Common Dental Problems

What causes my jaw to pop when I open?

There is a pad or disk that separates the jaw bone from the base of the skull. The primary cause of the “popping” occurs when you open your mouth too wide and the jaw bone “pops” off the pad or disk. Treatment is not required unless pain is associated with the “pop” or the jaw locks.

What causes tooth decay?

Tooth decay is caused by plaque in your mouth reacting with sugary and starchy deposits from food. This reaction produces acid which damages the enamel over time and weakens the tooth.

What can be done for ulcers or canker sores in the mouth?

Ulcers are very difficult to treat. There is no proven technique that will eliminate ulcers or speed the recovery time once they appear. There are a few medications that will give temporary relief from the pain, but they need to be started as soon as symptoms appear. Ulcers will generally diminish and disappear in two weeks.

How can I stop grinding my teeth at night?

Grinding your teeth can be very damaging to the teeth and also difficult to stop. If vigorous grinding occurs at night, teeth can be worn down to the gumline because the instinctive reflex to stop does not work while you are sleeping. Grinding due to stress can only be cured by removing the stress trigger. If grinding continues, a nightguard may be prescribed to prevent ultimate damage to the teeth.

As I get older, I don’t have much saliva, making it difficult to talk, chew and swallow. What can I do?

Saliva production decreases with age. In order to slow the process, one must exercise the gland. This can be accomplished by chewing gum, chewing your food thoroughly or occasionally having a sugar-free piece of candy. Artificial saliva may also be prescribed.

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Wayne C. Harper, DDS
Phone: (352) 390-2551
Fax: (352) 867-0439
1800 SE 17th St #602
Ocala, FL 34471
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