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4/20/2016 12:00:00 PM | Brandon Beaver

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is responsible for facilitating almost all dental function, ranging from chewing and biting to speaking and even breathing. When this joint is damaged or fails to work properly, patients may begin to experience a variety of side effects and discomfort that can compromise their oral function.

Known as temporomandibular joint dysfunction, or TMD, this condition refers to the many different conditions that result from joint malfunction or damage. Understanding how these conditions are caused and what they entail is the first step to seeking effective care and regaining complete oral function.

How Does the TMJ Work?
Also known as the jaw joint, the TMJ is the point at which the mandible (lower jaw) connects to the skull. Here, muscles facilitate smooth jaw movement by guiding the rounded upper ends of the mandible, known as condyles, along the coordinating jaw socket on the skull. Between the condyles and the socket lie small discs of tissue which help to absorb the shock of movement. Over time however, these discs can wear down or become displaced, causing discomfort in the jaw as well as surrounding tissue, a condition known as TMD.

What is TMD?
TMD is not one particular condition cause by one particular joint problem. The term actually refers to a number of different disorders caused by joint dysfunction which can affect the muscles, all areas of the mouth, joints and other surrounding parts of the body. As a result, there a number of different symptoms caused by joint dysfunction, making accurate and prompt diagnosis difficult. However, understanding what common symptoms of TMD look like can help patients find effective solutions for their condition and alleviate the discomfort caused by TMD. Some of these symptoms include:

- Pain in the jaw muscles, neck, and shoulders
- Chronic headaches or dizziness
- Painful clicking, popping, and grating of the jaw
- Jaw stiffness or limited jaw movement
- Ear pressure, ringing, fullness, or pain
- Vision problems

In addition to affecting the jaw muscles and other parts of the head, TMD can also affect the dentition. Often, patients with TMD have an increased tendency to grind their teeth, leading to weaker teeth, bite misalignment, and sore muscles when chewing or biting.

At Westside Family Dentistry, our dental team is highly experienced in helping patients develop long-term solutions to alleviate the discomfort caused by TMD. Our in-depth evaluation ensures that your TMD treatment addresses all parts of your smile and comprehensively relieves the discomfort. To learn more about your TMD treatment options in Durant, contact Dr. Beaver and the Westside Family Dentistry team today.




4/13/2016 12:00:00 PM | Brandon Beaver

Crooked teeth can do more than damage the aesthetics of your smile. From triggering jaw-related issues to making it difficult to clean between teeth, untreated teeth misalignment can lead to a plethora of  health and functional problems. For adults seeking orthodontic care, Invisalign® provides the opportunity to alleviate these issues without the need for bulky, traditional metal braces. If you are weighing your braces treatment options, consider the following advantages associated with Invisalign®:

Removable Trays
One of the most beneficial features of Invisalign® is that the aligning trays are easily removable. Patients are able to change out their trays on their own from the comfort of their homes. This quality also makes maintaining oral health simple; patients only need to pop out their trays prior to eating or drinking, then thoroughly brush and floss their teeth before replacing the aligners.

Convenient Treatment
Invisalign® treatment plans are based around patients’ schedules. Traditional braces require patients to come in every few weeks for tightening, forcing patients to take time off work and move around busy schedules to accommodate these short appointments. Invisalign® patients only need to visit the dentist every few months, during which they receive several aligning trays at once to be changed on their own at homes.

Discreet Orthodontics
Many adult patients put off undergoing orthodontic treatment due to the distracting appearance of traditional metal braces. With Invisalign®, patients are able to improve the alignment of their smiles without drawing unwanted attention to their dental appliances. Invisalign® is ideal for patients hoping to maintain a professional appearance throughout the course of care.

Comparable Results
For patients looking to correct minor overcrowding or alignment relapsed, the idea of having to wear metal braces for an extended period of time can cause them to hold off until the alignment problems become more noticeable. Not only can this result in the need for more extensive orthodontics, but it also puts your smile at risk of greater functional and health issues as teeth move. With Invisalign®, patients with varying degrees of malocclusion are able to improve their smiles immediately and effectively.

Flexible Treatment
For individuals seeking to comprehensively improve the aesthetics of their smile, Invisalign® is often incorporated as the first step towards a more beautiful dentition. Once their teeth have been straightened, some patients may even find that they do not require further care.

In Durant, Westside Family Dentistry is a Premier Invisalign® Provider. Our dentists have performed numerous orthodontic corrections with this clear braces alternative. To learn more about improving your smile with Invisalign®, contact our team today.




4/6/2016 12:00:00 PM | Brandon Beaver

Whether it’s been a while since your last appointment or you suffer from severe dental phobia and anxiety, upcoming dental visits can be an overwhelming prospect for countless patients. Regardless of your reasons, dental sedation offers patients the opportunity to enter their next appointment stress-free. Sedation dentistry is:

Tailored to Each Patient’s Needs
Dental sedation is a means to helping patients remain calm during their upcoming treatment. A sedation method is recommended based on your level of comfort as well as your upcoming procedure. At Westside Family Dentistry, we conduct an in-depth evaluation of our patient’s current oral health needs and current comfort level to determine which form of dental sedation can best improve your overall experience.

Safe for All Procedures and Adults
Dental sedation is highly versatile in that it can be administered prior to any procedure, not just extensive oral surgeries. As dosage is closely monitored by highly trained sedation professionals, dental sedation is safe for patients 16 years and older. While many patients may find themselves postponing dental care, putting themselves at risk of additional oral health problems, dental sedation helps patients to overcome their fears and anxieties safely and receive necessary dental treatments.

Limited Side Effects
One of the main concerns of patients considering sedation dentistry is how long the effects of the medication will last. Much of this depends on the type and strength of the sedation being administered. For example, while higher doses of intravenous or oral conscious sedation can lead to grogginess following treatment, more mild versions of sedation such as nitrous oxide (laughing gas) leave no lasting results, allowing patients to return to their daily routine without interruption.

Comforting During Lengthy Procedures
Depending on how long it’s been since your last dental visit, multiple treatments may be required in order to restore your smile to full health and wellness. Dental sedation allows patients to relax during these extended treatments and, depending on the strength of sedation, can cause patients to feel as though their treatment was much shorter than it truly was.

Effective in Alleviating Fears 
For countless individuals, negative prior dental experiences facilitated the development of dental anxieties or phobias. As a result of these negative prior experiences, these patients are often likely to avoid visiting the dentist unless they are suffering from a serious dental emergency. To help proactively avoid such emergencies, dental sedation can be added to routine cleanings, allowing anxious patients to receive much needed oral care and prevent serious damage.

At Westside Family Dentistry, our Durant dentists are proud to offer a number of sedation options tailored to meet our patients’ health and comfort needs. For more information about enhancing your next visit with sedation, contact our team today.




2/17/2016 12:58:00 PM | Brandon Beaver

We're excited to announce the official launch of our Westside Family Dentistry blog.

We'll be posting helpful dental tips, news from the dental industry, news from our practice, and more about the latest in dentistry.

We built our practice on the notion that we're there for our patients when they need us and we want our online presence to be a reflection of that principle. We hope this blog provides an extra level of service to our current and future patients.

If you would like to stay up to date on the latest from Westside Family Dentistry, simply click the RSS “Subscribe to feed” link located on our website and subscribe. Our subscribers will be updated when we make a new blog post.

Here's to your best oral health ever!