeth and gums. You also need to visit your dentist regularly to help keep your mouth healthy.

Regular visits to your dentist in Burtonsville allows you to get your teeth professionally cleaned. These checkups are also a good way for you and your dentist to keep potential problems like tooth decay in check.

Dental Crown Facts | Here’s What You Need to Know

Dental Crown FactsDental Crown Facts

Dental crowns are one of the more versatile dental treatments currently available. These tooth-shaped caps are used for the restoration of the size and strength of teeth. Dental Crowns may also be used to improve the appearance of your teeth. The professionals at Nicholas Dental Care share a few dental crown facts that can help you.

When is a Dental Crown Recommended?

According to a Laurel, MD dentist, a dental crown can be used for different situations.

If you have a tooth weakened by tooth decay, a broken or worn down tooth, or a tooth with a large filling, your dentist may recommend the use of a dental crown.

Dental crowns may also be used to hold dental bridges, as a covering for discolored or misshapen teeth, as a cover for dental implants, or for other cosmetic modifications.

Kids can also benefit from crowns. They may be used for teeth severely damaged by tooth decay, for protection of the teeth that are at high risk for tooth decay, and for patients who may not use general anesthesia.

There are several types of crowns currently available today. These include crowns fabricated out of stainless steel, metals like gold alloy and base metal alloy, porcelain fused to metal, resin, ceramic or porcelain, and zirconia or milled crown.

There are also temporary and permanent crowns. A temporary crown is usually fabricated in the dental office while permanent crowns are made in a dental laboratory. Temporary crowns are usually used until the permanent crown has been fabricated.

How are Dental Crowns Installed?

In order to have a dental crown installed on your tooth, you will need to visit your dentist twice.

During the initial visit, your dentist will need to take X-rays of your teeth in order to ensure that the tooth that is receiving the crown is healthy and is not infected.

Afterwards, your dentist will administer anesthesia and then file down the chewing surface and sides of the tooth that will receive the crown. The amount that needs to be removed will depend on the type of crown that will be used. In cases wherein the tooth does not have sufficient mass, the dentist will instead use filling material to support the crown.

Once your dentist is done reshaping your tooth, he or she will apply a paste or putty to make an impression of the tooth. Here, your dentist needs to make sure that the crown will not affect your bite. Once the impressions have been taken, these will be sent to the dental lab to fabricate your crown.

It usually takes two to three weeks to fabricate crowns. If the crown is made out of porcelain, your dentist will need to choose a shade that matches the color of the nearby teeth. Before going home, your dentist will install a temporary crown.

Follow Up Visit 

On your next visit, your dentist will install the permanent crown. Your dentist will need to check the color and fit of the crown before cementing it permanently into place. If the color or fit needs adjustment, the crown will be modified.

With proper care, dental crowns can last up to 15 years. A dental crown does not require significant additional care. However, you will need to practice good oral hygiene and avoid chewing and biting on hard objects as well as grinding and clenching your teeth.

The Downsides of a Dental Crown 

Be aware that dental crowns have a few downsides including discomfort and sensitivity. Crowns can also be chipped, become loose, or even fall off. If you have chosen a porcelain-fused-to-metal crown, a dark line on the crowned tooth may develop.

Contact your local dentist in Burtonsville at Nicholas Dental Care to discuss more dental crown facts and options.


Tooth Restoration | What Options Do You Have?

Tooth RestorationYour Different Options for Tooth Restoration

Dentistry now offers a variety of reliable methods to restore missing or damaged teeth. If you wish to regain your original smile, your dentist has a ready solution for you.

So what are the different types of tooth restoration? A Laurel, MD dentist listed five of the most common options to choose from:


Dental bridges are false teeth that are used to “bridge” the space created by one missing tooth or a few missing teeth. They are anchored to the surrounding teeth, which are “crowned” and cemented securely into place. For bridges to be placed properly, it’s imperative that there are enough gums and bone, and that the surrounding teeth are stable enough to serve as an anchor to the bridge.


Dental Crowns are tooth-shaped “covers” or “caps” commonly used for teeth that have been root canaled and need to be protected from further damage. They are also used to hold bridges securely in place, and to cover dental implants.


Dentures are false teeth worn to replace missing teeth. They are removable and are made from acrylic resin and at times combined with a metal attachment. These come in partial and complete designs; partial dentures are used if there are remaining natural teeth, while those who have lost all their teeth use complete dentures.


Fillings are applied to teeth that have been damaged by cavities. The common materials for fillings are gold, silver amalgam, and tooth-colored plastic materials called composite resin fillings. Among these three, gold and silver amalgams are considered the most durable material, but composite resin is the most aesthetically pleasing. Fillings last for many years, but they do not prevent the spread of cavities if proper oral hygiene is not practiced regularly. When leaks appear, fillings need to be replaced.


Dental implants are permanent teeth replacements because they also include the replacement of tooth roots. Titanium posts are placed into the bone socket where teeth are missing, and they’re covered with a crown. Among the different kinds of tooth restorations, implants are the most expensive. They take a lot of work and not everybody is automatically qualified for the procedure. Dentists make sure that those who want or need implants are in completely good oral health in order to prevent complications during and after the procedure. Those who are not recommended for implants are patients with diabetes and cancer who have weakened immune systems; those who are highly prone to infection, and those who do not heal as quickly.

Contact your Laurel, MD dentist to discuss which method of tooth restoration is right for you. The friendly professionals at Nicholas Dental Care are dedicated to helping you maintain a confident smile.


Gingivitis Facts – What You Should Know

Gingivitis FactsA Few Gingivitis Facts You Need To Know

Gingivitis is one of the most dreaded dental diseases because it’s a “gateway” condition – it can easily lead to more serious complications. Moreover, it’s also one of the easiest to acquire. Therefore it is important to be informed about gingivitis. It’s important to know how it happens and what happens to you if you get it. When you have that knowledge you can take the right steps to avoid it.

Gingivitis Facts # 1 – You are an easy target

Gingivitis is easy to acquire because it stems from plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that forms in the mouth. It can also form on teeth surfaces, on the gums and on the tongue. Plaque is naturally occurring and constantly forming. In other words, everybody has it, all the time.

Thus, it’s absolutely important to maintain a strict brushing, flossing and professional dental cleaning schedule to get rid of plaque effectively. When you are inconsistent with keeping your teeth and gums clean, plaque can build up, harden, and become a magnet for bacteria that can cause damage to gum tissue.

Gingivitis Facts # 2 – It’s treatable – if you act fast

The good news is that gingivitis is the earliest stage and sign of gum disease, so it doesn’t affect the bones and tissues connected to the teeth and gums yet. The condition can be reversed if addressed quickly. Watch out for tell-tale signs that include swollen and bleeding gums, receding gums, shifting teeth due to weak gums, and bad breath. However, sometimes the symptoms may not be obvious to the naked eye. Regular visits to your Burtonsville dentist will ensure the disease will be caught during the early stages.

Gingivitis Facts # 3 – A solid dental care regimen is a must

The only way to stop gingivitis in its tracks is to practice good oral hygiene.

Brush and floss at least two times a day

Make sure to use proper brushing and flossing techniques that will enable you to remove all food particles and thoroughly clean your mouth.

Commit to regular, professional cleaning

No matter how disciplined you are about cleaning your mouth, you will still need professional cleaning to control tartar buildup and to get rid of debris and bacteria, especially in areas that your toothbrush and floss can’t reach.

Follow a healthy lifestyle

When you eat right, you are providing good nutrition to keep your teeth, gums and jawbones strong and healthy. When you avoid unhealthy habits such as eating sugary treats and smoking cigarettes, you are reducing your risks of acquiring gum disease.

For more advice on attaining optimal health for your teeth and gums, contact your Laurel, MD dentist today.

How to Prevent Gum Disease

Prevent Gum DiseaseHow You Can Prevent Gum Disease

There’s no doubt about it – when you invest in your dental health, you also invest in your total health and well-being, personal relationships, career growth, and the ability to enjoy life’s simple pleasures.

When you take care of your family’s teeth and gums, you are also saving them from the pain and repercussions of acquiring one of the most dreaded consequences of dental health neglect: gum disease.

Plaque Buildup

Also called periodontal disease, gum disease stems from plaque buildup. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria found on the teeth. It forms constantly, thus it needs to be removed regularly through brushing, flossing and professional dental cleaning.

Without proper and consistent oral care, plaque becomes a breeding ground for bacteria, causing infections and inflammation in the gums. This leads to bleeding, weakening of the tooth structure, tooth decay, bad breath, tooth gaps, and eventually, permanent tooth loss.

Preventing gum disease effectively requires a personal commitment to good dental hygiene, and at the same time, investment in quality professional dental care. The following are important steps to keeping yourself and your loved ones away from gum disease.

Be on the lookout for early symptoms

There is a chance for gingivitis, or early stage gum disease, to still be reversed if addressed promptly. So keep an eye out for early signs such as puffy gums and bleeding while brushing. However, in some cases there are no obvious symptoms – you may not be able to see or feel anything at all. That’s why regular dental checkups are important, so the dentist can detect the symptoms that may be seemingly invisible to you.

Brush and floss religiously

The recommendation is to brush at least two times a day and to use floss or interdental cleaners. Dentists often advise patients to go beyond the recommended minimum, especially on the days when you are eating sugary food and beverages.

Make sure you are brushing properly

Incorrect brushing techniques may not be able to do a thorough clean and might leave food particles still stuck in between the teeth. Your dental team can show you the proper brushing angles, movements and timing to make sure you are cleaning your teeth and gums well.

Avoid smoking cigarettes or chewing tobacco

Studies have shown that nicotine consumption or exposure can increase the risk of periodontal disease.

Have your teeth cleaned professionally on a regular basis

Do this to deep clean hard-to-reach areas and to eliminate hardened plaque that can’t be removed with regular brushing.

To learn more about how to prevent gum disease, contact your trusted Laurel, MD dentist at Nicholas Dental Care.

Common Signs of an Abscessed Tooth

Abscessed ToothSigns of an Abscessed Tooth 

Need another reason to take better care of your oral health? Two words: abscessed tooth.

What is an abscessed tooth?

An abscessed tooth occurs when the root of your tooth or the area between a tooth and the gum has become infected. It has a few causes, the most common of which is tooth decay. Other possible causes include gum disease and trauma.

Whatever the cause of your abscessed tooth may be, the common denominator is the creation of an opening in the affected tooth’s enamel. Those openings pave the way for bacteria to enter the tooth and infect and damage the pulp, which is located in the center of the tooth. Left unchecked and untreated, the infection can spread to other areas, including the bones which support the affected tooth.

Severe Toothache

The most common sign of an abscessed tooth is severe toothache which can vary from throbbing pain to shooting pain. Apart from toothaches, other common symptoms of an abscessed tooth include fever, painful chewing, sensitivity to hot and/or cold, bad breath and bitter taste, swelling of the neck glands, swelling and redness of the gums, swelling of the jaws, and a sore on the side of the affected gum.

Sometimes, the pulp of the affected tooth dies. In this instance, the toothache will usually stop. However, this does not necessarily mean that the infection is gone. On the contrary, the infection can quietly spread and wreak havoc on nearby tissue. This is why it is crucial to immediately seek the help of a Laurel, MD dentist if you experience the symptoms listed above.

Determining If You Have an Abscessed Tooth

In order to determine whether you truly have an abscessed tooth, your dentist will probe your teeth using a dental instrument. If you do have an abscessed tooth, you will feel pain when the suspected tooth is tapped. During this dental visit, your dental will also ask you to bite down and ask you if you feel any pain. Your dentist will also conduct a visual inspection and may take an X-ray of your mouth.

If your dentist confirms that you have an abscessed tooth, he or she will create a treatment plan which has three key goals: remove the infection, preserve the affected tooth, and prevent further complications.

In order to eliminate the infection, you will need to undergo root canal therapy. In some cases, dentists will recommend root surgery for the removal of the dead root tissue. In other cases, there is no recourse but to extract the infected tooth and allow the drainage of the abscess. Another option for the drainage of the abscess is the incision of the swollen gum.

Your local Burtonsville dentist will also prescribe antibiotics to fight the infection and pain relievers for the pain and discomfort.