Side view of a human skull with the muscles and ligaments around the temporomandibular joint of the jaw

TMJ is short for temporomandibular joint, which is the joint that lets you open and close your jaw. When there’s something wrong with your TMJ, it can cause a whole lot of pain in your jaw that radiates throughout your face, neck, and upper back. You can also experience frequent headaches.

How a Mouthguard Can Help TMJ Issues

Treatment depends on the severity of your TMJ dysfunction (TMD). One possible option is a custom mouthguard. A mouthguard for TMD works in a variety of ways. It stops you from clenching and grinding because it acts as a barrier between your upper and lower teeth. It also repositions your jaw so that you have a less problematic alignment. It helps your jaw muscles relax overall. All together, this means less pain and discomfort for you. Plus, a TMJ mouthguard offers a nonsurgical treatment option so you don’t necessarily have to go through jaw surgery.

Custom vs. Generic Mouthguards

While you can find a generic mouthguard online or at your local drugstore that’s advertised to help with TMJ issues, it’s safer and more effective to get one custom made instead. By leaving this beneficial oral appliance in the hands of a professional, you can rest assured that the device is specifically made for your teeth with the right alignment and fit. Not only will this be more comfortable for you but it’ll also work better. Plus, whatever you can find online may not be made with medical-grade materials and won’t prove to be a long-lasting investment.

Consult with Our Team!

If you have TMJ disorder and you’re interested in getting treatment, please contact Hermitage Dental Group. Our team offers a variety of TMJ therapies, including BOTOX injections, and we can help determine which one is right for you. Generally, we recommend the most conservative treatment possible before moving onto more aggressive treatments. Contact us today to learn more!

cropped closeup of Black woman sticking her tongue out against a yellow background

It’s important to brush and floss every day to protect your oral health. When you brush your teeth, you should also brush your tongue! There are many benefits to cleaning your tongue daily. Here are the main ones:

Removes Harmful Bacteria

Your tongue has a bumpy, porous surface that attracts both good and bad bacteria. If you neglect to brush your tongue, harmful bacteria can spread to your teeth and gums. Add daily tongue-brushing to your oral hygiene routine to help reduce your risk of developing cavities and gum disease. If it is hard to brush without gagging, stay consistent! You can train your gag reflex to be less sensitive with practice. Additionally, our team can provide personalized tips at your next checkup.

Improves Your Breath

The bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease produce strong odors. When you brush your tongue, you’re cleaning off the odor agents and making your mouth a cleaner, better-smelling place. If you are brushing your tongue every day and still struggle with chronic bad breath, schedule a visit to your dentist. You could be dealing with a problem, like gum disease or tooth decay, or another underlying health condition.

Prevents Problems Like Thrush

If you don’t brush your tongue, the yeast in your mouth can build up and result in an infection called oral thrush. Symptoms include a white film or blotches on your tongue, burning in your mouth, and a loss of taste. Oral thrush is typically treated with antifungal medication. But brushing your tongue daily can help prevent it from occurring.

We Can Help You Maintain Great Oral Health!

Brushing your tongue is a critical part of your daily oral hygiene routine. Professional cleanings and exams at the dentist every six months are also essential to help you avoid cavities, gum disease, and other issues. Hermitage Dental Group in Hermitage, TN, is proud to offer comprehensive dental services, like preventive dentistry, restorative dentistry, orthodontics, treatment for sleep apnea and temporomandibular joint dysfunction, and more. Please contact us today if you have any questions or want to book an appointment!

Illustration of a red-haired woman getting dental X-rays taken

It’s common to have X-rays taken of your mouth about once a year at your routine dental checkup. Dental X-rays are special images that help dentists identify problems underneath the surface of your teeth and gums. In conjunction with their visual examination, your dentist can obtain valuable insight from a dental X-ray regarding your jawbone, overall tooth structure, and bite alignment.

Dental X-rays use electromagnetic radiation to create images of your teeth, gums, and jawbone. An X-ray machine produces beams of high energy that pass through your soft tissues and are absorbed by denser materials, such as teeth and bones. These structures then show up as white on an X-ray. Dental X-rays can assess the jawbone, overall tooth structure, bite alignment, and more.

What Can Dental X-Rays Diagnose?

Dental X-rays can pinpoint an array of conditions, including:

  • Cavities – Cavities between teeth are not always visible to the naked eye but can be caught and identified with the help of dental X-rays.
  • Gum Disease – Dental X-rays can help determine the severity of gum disease by capturing the condition of the jawbone and tooth roots.
  • Impacted Teeth – The angle and positioning of impacted teeth, such as problematic wisdom teeth, as seen on a dental X-ray can help dentists create an effective treatment plan.
  • Temporomandibular Joint DisorderThe health and condition of the jaw joints can be seen on a dental X-ray.

Are Dental X-Rays Safe?

The amount of radiation used for digital X-ray technology is extremely low. Dental X-rays are generally considered a safe and effective diagnostic tool for most patients, especially since they are utilized fairly infrequently. Plus, patients wear a lead apron to minimize radiation exposure.

Safe Dental Care in Hermitage, TN

At Hermitage Dental Group, we take great pride in using state-of-the-art tools and equipment to provide comprehensive oral healthcare for our patients. We believe investment in our technology is an investment in our patient’s oral health and well-being. If you are ready to book an appointment, please contact us!

 

Image from Authority Dental under CC 2.0

roman sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that plagues many people. Sleep apnea causes people to temporarily stop breathing during REM sleep. Luckily, obstructive sleep apnea can be treated by dentists. Here’s what you need to know about sleep apnea and treatment options available at the dentist!

Types of Sleep Apnea

Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain fails to send proper signals to the lungs to breathe during sleep. Central sleep apnea is not treatable by dentists.

Obstructive sleep apnea is a form of sleep apnea that happens when the soft tissues in the back of the throat collapse and block the airway. This sleep disorder can be treated by your dentist!

Common Signs of Sleep Apnea

There are signs and symptoms you and loved ones can look out for to see if you may have sleep apnea. If you have any of the symptoms below, we recommend reaching out to a sleep specialist to get a sleep apnea consultation and diagnosis. Some of the signs are:

  • Chronic migraines and headaches
  • Clenching teeth
  • Difficulty focusing during the day
  • Feeling groggy after a full night’s sleep
  • Frequent loud snoring
  • Waking up gasping for air in the middle of the night

Sleep Apnea Dental Treatments

Obstructive sleep apnea can be treated by trained dentists. If you have sleep apnea and are struggling with a CPAP machine, you may be a great candidate for dental intervention.

Dentists treat obstructive sleep apnea by using oral appliance therapy. Oral appliance therapy is an upper and lower retainer specifically designed to reposition the jaw while you sleep. Oral appliance therapy keeps the jaw relaxed and prevents the soft tissues from collapsing and blocking the throat while you sleep.

Do you have obstructive sleep apnea and are curious about oral appliance therapy? At Hermitage Dental Group, we proudly offer sleep apnea treatment to help patients get the good night’s sleep they deserve. Please contact us to schedule your sleep apnea consultation!

Smiling Black woman with curly hair and a white bib talks to her dentist at her routine appointment

The American Dental Association recommends that patients see the dentist at least every six months. Many dental insurance plans and most in-house dental savers plans reflect this guidance by covering 2 dental exams and professional cleanings each year. These regular dental appointments are incredibly valuable.

Here are just a few benefits of regular dental visits:

Early Diagnosis for Prompt Treatment

Regular appointments allow our team at Hermitage Dental Group to keep a close eye on your oral health. When we see you every six months, we can track any potential problem areas so we can treat them before they become a major issue. For example, we might notice an area of early-stage tooth decay during your regular dental exam. Because we have identified the weakness early, we can apply a fluoride treatment and recommend how to improve your oral health habits at home, then conservatively wait and see if the area remineralizes by your next checkup before treating it with a filling. Without early intervention, cavities and other problem areas can get worse and even result in serious infection, requiring more invasive treatment like root canal therapy.

Recommendations to Improve Your Smile

During your visits, we can discuss ways to improve your smile’s appearance and function. Beyond maintaining the health of your teeth and gums with regular X-rays, dental exams, and professional cleanings,  we can recommend other services you may benefit from, such as clear aligners, teeth whitening, wisdom teeth removal, crowns, sleep apnea treatment, TMD therapy, and more.

Connection Between Your Family & Our Team

We want all of our patients to feel comfortable in our office and well-informed about their oral health.  Keeping up with your routine checkups allows our team to get to know you and your family so we can become trusted guides. This can make dental visits less stressful for you and your children. And you’re more likely to keep your appointments when you enjoy seeing our team and we can chat about what’s going on in your family’s life.

To ask our team any questions about our comprehensive dental services or to schedule appointments for your family, please contact us today!

A blue and white water flosser on a bathroom sink in front of a blue, white, and gray backsplash

If you’ve ever considered switching from traditional string floss to a water flosser, this is the article for you. In today’s blog post, we’re talking about the benefits of both methods, helping you to decide which one will be right for you.

Water Flossing

Water flossers are electronic devices that pump water into the mouth via a pressurized stream. That pressure is powerful enough to actually floss between your teeth! When using a water flosser, you have control over that pressure, as well as its pattern. You simply maneuver the device to clean between the teeth and gums. This allows you to stimulate the gum tissue and remove the bacteria that builds up between the teeth and under the gums.

Studies have shown that water flossers work just as well as, if not better than, traditional floss. Water flossers can be very helpful in accessing and cleaning hard-to-reach areas, especially for patients with braces and limited mobility. Water flossers can also help improve blood flow to the gums, which is important for your oral tissue to receive the nutrients it needs.

Traditional Floss

While water flossers have clear and undeniable benefits, that doesn’t mean that traditional floss doesn’t have its merits! String floss is the tried and true method for cleaning between the teeth, and it comes with a number of great benefits. Traditional floss can’t be beat for its portability and affordability. String floss is easy to use and you can do it just about anywhere.

Preventive Care in Hermitage, TN

Choose the flossing method, or combination, that you feel is right for you. We just want you to be flossing every single day to remove plaque and food debris from between your teeth and from under your gums. At your routine checkup, we’ll examine the health of your gums and let you know if we think you need to change your flossing technique or floss more frequently.

If your gums bleed when you floss, keep flossing and brushing your teeth every day! You likely need to improve your oral hygiene. If the bleeding persists, please notify our team!

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Brunette woman gets her teeth examined with a special dental mirror at her dentist in Hermitage, TN, during her routine dental visit

When life has you running from one thing to another, you may feel like there’s no extra room in your schedule for something like a trip to the dentist—especially if you feel like there’s nothing wrong with your teeth. We know it’s tempting to skip out on these routine dental visits! Here are some reasons why you shouldn’t delay your dental visits:

  • An Ounce of Prevention Is Worth a Pound of Cure

It’s far easier (not to mention cheaper) to prevent dental issues from developing rather than having to pay for treatment to fix them in the future. By keeping up with your routine dental appointments, you can stop problems from occurring in the first place and you can catch problems while they’re still small.

  • The Necessity of a Trained Eye

Not all dental issues are easily visible by the naked eye, especially if you don’t have specific training in spotting them. It’s also true that not all dental issues cause pain. It may be that you think everything is totally fine with your oral health, but a dental X-ray or a dentist’s trained eye could reveal the opposite. It’s always better to be safe than sorry and leave things in the hands of a professional!

  • The Importance of an Oral Cancer Check

During your regular dental visits, you’ll get a thorough teeth cleaning and an oral cancer screening. The great news is that oral cancer is highly treatable when caught early, so it’s in your best interest to make screenings a fixture in your annual healthcare.

  • The Mouth Is the Gateway to the Body

There’s a strong connection between your oral health and your overall health, and an issue in one can signal or lead to an issue in the other. Your routine dental visit isn’t just to take care of your smile; it will help contribute to a healthy body too!

  • A Healthy Smile Is Priceless

Having great dental health isn’t just good for your dental health. It is also good for your self-confidence! Additionally, your dental visit is a good opportunity to discuss cosmetic treatments that can improve your smile’s appearance. Living life behind a beautiful smile can give you the boost in self-esteem you need.

Ready to book your dental visit? Hermitage Dental Group is ready to welcome you to our office! Contact us today to set up your appointment.

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Image from Authority Dental under CC 2.0