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Can my TMJ pain and headaches be cured or do I have to live with them forever???

TMJ Image

  • What causes TMJ pain and headaches?
  • How do I make the pain stop and stay gone?
  • Why doesn’t my splint work?

Living with headaches and TMJ pain is not a way to live. The morning and afternoon throbbing. The pain and itch behind the eyes. The sore teeth and cheek biting. The stiff, sore neck. The days when everything hurts so badly you just want to sleep and hope you feel better when you wake up. Sucks to feel this way doesn’t it? I am not talking about what you’re feeling. I’m talking about myself. I suffered from all the symptoms of TMJ headaches, migraines, tension headaches, or any other name you want to call them. It’s what lead me to study what TMJ dysfunction (the technical name) is and how to treat it, for myself as much as my patients. What I found is that if you get ten dentists who specialize in TMJ dysfunction in a room you will get ten arguments as to the best way to treat it. And if you add in neurologist, chiropractors, and any other specialty you will get even more different opinions and arguments. I wasn’t looking for arguments. I was looking for answers to my own headache problems as well as my patients. And listening to all the different views I realized there is always more to treating TMJ problems than just making a dental splint. I have made hundreds of splints in my career. Some work and the patients get relief. And some splints don’t work at all. And usually when the splint did work my patient only had relief if they continually wear the splint. So the splint was not treating the TMJ dysfunction. It was just masking the symptoms.

So for myself and most of my patients I had to look further than just a splint. Here are some of the most common problems I see in my patients that contribute to their headaches.

  • “Bad bite” A bad bite usually involves two groups of teeth, molars and canines. Your molars are the large teeth in the back. The canines are the third teeth from the middle of your smile. When you chew side to side, not just bite down, your lower canines should bump into your upper canines and slide along them without your other teeth touching. Your molars should not touch at all during this time. If the molars touch it causes the muscles on the side of your face to heavily contract over and over all day. This causes sore teeth, worn teeth, crowns to pop off, and teeth to break. Ever have a crown that just never feels right? You’re probably bumping into it when you’re chewing, not when just close your teeth together. The only way to see if your molars are hitting when they shouldn’t be is with a Tekscan system.https://www.tekscan.com/dental The marking paper alone won’t show it. The Tekscan system tells us precisely where the teeth are hitting and when in the chewing cycle. Now we know where to adjust the bite to reduce muscle tension. This is a long video but it explains how adjusting the bite using computer guidance called DTR can instantly solve your headache problem if it is only bite related. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0xkJNF0l_E
  • Poor sleep If you don’t get sound restful sleep each night you may have sleep apnea. 90% of my sleep apnea patients also clench and grind their teeth. They report pain in their teeth, facial muscles, and neck muscles when they wake up and throughout the day. Their clenching and grinding has also usually caused them to have a bad bite. Many of my TMJ patients that have had their bite adjusted with the Tekscan and sometimes also splint therapy still report morning headaches. Most claim they sleep just fine. But when we test them with a home sleep study system they almost always have sleep apnea. At this point we make them a different type of splint that holds their jaw forward while they are sleeping. This controls their sleep apnea instead of a CPAP. I work with several sleep apnea appliances. My favorite is the Narval to treat sleep apnea.http://www.resmed.com/us/en/consumer/products/dental/narval.htmlMost of my sleep apnea patients only need a Narval appliance at night and their headaches decrease as their sleep quality improves.
  • Stress and Anxiety Pretty much all of my patients along with most people have a lot of stress in their lives. My patients tell me they carry their stress in their neck and shoulders. This causes their neck muscles to contract all day and night. You cannot lift your shoulders without eventually contracting your teeth. When the muscles that contract your teeth stay tight long enough they will cramp and develop trigger points. This is causing or at least adding to your headaches. Learning to breathe properly and getting your anxiety under control can be the key to controlling your headaches if nothing else is working. Here is another post I wrote about stress and breathing.https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/stress-sore-neck-because-i-am-breathing-right-maybe-dr-tony-soileau?trk=mp-reader-card
  • Muscle and skeletal imbalance We all know that every muscle in the body is connected at some point to the other muscles. Sometimes we don’t realize that a damaged muscle at one end of the body is causing a negative effect on a muscle at the other end of the body. The most common muscles to cause headaches are the face, neck, and back muscles. When these muscles stay tight they cause the head to be rotated slightly backwards. This in turn causes the muscles in the front of the neck and chest to stay contracted to pull the head forward. This imbalance causes the muscles to be fatigued and cramp causing both pain in the muscle and referred pain to the muscles of your face and neck. For this reason we have all our TMJ and sleep apnea patients screened by our in house massage therapist Candid Mouton. Many times she can correct a problem simply by stretching the muscles and rubbing out any trigger points. The alignment of your spinal cord can also cause headaches. If vertebrae C6 is out of alignment it usually causes headaches. For spinal cord issues with our TMJ patients we work closely with Dr. Brad Grizzaffi’s chiropractic office in Lafayette La, (337) 237-2273. I can adjust your bite. Candid can relax your muscles. But if you also have back and hip issues these must be corrected also for complete headache relief. Otherwise the splint and bite adjustment will help, but not solve the problem. Here are other of my posts on this topic. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140930133108-92475228-a-facial-or-massage-to-fix-a-sore-tooth?trk=mp-reader-card
    https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/i-have-terrible-migraines-see-dr-tony?trk=mp-reader-card
  • Sinuses While sinus problems are not directly related to TMJ dysfunction they do need to be considered. Sinus headaches can be just as bad and are often confused with tension headaches. It is important to know which one we are dealing with. Chronic sinus issues can also affect the quality of your sleep causing you to clench and grind your teeth. For both our TMJ and sleep apnea patients I work closely with Dr. Philip Noel in Lafayette La, (337) 991-0010. Dr. Noel is an ENT and sleep physician. Dr. Noel helps our patient with sinus issues and also treat their sleep apnea problems
  • Diet and medications Anything you eat or drink including medications can have both a positive and negative effect on the body. The problem I am often faced with is a patient taking a tremendous amount of medications from multiple doctors. Most of my patients want to feel better without all these medications. As a dentist it’s not really my role to get them off their meds. Also most patients are not getting the right nutrients in their diet to support their body. We work with Dr. Kelly Cobb in Lafayette La, (337) 266-9985. Dr. Cobb is an internist that helps patients sort through all their medications and test for what our patients are lacking to feel healthyThe successful treatment of TMJ dysfunction to alleviate the headaches and pain sometimes takes more than just one type medical or dental therapy. Does every patient I see have to visit all these different doctors? Of course not! Most cases are simple. A few bite adjustments and a massage from Candid to relieve the trigger point is usually all it takes to make the headaches go away. And some cases are more difficult. It’s like pealing an onion. You just keep pealing back the layers until you find the true source of the problem. You don’t have to live with pain.

    For more information about TMJ or other health problems you can email me at tony@louisianasleepsolutions.com or message me here on LinkedIn.

    I get a lot of emails every day from people with questions and I really do try to answer all of them.

    Or visit our websites www.smilesbysoileau.com and www.louisianasleepsolutions.com Both have lots of information for you.

    And of course you can call us. Our office number is 337 234 3551.

    Dr Tony Soileau

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Get Your Smile Ready For Your Bridal Photos

Bridal Smiles Email - v10

Your wedding day is one of the biggest days in a couple’s life. Your bridal and wedding day photos keep the memories alive for a lifetime. Don’t holdback your smile on your big day. Get your picture perfect smile with options like veneers, crowns, Invisalign, and Six Month Smile.

Like any other wedding plans, make sure to schedule your appointment a few months in advance.
Call 337-541-2761 or visit here to schedule your appointment.

To learn more about Veneers visit: http://www.smilesbysoileau.com/service/porcelain-veneers/

To learn more about Crowns visit: http://www.smilesbysoileau.com/service/porcelain-crowns/

To learn more about Invisalign and Six Month Smile visit: http://www.smilesbysoileau.com/service/six-month-smiles/

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Porcelain Veneers For A New Smile

From Average to Outstanding in Just a Few Steps

If you have crooked, worn, or broken teeth in your smile, veneers and crowns are a simple and quick way to a perfect smile! They can be used as an anti-aging procedure that can take years off your appearance. Or they can be used as instant braces that make your smile perfect in just weeks!

Do you need a porcelain veneers dentist in Acadiana to craft the smile you’ve always dreamed of? Do you have broken or stained teeth that you hope can be fixed one day? Or perhaps you want to fix those embarrassing gaps between your teeth?

  • Whether you wish to replace your old veneers, or if you are interested in getting veneers for the first time, we will expertly craft a flawless, shining smile for you to show off!
  • Our dentist recommend porcelain veneers to transform old smiles that have stained teeth, or serious dental problems, such as chipped/broken teeth, gaps, or irregularly shaped teeth.

Porcelain veneers are a shell-like material that is placed on the front of your tooth. They are created using porcelain, which makes them strong, stain-resistant, and long-lasting. This is dependent on your oral care and hygiene, of course.

A main benefit is that our veneers dentists can typically deliver this treatment in two office visits.

First veneers appointment

During your first appointment, we will prepare and/or re-shape the teeth involved.

After the tooth preparation, an impression of your teeth will be taken. This will be sent to the laboratory for full fabrication of your porcelain veneers by a master ceramist. In the meantime, you will leave your first appointment with temporary veneers.

Second veneers appointment

At your second appointment, you will fully be able to embrace your new, flawless smile! Once your temporary veneers are removed, we will ensure that your new permanent veneers fit concisely, and that they are the correct shape and color you desire.

If no changes need to be made, your permanent dental veneers will be permanently adhered with a bonding agent to the front of your tooth, resulting in a flawless, beautiful smile!

Depending on your dental needs, our team of dentists are committed to delivering results to increase your confidence and self-esteem. Our Acadiana office location proudly serves Lafayette, Carencro, Broussard, Youngsville, and all of the Acadiana area, and we delightfully provide cosmetic dental solutions for you and your family. If you are ready to transform your life with gorgeous porcelain veneers, call us today at (337) 234-3551.

Am I a Candidate for Veneers?

  1. Do you have discolored teeth?
  2. Do you have crooked teeth?
  3. Do you have short teeth?
  4. Do you have spaces in your teeth?
  5. Do you have old crowns?
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Crowns and Bridge Work

Likelike Crowns & Bridgework

A Stable Solution that Renews Your Smile

If you have missing teeth, we can create a permanent ‘bridge’ appliance to replace the missing teeth. Not only does a bridge fill the missing space, thereby giving you back a complete smile, it will also prevent the teeth on either side of the space from shifting. It also stops the tooth that chews with it from drifting into the space. A ‘fixed’ bridge is permanently joined onto the neighboring teeth on either side of the toothless area, and consists of three basic units: the false tooth or teeth and two crowns. If healthy adjacent ‘anchor’ teeth aren’t available, a surgically implanted metal post or dental ‘implant’ may be an alternate choice.

Bridge placement and fitting is fairly straightforward. Dr. Soileau will simply reduce the adjacent teeth as needed to anchor the bridge, take a careful impression of your mouth, and have the lab custom-fabricate your bridge. Upon delivery of the restoration, he’ll fit it into place and check for function, looks, and comfort. Including the time required for the lab to fabricate the bridge, the entire process requires only a couple of appointments over a two to four week period. With proper care, you can expect your fixed bridge to last at least 8-10 years.

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All Porcelain Crowns

Lafayette, Louisiana Crowns:  We’ve Got You Covered

If you’re self-conscious about your smile due of cracked, broken, decayed, or severely worn teeth, we can bring back your healthy, natural-looking smile by reshaping the teeth with porcelain crowns. Designed to fit snugly and function as normal teeth, crowns protect your teeth from further damage and correct their natural alignment. The entire tooth is covered or “capped” in porcelain, this gives us the ability to reshape your smile exactly as you would like it and to change the way your teeth are coming together when you are chewing.

For crowns that will show in your smile, we use only porcelain to create them. This eliminates the dark metal line you see in some peoples smile at the edge of their crowns around the gums. Our crowns must look perfectly natural or we will not cement them in. For teeth in the back of the mouth that are used for chewing and will not show in your smile, we do have the lab place a layer of metal under the part of your crown that you will be chewing with. This will give it strength but it will be covered in porcelain and will not show in your smile.

We can typically design and fit your crowns in just a couple steps. At your first appointment, we’ll prepare your teeth by gently removing the outer portion. Then, Dr. Soileau will carefully, judiciously eliminate decayed areas, creating the proper shape and size teeth to accommodate your crowns. Next, he’ll make a precise mold or impression of your teeth and send it to our special professional dental laboratory where master ceramist will carefully produce your custom fit crowns. During this production process we’ll protect your teeth and gums by fitting you with temporary crowns. Our temporaries do more than just cover your teeth until the crowns come back from the lab. We sculpt them so that they will match they way your permanent crowns will look. This will give you a preview of the final look so that we can make changes if needed. The final look must be perfect and natural for us to have done our job right.

Once your crowns are ready, Dr. Soileau will remove the temporaries, then fit and adjust the permanent ones into place. Before cementing them permanently, he’ll evaluate them again for appearance, color match, bite discrepancies, and accuracy of fit. Once they are on, you will now have a new smile that you can feel confident and great about.

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