Our Dental Blog

Posts for category: Dental

By Gentle Art of Dentistry
April 10, 2017
Category: Dental
Tags: jaw pain   tmj  

If you've had ongoing pain or stiffness in your jaw, you might have TMJ. This disorder of the jaw joint and surrounding muscles can be tmjcaused by an injury, joint degeneration or simply anatomical issues. It's a common problem, affecting between 5% and 12% of the population, according to the National Institute of Health. Dr. Carol Cunningham, your dentist in Decatur, IL, is well-versed in the diagnosis and treatment of TMJ. She goes into detail about this disorder and how it can be treated here.

What is TMJ?

TMJ is an abbreviation for temporomandibular joint, which is the portion of the jaw that opens and closes. The problems with it may also be referred to as TMD or TMJD, with the 'D' standing for dysfunction. Regardless of the acronym, it refers to the misalignment, inflammation or underlying problem, such as arthritis, in the jaw joint or the muscles surrounding it. TMJ's symptoms are unmistakable: a clicking, popping or grinding sensation when chewing or talking, an inability to open the mouth all the way, and an aching pain in and around the ear, cheeks and mouth. Your dentist also sees patients with TMJ who experience a ringing in their ears, dizziness or pain that travels down the neck and shoulders.

What can be done to treat TMJ in Decatur?

Your dentist will first evaluate your condition to rule out any other possible causes, such as gum disease, tooth decay or sinus issues. X-rays can also help to detect the presence of TMJ. Dr. Cunningham may recommend dental restorations, certain analgesics to help relieve pain and may suggest treating the area with ice or heat. There are also therapeutic exercises that can be prescribed to strengthen the muscles and improve motion in the joint.

If you think you might be dealing with TMJ, don't delay in contacting Dr. Cunningham, your dentist in Decatur, IL, right away for treatment. We want to help you achieve your best oral health!

By Carol A. Cunningham, DDS
January 24, 2017
Category: Dental
Tags: Welcome  

Welcome to the Blog of Carol A. Cunningham, DDS

Whether you are an existing patient or searching for a dentist in the Decatur, IL area, we’re excited you are here. With the dental industry advancing, we recognize the importance of keeping our patients and visitors up to date with all of the new and exciting things taking place in our practice.

As we move forward with our blog, we hope to promote dental awareness as a vital part of your healthy lifestyle. Here you will find a variety of articles and topics including dental news, advancements in dental technology and treatments, practical oral health advice and updates from our practice. 

We hope you find our blog to be helpful, engaging and informational to ensure your best dental health. 

As always, feel free to contact our Carol A. Cunningham, DDS office with any dental questions or concerns.

-- Carol A. Cunningham, DDS

By Carol A. Cunningham, DDS
January 24, 2017
Category: Dental
Tags: Root Canals  

There is nothing to fear about root canals. Find out more about this commonly performed dental procedure.

Hearing your dentist tell you that you need a root canal may fill you with anxiety, but there is truly nothing to fear. Arm yourself with all the information you need to understand your upcoming Root Canalprocedure so that you can get through it easily and stress-free.

Q. What is a root canal?

A. This endodontic procedure is necessary when the inside of the tooth, known as the dental pulp, is either infected or damaged. The dental pulp can be affected by severe decay, infection or trauma. Once the damage reaches the pulp, your endodontist will recommend having a root canal.

Q. Do I need a root canal?

A. It can be difficult to know when you might need to come in for a root canal, which is why going in for your six-month checkup can protect your smile and detect issues when they are still easy to fix. Common symptoms that might warrant a root canal include,

  • Extreme sensitivity to hot or cold

  • Persistent or severe pain, particularly when chewing

  • Tooth pain that keeps you up at night

  • An abscess that develops around the affected tooth

Q. What should I expect from my upcoming procedure?

A. Root canals are a common practice. While many people worry that it might be rather time-consuming and invasive, it is no more complicated than getting a cavity filled.

The purpose of the procedure is to remove the affected dental pulp. Your general dentist will drill through the hard outer layers of enamel until we reach the internal part of the tooth. From there, your dentist will carefully remove the diseased tissue and disinfect the inside of the tooth if an infection is present. Once treated, we will use special materials to rebuild the tooth from the inside out. Most teeth treated with a root canal will also need a dental crown to protect the weakened tooth from further damage.

Q. Is the procedure painful?

A. Most people worry that a root canal will be painful. Everyone’s heard stories! But keep in mind that many people needing a root canal are dealing with pretty unpleasant and chronic dental pain. The purpose of the procedure isn’t to instill more pain, but to actually eliminate the source of the pain. Plus, a root canal is performed under local anesthesia, so you shouldn’t feel a thing.

Contact your Dentist

Still have questions about root canal therapy? Need to schedule your next dental appointment? Then it’s time to call your dentist today. We would be happy to answer all of your dental questions.