Ask The Dentist – October 2022 – Part 2

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Written and Medically Reviewed by

Medically Reviewed

This article is based on scientific evidence, written by experts and fact checked by experts. Dr. Daniel Cho strives to provide unbiased and honest feedback regarding dental topics. This article contains scientific references. The numbers in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.

Why Is My Jaw So Sore?

There are a few things that contribute to soreness in your jaw. These include stress, clenching and grinding, however jaw position is rarely spoken about. If the jaws are not placed in an optimal position in relation to each other, the muscles often need to strain to pull the jaw into your regular bite. This strains the chewing muscles that are just below and in front of the TMJ.

Anytime your teeth touch, the muscles are straining and spasming in order to place your teeth together. This results in the muscles never getting a chance to rest – it would be the same as if you were to do 10,000 bicep curls a day, every day. If the muscles don’t get a chance to rest, they will become painful with enough time.

Why Do I Wake Up In The Middle Of The Night?

This is a very complicated question but it can essentially be boiled down to two reasons. Something either externally or internally disturbing your sleeping patterns and arousing you enough to wake up. While seemingly obvious, the causes can range anywhere from a snoring partner, an active pet, or noisy neighbors. And of course, any of a myriad of sleep and breathing disorders.

While some external factors are in your control, many internal factors are not. For instance central sleep apnea, a condition where your brain forgets to signal your lungs to breathe, is something we have no conscious control over.

The importance of sleep cannot be stressed enough. What should be happening is that you should be falling asleep easily. You should also be staying asleep without waking up, and waking up with little to no difficulties and feeling refreshed. Speak to your doctor or dentist if this is not the case. They can come up with a treatment plan for you so you can get full rest and live optimally.

Do I Absolutely Need To Get An Implant?

The short answer is no, you do not absolutely need to get an implant. There are people that do not have the full complement of teeth who are able to live happy lives. However there are many instances where an implant will allow you to have a much better quality of life.

Despite what insurance companies may say, teeth are absolutely necessary for optimal quality of life. Having at least teeth to the first molar will allow for adequate chewing of all normally edible foods. The front teeth allow for tearing of food. Front teeth are also required for mental and social stability. Many people will first notice missing, crowded, or otherwise unaesthetic teeth.

Additionally, bone loss will continue to occur over time, leading to shrunken jaws and facial appearances. Even with all these, humans are incredibly adaptive and able to still function despite the lack of teeth.

Why Do I Need A Crown On A Tooth That Doesn’t Hurt?

Crowns are a protective restoration and function in the same way a hard hat protects your head from falling objects. When a tooth is weakened due to large fillings, cracks, decay or small to medium fractures, it is at risk of catastrophic fracturing. A worst case scenario will lead to the tooth splitting right in half and requiring an extraction and implant.

So being proactive and crowning an at risk tooth prior to fracturing is the reason why dentists say an asymptomatic tooth should get a crown. Instead of being reactive to a broken tooth, crowning it before fracturing will give the tooth a better long term prognosis.

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