TMJ

Everything you need to know about TMJ disorders

Have you ever woken up with a sore jaw, struggled to chew your breakfast, or caught yourself clenching your teeth during a stressful day? If so, you might be one of the many grappling with TMJ disorders without even realising it. 

This jaw-related disorder can be more than just a temporary discomfort; it’s a dental issue affecting many people’s daily lives. We unpack everything you need to know about TMJ disorders so that you can be informed and know when to take action.

What is TMJ?

TMJ stands for the Temporomandibular Joint, which is the hinge connecting your jaw to the temporal bones of your skull, situated in front of your ears. This joint allows you to move your jaw so you can talk, chew, and yawn. 

However, the term TMJ is commonly used to refer to a range of disorders affecting this joint — a condition more accurately described as Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD).

Symptoms of TMJ disorders

TMJ disorders lead to an array of symptoms, some of which may surprise you. Here are the most common ones to look out for:

  • Pain or tenderness in your jaw
  • Aching pain in and around your ear
  • Difficulty or discomfort while chewing
  • A clicking or grating sensation when opening your mouth or chewing
  • The joint locking, making it a challenge to open or close your mouth

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to consult with a dental professional like those at JJS Dentistry, who can provide a proper diagnosis and tailored treatment plan.

Causes of TMJ disorders

The causes of TMJ disorders can vary, often making diagnosis and treatment a challenge. However, the most common causes include:

Treating TMJ disorders

Treatment for TMJ disorders ranges from simple self-care practices to more advanced medical interventions. 

You may need to adjust to eating softer foods to rest the jaw and apply ice or heat to the affected area. In more severe cases, you may need pain relievers or muscle relaxants. Additionally, physical therapy and oral splints may also be necessary.

How to prevent TMJ disorders

While not all cases of TMJ disorders can be avoided, there are some ways to reduce your risk:

  • Good posture will help to reduce neck and facial tension
  • Avoid chewing gum and biting your nails
  • Use ergonomic setups for work and leisure activities to avoid strain on your neck and jaw
  • Limit stress
  • Regularly visit your dentist for check-ups

At JJS Dentistry, we understand how TMJ disorders can impact your daily life and well-being. By staying informed, you can take proactive steps toward managing this condition. 

If you suspect you’re experiencing a TMJ disorder, it’s essential to seek professional advice. Our team is here to help you navigate the symptoms and find the best treatment for your needs.

Flossing

Everything You Have Ever Needed to Know About Flossing

At JJS Dentistry, we are committed to ensuring our patients are well-informed about every aspect of oral health. One cornerstone of dental hygiene often overlooked is flossing. While many diligently brush their teeth daily, the significance of flossing is frequently underestimated.

Let’s delve into why flossing should be a non-negotiable aspect of your dental care routine.

The importance of flossing

  1. Combat cavities between teeth

While brushing takes care of the outer surfaces of your teeth, it can’t reach the tiny spaces between them. Flossing ensures the food debris and plaque nestled in these crevices are removed, preventing the onset of cavities.

  1. Gum health and preventing gum disease

The plaque that builds up between teeth can lead to gum diseases like gingivitis. Regular flossing can prevent this build-up and keep your gums healthy and disease-free.

  1. Fight bad breath

Food particles trapped between the teeth can lead to bad breath. Flossing can keep your mouth fresh by eliminating these potential odour-causing culprits.

The right way to floss

Now that we’ve highlighted the importance of flossing let’s make sure you’re doing it correctly.

  1. Choose your floss

Different types of dental floss are available, from waxed to unwaxed, thick to thin, and even flavoured. Pick one that you feel comfortable with.

  1. Length matters

Tear off about 45 cm of floss. This length ensures you have a fresh section for each tooth.

  1. Wrapping technique

Start by wrapping the floss around each middle finger, leaving a few centimetres of floss to work with.

  1. The right motion

Hold the string tightly between your forefingers and thumbs. Gently slide it up and down between your teeth.

  1. Curving the floss

When you reach the gum line, curve the floss into a C-shape against one tooth and gently move it into the space between the gum and the tooth.

  1. Each tooth deserves attention

Don’t forget to floss the back of your last teeth. Use a fresh section of the floss as you move from one tooth to the next.

  1. Gentleness is key

Remember, your gums are sensitive. Avoid snapping the floss into the gums or flossing too roughly.

How often should you floss

In a perfect world, we would all floss after every meal to ensure no food remains lodged between our teeth. However, for most people, this might be impractical. Therefore, it’s essential to floss at least once a day. 

Making it a nighttime ritual can be especially beneficial, as it ensures your teeth are clean and free from food particles overnight.

The benefits of flossing

  • Regular flossing reduces the risk of cavities and gum diseases, ensuring a healthier mouth overall.
  • No more being self-conscious about bad breath during close conversations.
  • Regularly removing plaque and food particulars can lead to a brighter, more confident smile.
  • Preventing dental issues by maintaining good oral hygiene can help you avoid expensive treatments later on.

By committing to just a few minutes daily to floss correctly, you can reap the benefits of a healthier, brighter smile. Remember, a string of floss is your teeth’s best friend, so make it a daily habit.

If you have questions or need more tips on maintaining a healthy smile, don’t hesitate to reach out or schedule an appointment. Happy flossing!

Woman

Women’s Month and the journey of a woman’s dental health

Throughout the intricate journey of a woman’s life, her body undergoes profound changes, many of which impact her dental health (believe it or not). From the blossoming phase of pregnancy to the transformative period of menopause, oral care is paramount. 

At JJS Dentistry, we understand these unique challenges and are deeply committed to providing holistic and preventative care tailored to the evolving needs of every woman.

1. Pregnancy and new beginnings

Pregnancy is a time of wonder, but it’s also a phase where diligent oral care is of utmost importance. You experience hormonal fluctuations that can enhance your susceptibility to gum disease. Acid reflux and morning sickness are also common symptoms of pregnancy and can expose teeth to stomach acids, potentially leading to enamel erosion,

Our solutions

We provide regular check-ups to monitor and preemptively address emerging oral concerns. In addition, our team offer expert guidance on tailored hygiene practices to navigate this delicate period.

2. Motherhood and professional pursuits

Balancing personal and professional lives often leaves little room for self-care, and dental health can sometimes take a backseat. Overlooked dental appointments and inconsistent oral care routines become the norm, while stress-induced oral issues (like teeth grinding) further damage your teeth.

Our solutions

We offer a flexible schedule and multiple locations to accommodate the busy schedule of a modern woman. Plus, our comprehensive treatments can help restore your smile and educate you on the importance of regular dental care.

3. Approaching menopause and navigating the transition

As women edge closer to menopause, they go through unique dental challenges that demand specialised attention. These include hormonal shifts that cause dry mouth and increase the risk of cavities, as well as potential gum sensitivity and a heightened risk of gum disease.

Our solutions

At JJS Dentistry, we offer personalised treatments and recommendations to manage and alleviate symptoms of dry mouth. We also emphasise the importance of hydration and the right oral care products to protect sensitive gums.

4. Menopause and beyond

Menopause marks the beginning of a new chapter, but it’s also a period where oral health requires focused care. You have a higher risk of osteoporosis which can impact the health of teeth and jaws, and you experience changes in taste and heightened gum sensitivity.

Our solutions

We conduct thorough dental assessments to evaluate your jaw-bone health and provide dietary guidance to ensure the intake of essential nutrients for optimum dental health.

At JJS Dentistry, we are not just observers — we are partners in ensuring every phase of a woman’s life is accompanied by a healthy, radiant smile. 

With our emphasis on dentistry and preventative care, we have the tools and expertise to face each stage confidently and gracefully. Your smile’s journey is our journey too!

Get in touch to book your women’s dental health appointment today.

Debunking 2 common dental hacks

Unmasking the myths: Debunking 5 Common Dental Hacks

In 2023, it’s so easy to have our questions answered because the information is right at our fingertips. When we have health-related questions, it’s convenient to just type in our symptoms into our internet browser and wait for Google to diagnose us — we see it as an easier (and more cost-effective) option than booking an appointment with our doctor or dentist. 

When it comes to our dental health specifically, we tend to take the easy way out. For example, we would rather follow popular internet trends or take the advice of a friend who has no professional dental experience (we’re looking at you, Turkey teeth!). However, we don’t realise many so-called hacks are myths that need to be debunked. 

Let’s take a look at some common dental hack myths and break them down.

Myth 1: Brushing your teeth harder means cleaner teeth

A popular myth many people believe is that brushing your teeth harder cleans your teeth better, but the opposite is true. 

Brushing your teeth too hard or using a hard-bristled toothbrush can damage your tooth enamel and irritate your gums, leading to a receding gum line and tooth sensitivity. 

Rather brush your teeth gently, in a circular motion, with a soft-bristled brush. This will be enough to maintain clean and plaque-free teeth. 

Myth 2: Stop flossing if you experience gum bleeding

There are two possible reasons why your gums bleed when you floss your teeth, but flossing is not one of them. Bleeding gums can be an indication of gum disease or inflammation. 

Maintaining your flossing routine and improving your technique is important, always ensuring it’s done regularly and gently. If you are experiencing consistent gum bleeding, you need to book an appointment with your dentist, as it could be a sign of periodontal disease. 

Myth 3: Mouthwash or chewing gum is a substitute for brushing your teeth

There are several benefits to using mouthwash and chewing gum. Sugar-free chewing gum can freshen your breath, increase saliva production, and eliminate bacteria in your mouth. But it can’t remove sticky plaque on your teeth. 

The same goes for mouthwash — it’s a great way to freshen up your breath, and some types can help prevent plaque build-up and cavities. But what it can’t do is remove existing plaque and food particles in your teeth. 

Brushing and flossing your teeth should be your priority, and mouthwash and chewing gum can be great additions to your dental routine. 

Myth 4: Baby teeth don’t need as much dental care 

A popular misconception is that baby teeth do not need much dental care as they will fall out eventually, but this only leads to dental problems in your child.

Baby teeth hold the space for adult teeth and guide them into position. Early loss of these primary teeth can create future alignment problems. For example, other teeth could try to move into those spaces and permanently block the adult teeth from growing correctly. 

Teaching children healthy oral hygiene from a young age will set the stage for lifelong dental health. 

Myth 5: Dental appointments are only necessary if you have dental issues

Most of the early cavities and gum disease stages aren’t noticed until they reach a more serious phase. In addition, smoking, drinking alcohol and eating unhealthy foods generally can cause your teeth to be prone to dental issues. This means that going for a dental check-up every 6 months is a wise idea to prevent future expensive dental procedures. 

Navigating the world of oral health advice can be tricky, especially with an overwhelming amount of information available to us. When in doubt, your dentist is the best source of information. Professional dental advice is customised to your specific needs and can help you make the best decisions for your oral health. At JJS Dentistry, we strive to do this with every single one of our clients.

It’s important to remember that achieving and sustaining a healthy smile requires more than quick fixes and DIY hacks- it demands consistent care, regular dental visits, and a commitment to good oral hygiene habits.

Book an appointment with JJS Dentistry for professional care you can count on!

0 Ways to Keep Your Teeth Healthy in Winter

10 Ways to Keep Your Teeth Healthy in Winter

There’s a chill in the air, the rain is falling, and we’re finding ourselves more often than not bunched up in layers or sitting by the heater (when there’s power!) — winter is here. 

As we adjust our routines for the season, it’s also time to give some extra thought to our dental health. You see, cold weather can bring challenges for our smiles, but with some easy steps, you can keep your teeth and gums in peak health.

1. Stay Hydrated

Winter weather can cause our bodies to dehydrate quicker than usual. Dehydration is not just detrimental to overall health but also affects your oral health by causing dry mouth. 

A lack of saliva makes your teeth more prone to cavities and gum disease. So, ensure you drink plenty of water, even when you don’t feel thirsty, to keep your body hydrated and your mouth moist.

2. Protect Your Lips

Chapped lips are common in winter, leading to discomfort and even oral health problems. Make sure to moisturise your lips regularly with an SPF balm (yes, even in winter!). Remember, your lips are part of your oral health too.

3. Limit Sugary Drinks

Winter calls for hot chocolates, tea, coffee, and other warm sugary beverages. While they are delicious and ideal in winter, these drinks can damage your teeth, promoting cavities and staining.

Limit your intake, and when you do indulge, follow up with a glass of water to rinse the sugar and acid away.

4. Brush and Floss Regularly

The holidays can disrupt your regular routine, but it’s crucial to maintain your dental hygiene regimen. Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss daily to keep your mouth free of plaque and food debris.

5. Choose Teeth-Friendly Snacks

During winter, incorporate more teeth-friendly snacks into your diet. Foods rich in phosphorous and calcium, like nuts, cheese and chicken, can strengthen your teeth.

Fruits and vegetables like celery, carrots and apples can also stimulate saliva production, which helps to neutralise acid and keep your mouth clean.

6. Manage Teeth Sensitivity

Cold weather can exacerbate tooth sensitivity. So, if you notice increased sensitivity, use a desensitising toothpaste. Try to avoid extremely hot or cold foods and drinks that can trigger sensitivity. Consults your dentist if the problem persists!

7. Watch Out for TMJ Symptoms

The cold weather can increase muscle tension, potentially worsening symptoms for people with TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Disorders). If you notice increased jaw discomfort, apply warm compresses and consider visiting your dentist.

8. Use a Mouthguard in Winter Sports

For all you winter sports enthusiasts out there, protect your pearly whites! Whether you’re playing hockey, rugby, netball or figure skating, ensure you wear a mouthguard to save your teeth from potential injuries.

9. Avoid Using Your Teeth as Tools

One of Dr JJ Serfontein’s top tips as a dentist is to avoid using your teeth as tools to open things! Using your teeth to open a can or package can be tempting, but you must resist. Doing this can lead to chips, breaks, or other damage.

10. Schedule a Dental Check-Up

When all else fails, a trip to the dentist can help you sort through any issues you’re experiencing with your oral health.

At JJS Dentistry, we provide comprehensive dental check-ups to assess your oral health, including in-depth checks of your teeth, gums and jaw. We end off with a good clean to keep your teeth in top shape!

Remember, while winter brings its own set of dental health challenges, none are insurmountable. By following these tips, you can enjoy the season with a healthy, happy smile. Stay warm, hydrated, and remember to care for your teeth as diligently as ever.

Get in touch to book your JJS Dentistry appointment today!

Dental anxiety

The psychology of dental anxiety and how to overcome it

When it comes to fearing dental visits, you’re not alone. Dental anxiety is a common problem that affects millions of people around the world. It’s a condition that causes people to feel nervous or fearful about going to the dentist. 

While it’s normal to feel a bit of apprehension before going to the dentist, dental anxiety can be so severe that it keeps people from getting the dental care they need. At JJS Dentistry, we provide a welcoming and calming environment to help ease your dental anxiety and ensure you feel safe and comfortable.

What is dental anxiety?

Dental anxiety is an intense fear or nervousness people feel when they are faced with the idea of going to the dentist. This can manifest in different ways, such as feeling physically ill, sweating, shaking, or even experiencing a panic attack. Some people even avoid going to the dentist altogether, causing them to neglect their dental care.

What causes dental anxiety?

There are many reasons why you may experience dental anxiety. However, one of the most common and unfortunate is a negative experience at the dentist’s office. For example, you may have had a dental visit at a young age where the dentist was extremely rude, or you endured a painful procedure that has left a lasting impression.

Other causes of dental anxiety include:

The fear of pain

While most (if not all) dental procedures are painless, many people fear going to the dentist because they think it will be painful. This is simply not true, and in cases where procedures may be painful, there are various sedation options available to keep you feeling comfortable and calm.

Having experienced trauma

People who have experienced trauma or abuse may develop anxiety about anything that involves physical contact, including going to the dentist. In addition, mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression and PTSD can also contribute to feeling this way.

Needing personal space

At JJS Dentistry, we understand that having sharp instruments poking around in your mouth probably seems like an unpleasant situation. But our dentists are highly trained in Slow and gentle dentistry to provide the most high-quality and pain-free experience possible. 

Feeling embarrassed

It’s common to feel ashamed or embarrassed about the state of your teeth when visiting the dentist. You might be afraid of being judged or scolded, but that is never the case with compassionate and caring dentists, such as those at our practice. Our goal is to help you achieve your perfect smile, no matter where you’re at in your oral health journey.

Having no control

Sitting in a dentist’s chair with your mouth wide open can feel very vulnerable, and the lack of control over the situation leaves some feeling concerned and anxious. This is entirely normal, but it’s important to remember that your health and safety are the top priority for dental professionals.

Overcoming dental anxiety

Fortunately, dental anxiety can be cured with a few simple steps. If you are someone who struggles with dental anxiety, these tips will help you work through your fear and receive the care you need.

1. Talk to us

If you’re anxious about going to the dentist, the first step is to talk to your dentist. Let us know what you’re feeling and why. From here, we can take steps to ensure you feel more comfortable about your appointment, such as explaining the procedure in detail or being extra gentle. Your dentist should never dismiss your concerns.

2. Practice relaxation techniques

Deep breathing, medication, and visualisation are relaxation techniques that can be very helpful in reducing anxiety. Try practising these techniques before and during your dental appointment to help you stay calm and centred.

3. Bring something with you for a distraction

Distractions such as music, audiobooks, or stress toys can help take your mind off of your anxiety and make the experience much more manageable. 

4. Consider sedation dentistry

Sedation dentistry is an option for people with severe dental anxiety. This involves taking medication before the appointment to help you feel calm and relaxed during the procedure. At JJS Dentistry, we administer sedation in several forms, including oral and IV sedation, to help you feel at ease during procedures.

Visit us at JJS Dentistry for a world-class and pain-free dental experience that will transform how you view dentistry.

dental trends

The top 6 dental trends shaping dentistry in 2023

2022 was undoubtedly the year of the patient, with dental practices placing emphasis on creating the best patient experience possible. From enjoying Netflix while you get your teeth checked to friendly and welcoming staff caring for you at every step, we at JJS Dentistry had a phenomenal year in 2022. And we can’t wait to continue bringing you new and exciting dental services in 2023.

And while we will continue to prioritise our patients and their dental experiences, this year is all about technological shifts in the dental industry. We’re seeing the rise of Artificial Intelligence everywhere and even more high-tech ways to diagnose and treat dental problems. 

Here are our top dental trends for 2023:

1. AI on the rise

Artificial Intelligence is slowly making its way into dentistry with new and exciting innovations that are sure to bring about more efficient ways to care for your oral health. Currently, AI is being used to help detect cavities and assist with cleanings in other parts of the world, but it may soon be a new fixture at high-end practices across the globe.

2. Laser Dentistry

Although it’s not a new concept (in fact, lasers have been used in dentistry since 1994), laser dentistry is becoming more and more common for treating dental issues. A laser uses a strong light to gently remove decay and bacteria, leaving you with healthier gums and teeth that heal much faster. 

Lasers have many benefits, including being less invasive and eliminating the need for suturing. For this reason, they are an integral part of any high-end dental practice. At JJS Dentistry, we pride ourselves on using the latest technology to give our patients the best service.

3. 3D Technology

Same-day dentistry has completely transformed the state of dental services. With the addition of 3D technology, we can perform full restorations on the same day instead of waiting weeks for a dental laboratory to produce your prosthetics. In addition, dental crowns, bridges, veneers and custom aligners are readily available and tailored to your mouth shape and needs. 

3D technology is an excellent solution to all your cosmetic dental concerns. It helps improve your smile and shortens the process of dental procedures, allowing for efficient service.

4. Virtual Dentistry

Since the pandemic, industries have learned to adapt to new ways of providing services remotely, and dentistry is no exception. For example, the rise of virtual consultations and teledentistry has allowed patients who are unable to visit practices in person to receive specific dental care, whether it be treatment recommendations or answering questions about oral health. In some cases, you can also receive a health check-up through a Zoom video call, allowing you to access quick healthcare while on the go.

5. Digital impressions

Previously, if you visited the dentist for a prosthetic, you would receive a mould that shapes your teeth and mouth to create an impression. However, with new digital technology, we can now create more accurate simulations of your mouth using digital impressions. These highly accurate digital models are made using high-tech software that scans your mouth. 

The experience is also simplified and less daunting than traditional moulds, ensuring you benefit on all fronts from your treatment. 

6. Natural dental products

With the rise of technology comes the rise of sustainability and going green. As a result, many dental practices are implementing changes and products that promote a more sustainable way of living, including biodegradable packaging and natural dental cleaning aids that do the job just as well. 

Patients can make helpful changes at home by switching to bamboo toothbrushes and toothpaste free from harmful chemicals.

Ready to start your dental journey this year? Contact us today to set up an appointment or do a virtual consultation.

Risks of untreated sleep apnea

What are the risks of untreated sleep apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a breathing-related condition whereby your airways get blocked when you sleep, leading to snoring, poor sleep and difficulty breathing.

In most cases, the partners of sleep apnea sufferers notice the signs and symptoms. If you or your partner show signs, it’s essential to take action right away. When left untreated, obstructive sleep apnea can lead to many issues. 

Risks of sleep apnea

Episodes of apnea are pauses in breathing while you sleep. These result in reduced oxygen levels that can affect your overall health, brain function and immune system.

The reduced oxygen supply to the lungs also leads to less oxygen supply to your blood, forcing the heart to work harder to circulate what little oxygen there is. This triggers the release of stress hormones, such as adrenaline, in your body.

Over time, the cardiovascular system becomes overtaxed, resulting in a state of inflammation within your body.

Patients with sleep apnea may experience disturbances in their breathing hundreds of times per night.

The vicious cycle of inflammation

This state of inflammation within the body puts you at a higher risk for the following conditions:

  • ADHD becomes worse
  • Depression and mood swings
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart attack
  • Higher risk of heart failure or worsening of heart failure
  • More likely to develop heart arrhythmias or irregular heartbeat
  • Stroke
  • Obesity
  • Increased risk of work-related or driving accidents
  • Shorter lifespan of 58 years on average (much lower than the average lifespan of 78 years for men and 83 years for women)

From the above, you can see that having chronic inflammation within your body damages arteries, organs, joints, and so much more. If left unchecked, it can increase your risk of developing chronic diseases.

At JJS Dentistry, we are passionate about reducing inflammation in the mouth and the body. We believe that treating a dental problem is no longer enough, and we are dedicated to addressing your health holistically by investigating and addressing the root cause of your oral and overall health issues.

Our goal is to ultimately assist you in boosting your vitality and health so that you can live your best life.

Contact us for a consultation today.

Sleep Apnea

9 warning signs of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Most sleep apnea sufferers go undiagnosed because they are unaware they have a sleep-related breathing disorder. Unfortunately, sleep apnea signs and symptoms are not always obvious, and many cases are not discovered by the sufferer but by a loved one.

Here are a few of the signs and symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA):

1. You wake up feeling tired or drowsy during the day

If you suffer from chronic interruptions to your deep restorative sleep coupled with oxygen deprivation while asleep, you will eventually feel weary and tired throughout the day.

So, if you wake up feeling unrefreshed and struggle to stay awake during the day despite having a whole night of sleep, you may suffer from obstructive sleep apnea.

Good quality sleep promotes the healthy functioning of a broad range of vital body functions. Whereas inadequate sleep may significantly influence one’s health, leading to several disorders ranging from hormone disturbance to immunological failure.

2. You snore while sleeping

Snoring, snorting, and gasping for air are all common sleep apnea warning signs. The louder the snore, the higher the likelihood of sleep apnea.

Most often, the person snoring is not even aware that they do, and it is usually the bed partner that identifies that the sufferer has a problem. However, it’s important to note that not everyone who snores has sleep apnea.

3. You toss and turn at night

Tossing and turning uncomfortably during sleep is a common finding in obstructive sleep apnea. Getting good sleep is often difficult for people who suffer from sleep apnea, and restlessness is often the result of the brain sending signals to wake up and resume breathing.

4. You wake up to go to the bathroom multiple times a night

When it comes to key warning symptoms of sleep apnea, waking up at night to use the bathroom is as prevalent as snoring. This can be a strong sign of sleep apnea, especially if a person is not drinking excessive fluids before bed.

However, waking up once or twice a night to use the bathroom is typical for the general population. It’s only when it becomes excessive that you should be concerned.

5. You wake up with a dry mouth

Waking up in the morning with a dry mouth or the feeling of a sore throat is common in obstructive sleep apnea sufferers and can be seen as a warning sign.

This is usually because of sleeping with an open mouth or open-mouth breathing that dries out the airway.

6. You have a stiff jaw and headache in the morning

When you have pauses in your breathing due to the airway collapsing during sleep, your brain sends a signal to the muscles in the jaw to move in order to open the airways so that the oxygen supply to the lungs can be re-established.

These repetitive jaw movements can lead to pain within the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and the muscles within the head and neck resulting in morning headaches.

7. You are forgetful and struggle to concentrate

Consistent poor-quality sleep can affect the way your brain functions over time. For example, people with sleep apnea have disruptive and poor sleep that can lead to brain fog and forgetfulness during the day.

Other indications can be a weakened immune system and difficulty concentrating on your work. 

8. Your partner says you have pauses in your breathing while asleep, followed by choking/gasping

Apnea episodes refer to periods of snoring, followed by pauses in breathing and then gasping for breath. These can occur hundreds of times in one night of sleep, disrupting your and your partner’s sleep. 

9. You have acid reflux

Having acid reflux can cause obstructions to the airways that bring on snoring and sleep apnea at night. On the other hand, pressure in your lungs due to sleep apnea can cause greater acid reflux.

The two are intrinsically linked and can cause significant discomfort if not addressed.

Obstructive sleep apnea is not a condition that should be ignored. While snoring can be a warning sign, sleep apnea is more than just snoring.

A thorough screening with your dentist at JJS Dentistry, followed by a complete sleep study if necessary, can assist you in determining the cause of your problems. If you have sleep apnea, we will develop a custom treatment plan to address your symptoms, improve your sleep, help you feel better and achieve greater overall health and vitality.

For further information on sleep apnea, diagnosis and treatment, schedule your Sleep consultation at JJS Dentistry.

Teeth whitening

What you need to know about at-home teeth whitening

Teeth whitening is quickly becoming a popular and more accessible cosmetic treatment for those seeking a whiter and brighter smile. By using advanced bleaching agents and laser light technology, teeth whitening can lighten your teeth by up to 8 shades.

How does teeth whitening work?

At JJS Dentistry, we provide both professional in-chair bleaching and take-home whitening kits that help you achieve your desired results. For in-chair bleaching, we use the renowned Philips Zoom® Teeth Whitening method, a leading bleaching treatment recommended and used by dental professionals worldwide.

Before the teeth whitening treatment can begin, your gums need to be covered by a special agent to protect them from the bleaching agent. The whitening gel is then applied to a tray that fits over your teeth, and a special laser light is applied to activate the agent. During this process, the whitening agents break down the discoloured molecules in your teeth and cause oxygen molecules to spread, leaving your teeth whiter and brighter.

How do at-home kits work?

At-home teeth whitening kits work similarly to in-chair bleaching, but you will do all the work yourself. This allows you the convenience of doing the treatment in your own home and at your leisure. However, your oral hygienist needs to explain the process thoroughly and show you how to use the kit to avoid causing damage to your teeth. 

Take-home whitening kits contain different strengths of hydrogen peroxide that you apply to your custom trays and wear for 15-45 minutes, depending on the strength of the gel. Your oral hygienist will advise on a strength for you and how to use the kit.

Receiving your teeth whitening kit

The first step with teeth whitening is determining if you are a candidate. You will need to consult your oral hygienist to determine if you are a candidate and what treatment would work best for you. 

Teeth whitening does not remove harsh stains and won’t work on dental prosthetics or false teeth, such as dentures and crowns. Therefore, you need to have all your natural teeth intact and healthy gums to do both in-chair bleaching and at-home whitening. 

Your oral hygienist will also suggest a cleaning at least a week before receiving your teeth whitening treatment to remove surface build-up and ensure your teeth are in the best shape to be whitened.

The next step is creating your custom mouth trays that you will apply the whitening agent to and wear for 15-45 minutes. Your oral hygienist will give you an in-depth breakdown of how to use the kit and the precautions to take. During the consultation, they will also demonstrate how the kit works by taking you through the process. Your oral hygienist will demonstrate how to apply the gel, insert the trays, and use the accelerating laser light. 

Risks of at-home teeth whitening

Although convenient and cost-effective, at-home teeth whitening puts you at greater risk of developing dental and general health issues. That’s why it’s essential to only use renowned take-home products from qualified and trusted dental professionals, such as those at JJS Dentistry. We will work with you to ensure you achieve the desired results while ensuring your safety.

Some risks associated with at-home teeth whitening include:

  • Damaged enamel: Harsh chemicals in cheaper take-home kits include chemical agents that can strip the enamel and leave the teeth vulnerable to damage.
  • Chemical burns: Custom trays are essential as, with an ill-fitting tray, the gel may leak and cause chemical burns on your mouth or skin.
  • Infections: Chemical burns, cuts or damage in your mouth can lead to infections when exposed to whitening agents.
  • Gum damage: Prolonged use of take-home whitening kits can damage the soft tissue in the mouth and a permanent receding gum line. 

Contact us to chat about your teeth whitening treatment or learn more about our safe and effective options.

Can your oral health influence your mental health?

Can your oral health influence your mental health?

October is Mental Health Month in South Africa, a time to bring light to the struggles of millions worldwide. But were you aware that your oral health impacts your mental health and vice versa?

Oral health is linked to various other diseases and can signify a greater issue, such as diabetes or heart disease. Your teeth and gums let us know if you have conditions relating to oral health, but also what else is going on in your body (and mind).

The link

So, how exactly do dental health and mental health mix? Well, either one influences the other.

When you neglect your oral health or suffer from an oral health condition, it can harm your self-image and self-esteem. As a result, you may feel worthless and shy away from social settings, leading to social anxiety. In some cases, you can even develop depression.

Similarly, having poor mental health or a specific mental health condition can lead you to struggle with self-care, causing poor oral hygiene. Without regular maintenance or check-ups, your oral hygiene deteriorates, further impacting your mental health.

On the other hand, those who engage in recreational habits to self-soothe, like drinking alcohol or smoking, can also experience adverse effects on their oral health and mental health.

How oral health indicates mental health concern

As dentists, we see much more than you realise. For example, there are tell-tale signs from your teeth and gums that you may be struggling mentally. 

Teeth grinding and a locked jaw can be symptoms of an anxiety disorder that causes stressful sleep and picking habits, whereas poor oral hygiene can indicate depression.

On the other hand, worn enamel can signal OCD from over-brushing your teeth, and excessive decay may be linked to an eating disorder.

There are several other reasons why patients may exhibit these signs, but mental health plays a significant role. As medical professionals, it’s our job to look out for your overall health.

Managing oral and mental health

Just as oral and mental health can negatively impact each other, they can also have positive impacts. When you improve your overall health, you will notice an improvement in all areas.

Here are some of our tips for caring for both your oral and mental health:

1. Visit your dentist

Your dental experience should be free from judgement and a safe space to discuss your needs and concerns. Seeing your dentist regularly can help improve your oral health, thus boosting your mental health. 

During dental check-ups, we examine your teeth and gums, perform a professional cleaning and offer expert advice on maintaining your gum health. If you have any questions or concerns about your oral health, we are more than happy to address them.

2. Eat a balanced diet

Nutrition is a major factor in both dental and mental health. By avoiding processed and sugary foods, you can protect your enamel and avoid tooth decay that could lead to more severe concerns, such as cavities and gum disease. 

Simultaneously, eating nutritious food has been linked to improved brain function and balanced hormones, promoting positive mental health. Consuming processed and sugary foods only causes further mood changes and poor function.

3. Manage stress levels

Stress can heavily impact your physical and mental health, so it’s best to incorporate practices that keep it at bay. Remember to drink enough water, set aside time for rest and do activities that lower your stress levels.

By eliminating excess stress, you can promote better mental health and, in turn, maintain a better dental hygiene routine.

4. Move more

Daily movement allows you to clear your head and get a boost of energy and happy hormones. Even going for a short walk daily can work wonders for your mood and anxiety. Aim to keep an active routine if you struggle with your mental health.

5. Keep it simple

Daily brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits are all you need to keep your teeth in check. There’s no need to go overboard with charcoal toothpaste, mouthwash or home cleaning kits. If you stick to a consistent routine with your dental hygiene and mental health, you will see a significant benefit for both. 

If you or someone you know is dealing with mental health struggles, contact SADAG or one of their helplines.

Dental health during pregnancy

Dental health during pregnancy

Dental health is likely your least priority when you fall pregnant. What could pregnancy possibly have to do with your oral healthcare? A lot, actually!

Unfortunately, pregnancy increases your risk of getting specific dental health problems and can lead to complications. Therefore, it’s vital to let your dentist know you are pregnant and regularly visit to receive optimal care during this delicate time.

How pregnancy affects your dental health

When expecting, moms need to be extra cautious of how they care for their bodies and what they put in them, as they run the risk of impacting the baby later on. This is especially crucial for oral hygiene. Allowing your oral health to deteriorate can result in cavities and decay, but it can do the same for your unborn child.

Gum disease

Pregnant women experience significant hormonal changes that can affect how their body functions. For example, higher levels of oestrogen can lead to gingivitis (gum disease) and more severe symptoms. In fact, around 75% of pregnant women have early-stage gum disease. This is because oestrogen elevates your inflammatory response to bacteria.

Cavities

Changes in behaviour, hormones and what you eat during pregnancy can cause frequent tooth decay and cavities, which you can pass on to your baby and cause issues for them later in life. 

Pregnancy tumours

Too much plaque can lead to non-cancerous pregnancy tumours on the gums. These are swollen, red lumps that form between the teeth and typically go away after giving birth. It’s essential not to pick at these tumours as they bleed easily. In rare cases, you may need a doctor to remove the tumours.

Tooth erosion

Frequent and recurring morning sickness can expose your teeth to too much acid and cause the enamel to weaken and erode. Erosion can lead to decay, discolouration and even tooth loss. Take note if you have frequent nausea and vomiting, and chat with your dentist about ways to prevent tooth erosion.

Signs to look out for during pregnancy

Should you start to see signs or symptoms or dental health concerns, set up a consultation with your dentist urgently for early diagnosis and treatment.

  • Bad breath, even when brushing frequently
  • Lumps or sores on the gums
  • Swollen, red and bleeding gums
  • Receding gum line
  • Toothache or mouth pain

Treating dental conditions during pregnancy

Visiting the dentist while pregnant is completely safe. We are trained to care for all patients and have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to various conditions and how they impact you and your baby.

If you are experiencing dental health problems, visit us, and we will perform a comprehensive assessment and diagnosis, followed by a step-by-step treatment plan.

Pregnancy-safe treatments include:

  • X-rays: Dental X-rays are completely safe during pregnancy and won’t cause any harm to you or your unborn child. We use dental X-rays to help diagnose specific conditions and assess the health of your teeth and jaw.
  • Medication: We can prescribe medications like antibiotics and painkillers to alleviate any symptoms or infections you have.
  • Local anaesthesia: It is safe to administer gentle sedation techniques that numb specific areas we treat during pregnancy.

Maintaining your dental health during pregnancy

The most effective ways to keep your oral health in check during this special time are with a proper oral hygiene routine and regular dental visits.

  • Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste and floss twice a day
  • Visit the dentist every 6 months for dental check-ups and teeth cleanings
  • Eat a nutritious diet and limit sugary foods and drinks such as sweets and sodas
  • Use antacids and mouth rinses for frequent morning sickness

Ensure that you inform your dentist of the following as well:

  • If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant
  • The medications you are on
  • If you are experiencing any dental health concerns
  • If you have a history of dental conditions
  • If you have a high-risk pregnancy

Find out more about JJS Dentistry and our treatments.

Slow Dentistry

Why we should all practice Slow Dentistry

We could all do with some slowing down in our lives, but Slow Dentistry is more than a means of encouraging dentists to take more time with their treatments and patients.

Slow Dentistry is a movement that seeks to change the way dentists practice and engage with patients. It’s about raising the standard of care and providing innovative solutions to complex dental issues – something we are experts in at JJS Dentistry.

The need to slow down

In modern times, dentists are facing issues they never have before. There’s an urgent need to see more patients in a short amount of time and a highly competitive industry. However, this can lead to rushed treatments, mistakes and poor patient experiences.

The Slow Dentistry movement implores dentists and dental practices to take their time with patients and promote quality over quantity. We are living in an age where we prioritise the patient’s experience, including quality care and safety.

We believe in protecting our patients and staff and providing world-class care tailored to each patient, which is why we are firm advocates for Slow Dentistry and implement it daily in our practice.

Learn more about how we incorporate Slow Dentistry here.

Elements of Slow Dentistry

Many factors are involved in promoting Slow Dentistry, and we take care to include them all at JJS Dentistry to ensure our patients receive a high standard during each and every appointment.

Hygiene care

Much like our care, we ensure that our dental practice maintains a high standard. Hygiene is essential for any medical facility, so we conduct routine cleanings and disinfections throughout the practice to prevent the spread of bacteria.

As a medical facility, we must adhere to universal and country-specific hygiene guidelines. Still, we go above and beyond to ensure our dental clinic is patient-ready.

Pain-free dentistry

Despite advancements in technology, there is still a stigma against dental practices. In addition, specific procedures can cause patients to feel anxious or uncomfortable. Slow Dentistry is about utilising advanced technology to ensure pain-free experiences for patients. 

At JJS Dentistry, we use various sedation techniques to help our patients feel relaxed and at ease during their treatments. Our friendly staff also provide a welcoming and non-judgemental atmosphere to all patients.

Informed consent

Patient consent is an essential part of providing dental treatment. Slow Dentistry encourages us to prioritise patient health and safety above all else through informed consent. 

As a patient, you deserve to make informed decisions about your healthcare. Therefore, we thoroughly explain each procedure to patients and ensure they are aware of potential risks or complications.

All patients are required to sign a consent form before treatment, ensuring both your and our staff’s safety throughout the process.

Quality care

Although we endeavour to make your visit as efficient as possible, we still want you to receive proper care and attention to your dental needs. Slow Dentistry promotes quality over speed to allow each patient the same level of expert care. 

By combining our advanced technology and Slow Dentistry elements, we can treat patients efficiently and maintain a high standard of service.

Keen to know more about our services? Contact us here.

The benefits of Slow Dentistry

Slow Dentistry is truly a movement that benefits everyone, from practitioners to patients. With a primary focus on patient health and safety, we can improve our techniques and reputation.

Other advantages of Slow Dentistry include:

  • Improved treatment results
  • Patient-driven treatments
  • Better understanding and communication between patients and practitioners
  • Increased safety and concern for patients and staff
  • Fewer complications and less risk in procedures
  • Improved reputation and brand image
  • Longer-lasting results
  • Greater satisfaction for practitioners and patients

Find out how you can benefit from our same-day procedures here.

Everything you need to know about fluoride

Everything you need to know about fluoride

You may have noticed that your toothpaste contains an ingredient called fluoride or heard your dentist talk about fluoride during your routine dental check-up. Fluoride is a mineral naturally found in soil, food and water but is more widely known for its role in oral health.

What are the uses of fluoride?

Fluoride is commonly found in many dental hygiene products, such as toothpaste, mouthwash and supplements, because it strengthens the tooth enamel and prevents decay. It is also sometimes added to public drinking water to increase community dental health and prevent disease.

If you go for regular dental check-ups, you will also be familiar with a fluoride treatment that your dentist leaves in your mouth for a minute to strengthen your teeth. You may have a fluoride prescription mouth rinse if you get frequent cavities.

What are the benefits of fluoride?

Fluoride’s primary benefit is that it remineralises teeth, hardening the enamel and preventing decay. Other uses include:

  • Preventing the build-up of oral bacteria
  • Rebuilds weakened enamel
  • Reverses tooth decay

Fluoride is especially useful in children whose teeth are still developing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that tooth decay is one of the most common chronic conditions affecting children. Incorporating a fluoride dental product such as toothpaste or mouthwash and drinking fluoridated water can help prevent tooth decay in children.

Are there any side effects?

Although fluoride is naturally occurring, it can cause some adverse reactions if consumed in high quantities. There are two main side effects that can occur.

Skeletal Fluorosis

Consuming high levels of fluoride over a long period can cause your bones to become stiff and painful, and long-term exposure leads to the calcification of ligaments. Although rare, this typically results from water that has been contaminated with too much fluoride.

Dental Fluorosis

Dental fluorosis causes white spots on your teeth from too much fluoride exposure. This is more common in children whose teeth are still developing under their gums. Ensure that you and your child are not swallowing too much toothpaste or mouthwash to prevent dental fluorosis.

Fluoride: Myth vs Fact

Despite numerous studies and information on the effectiveness and safety of fluoride, there is still plenty of misinformation surrounding this substance. And as it’s a substance that we often ingest and use in our everyday lives, it’s essential to remain educated on the products we consume. These are a few top myths and their countering facts surrounding fluoride.

Myth: Drinking fluoridated water will cause fluorosis.

Fact: Fluorosis occurs when someone consumes very high amounts of fluoride. The level of fluoride in fluoridated water is not high enough to cause this.

Myth: Fluoride is used as a medication.

Fact: Fluoride is not a medication but a mineral or nutrient that naturally occurs in water and food. We use just the right amount of fluoride to harden our enamel, and fluoridated water helps to prevent tooth decay without having any adverse effects.

Myth: Fluoride is toxic.

Fact: Fluorine, from which fluoride is derived, is considered hazardous waste by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the United States. However, fluoride is not entirely made up of fluorine and is not toxic in low and manageable amounts.

Myth: Fluoride is not safe for children.

Fact: Similarly to adults, fluoride is completely safe for children in moderate amounts. Children are especially susceptible to tooth decay, and fluoridated water and products help maintain their teeth health.

Myth: Fluoride raises the risk for autism.

Fact: No research or study has confirmed that fluoride or fluoridated water increases the risk for autism.

Fluoride is an essential mineral that we use daily to enhance the health of our teeth and although rare instances of harmful side effects can occur, it’s important to note the benefits. Contact us today to set up an appointment.

The fundamentals of dental photography

The fundamentals of dental photography

Dental photography is an essential aspect of any dental practice. Taking comprehensive photographs of patient cases can uplift a practice by showing the incredible results they are able to achieve and is especially useful for aesthetic dentists looking to create a portfolio of work.

We pride ourselves on using dental imagery to educate our patients and showcase our incredible work to prospective clients.

Uses for dental photography

Dental photography is mainly used to grow and market dental practices, but it has potential for so much more. We now have the technology and knowledge to create pristine and clear images of the teeth and mouth that can be reviewed by new and potential clients, colleagues and ourselves.

These are just a few of the vital uses of dental photography.

Documenting cases

Documenting each new patient’s case is exceptionally crucial for any dental practice. It marks a new patient joining the practice and can be referred to for progress tracking and medical-legal purposes. Our practice is equipped with advanced modern technology to capture each case we treat for client and practice benefits. In addition, we will continue to capture your progress with our dental photography during your treatment to maintain a detailed portfolio.

Educating patients

Taking comprehensive photographs can serve as examples to educate clients. Using existing images, we can inform patients about their condition and the treatment options available and show them examples of what their results can be. Furthermore, dental photography allows us to map out a patient’s treatment plan and explain improvements or setbacks in detail. It’s essential to keep clients informed about their progress and oral health, and dental photography is one of the most efficient ways to do this.

Marketing

At JJS Dentistry, we love to showcase our award-winning smiles. Dental photography is a great tool for inviting new patients as they show what the practice is capable of and its success rate. This is most common with before and after photographs, which are popular for branding elements that can make a practice stand out. We have an extensive gallery of dental photography that we equip online to inform potential clients about our cases, procedures and results.

Assessing outcomes

By building up an extensive portfolio of work, dentists can start to evaluate and predict specific outcomes from cases. This is helpful for the practice to understand its capabilities and shortcomings and informs patients of the expectations they should have for their case. In addition, detailed dental photographs captured during each session allow us to track the progress of treatment plans and assess if we are on the right path.

How dental photography is performed

Dental photography includes two main image types – intraoral (within the mouth) and extraoral (the entire face). Taking dental photographs is non-invasive and uses specific tools to capture clear, high-quality images, such as a high-definition camera, retractor equipment and mirrors.

We use these tools to take close-up photographs of the teeth, inside the mouth and the whole smile. It’s essential to take enough images to capture the condition of the mouth so that we can assess your oral health properly. However, this will only take a few minutes. Our photography experts are highly skilled to capture dental photographs for the practice.

Communication is a significant aspect of dental photography, so we will always request your consent before taking any images and explain the usage of the images. Our expert team will capture your images and keep them on file. These images allow us to map out your treatment plan and provide an in-depth analysis of your condition.

See examples of our dental photography here.