Can Kids get TMJ Disorder?

can kids get tmj

can kids get tmjRoyal Oak and Birmingham, MI

Temporomandibular joint disorder or TMJD often is a problem that plagues adults, especially women. But, can kids get TMJ disorder too? When it comes to children in pain, it is very heartbreaking for most parents. If your child is suffering from pain in their jaws, they hear clicking or popping noises when eating or talking, or have lockjaw; they could have temporomandibular joint disorder. The temporomandibular joint is responsible for opening and closing the mouth and aids in speaking and chewing. Since most dental conditions could occur at any age, your child could develop TMJ disorder. Dr. Nancy Hartrick, a neuromuscular dentist in Royal Oak, is sharing some information to help you identify TMJD and understand available treatments to help eliminate this painful condition for your child.

TMJ Disorders Outlined

The temporomandibular joint is where the jawbone and skull are connected. When there is inflammation or another disturbance to the joint or surrounding tissue, it can create painful sensations that radiate through the jaw, head, and neck, and lead to tinnitus (ringing in the ears). The most common TMJD symptoms children complain about are consistent headaches or earaches, pain or swelling in the jaw, problems with opening and closing their mouths, or the inability to open or close their mouth. When your child expresses any one of the conditions, contact Dr. Hartrick, a Royal Oak dentist that treats TMJ disorder, to get a full examination and begin treatment immediately.

Causes of TMJ Disorder

Although teenage girls are more likely than other adolescents to develop TMJ disorder, those who develop the condition could be of any gender, age, or background. Even though the exact causes for TMJD are not known, certain factors may cause the condition to occur, such as anxiety, teeth grinding, jaw misalignment, or head trauma. Mouth breathing, and orofacial myofunctional disorders (tongue-tie, tongue thrust, open mouth posture), may also be the cause of a misaligned jaw or TMJD. Therefore, Dr. Hartrick advises to schedule an appointment for a full examination when your child experiences symptoms of TMJ disorder.

Treatment for Children with TMJ Disorder

Once your child has been examined and diagnosed by your family-friendly dentist in Birmingham at Hartrick Dentistry, there are various treatments available to address their pain. The proper treatment for your child will depend on the severity of the condition. For some patients, braces or orthodontic treatments to realign the bite and jaw may relieve the TMJ tension. If an orofacial myofunctional disorder is causing your child’s jaw to be misaligned, a course of myofunctional therapy could help strengthen the jaw and tongue muscles, as well as teach these muscles how to function properly. Correcting orofacial myofunctional disorders through facial growth development at an early age allows the jaws to grow to their full potential, which could help lessen your child’s risk of having TMJD in adulthood. If your child has bruxism or clenches and grinds their teeth while sleeping, a custom-made nightguard could reduce jaw joint pain. If your child experiences lockjaw, contact an emergency dentist in Royal Oak, Hartrick Dentistry, immediately.

Treatment for TMJ Disorder in Royal Oak and Birmingham, Michigan

Seeing your child in pain can be difficult for parents. At your neuromuscular dentist in Birmingham, Hartrick Dentistry, we take special care of children who suffer from TMJ disorder. From the initial examination to the end of your child’s treatment, our goal is to ensure your child experiences the least amount of pain from this condition. If your child is showing signs of possible TMJ symptoms, feel free to contact us by calling (248) 549-0950 or contact us online to schedule an appointment today!

Posted in TMJ

The Cause of your Chronic Headaches could be Right Under your Nose

cause of headaches

cause of headachesRoyal Oak and Birmingham, MI

Regularly occurring headaches can make it difficult to concentrate at work or carry out your daily routine. Unfortunately, pinpointing the cause of your headaches could be complicated and time-consuming, involving multiple visits to the doctor. However, your dentist in Royal Oak, Dr. Nancy Hartrick, is sharing that the cause of your headaches could be right under your nose (well, technically, right beside your nose!) as a symptom of temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJD).

What is TMJ disorder?

The joint that connects your jaw to your skull is called the temporomandibular joint. As the joint starts to malfunction, pain is transmitted to your jaw joints and quickly radiates through the surrounding nerves and musculature. TMJ may cause aggravation, irritation, and compression of the trigeminal nerve, which sends pain to your brain, causing chronic headaches. When TMJS is untreated, the pain could radiate to your neck or back. The most common treatment for migraines and headaches is a potent medication, which will only relieve the symptoms, not the cause of the condition.

What are some symptoms of TMJD other than headaches?

Along with chronic headaches, you may experience other symptoms indicating something is wrong with your joint. Below are more conditions that our Royal Oak neuromuscular dentist has discovered when diagnosing TMJ disorder.

  • Sore Jaw
  • Facial Pain
  • Locked jaw
  • Teeth Grinding
  • Ringing in your ears
  • Numbness in extremities
  • Neck, shoulder, or back pain
  • Worn, loose, chipped, or cracked teeth
  • Pain in the mouth that seems to migrate
  • Clicking or grating sounds emanating from your jaw

Can a dentist relieve my headaches?

In short, yes, a dentist could relieve your chronic headaches caused by TMJD. Through extensive post-graduate study, Dr. Hartrick is qualified to diagnose and treat TMJD through neuromuscular dentistry that repairs the alignment of your jaw. Dr. Hartrick studied neuromuscular dentistry at the Kois Center, an advanced graduate-level training center focusing on bite equilibrium, and balance among the orofacial musculature. Through the rigorous education program, Dr. Hartrick received training to identify TMJ disorder and learned about possible treatments to address the cause of stress to the temporomandibular joint. With proper treatment, TMJD, and its symptoms should subside, especially your headaches.

What are the consequences of untreated TMJD?

Unfortunately, TMJD will not disappear on its own. If the condition goes undiagnosed or untreated, the symptoms and problems will continue to progress. The most common symptom, pain, could become chronic and debilitating, resulting in complications in completing daily tasks. The disorder may affect the range of motion in your jaw, causing difficulties with speaking and eating, or resulting in lockjaw. Also, your jaw muscles work together with your neck muscles in keeping your spinal cord inline. If your condition goes untreated, you may experience pinched nerves, misaligned cervical vertebrae, and possible numbness in your extremities. Therefore, visiting your Birmingham dentist at Hartrick Dentistry to learn more about TMJD and available treatment options is recommended to relieve pain and restore standard functionality.

Headache Relief in Royal Oak and Birmingham, Michigan

Headaches that do not dissipate when taking over-the-counter medications could be a sign of a severe condition such as TMJD. The only way to stop the pain and restore a pain-free life from this condition is to have it diagnosed and begin the appropriate neuromuscular treatment. If you have been experiencing debilitating headaches and wonder if TMJD is the cause, feel free to contact Hartrick Dentistry by calling (248) 549-0950 or contact us online to schedule an appointment today!

Posted in TMJ

Doing this while Sleeping could be a Detriment to your Health

doing this while sleeping bad for health

doing this while sleeping bad for healthRoyal Oak and Birmingham, MI

You probably don’t give much thought to how you breathe, especially while sleeping. But, mouth breathing is common among many people, and it could be wrecking your oral health. Therefore, your airway dentist in Royal Oak, Dr. Nancy Hartrick, is sharing how doing this one thing while sleeping could be a detriment to your health. Nasal breathing is the pinnacle to good health, yet many people aren’t doing it.

What’s the big deal with mouth breathing?

When your nose is blocked, your body seeks an alternative way to get oxygen, which is your mouth. Dr. Nancy Hartrick, a sleep apnea dentist in Detroit, has seen mouth breathing cause additional health concerns such as cavities, periodontal disease, bad breath, and poor blood oxygenation that could be linked to high blood pressure and heart failure. More often than not, mouth breathing while sleeping is a sign of sleep apnea, an airway condition where airflow is restricted or completely cut during sleep. Snoring is the most common symptoms among people with sleep apnea, although it’s not the only sign. Most people who have sleep apnea aren’t aware of the condition because it happens while asleep. However, signs that you may have a sleep-breathing disorder include, daytime fatigue, moodiness, forgetfulness, morning headaches, and dry mouth or sore throat when you wake up.

Mouth Breathing Solutions

If you notice dry mouth symptoms regularly, it is time to seek a solution. Below are a few options to help reduce mouth breathing.

  • Mouth Taping – Known as the Butekyo taping method, this could be a simple hack for curbing your mouth breathing. Start by purchasing a roll of surgical tape from your local retailer or pharmacy. Just before bed, place a piece over your lips folding back one or both ends to remove the tape in case of an emergency. It actually helps force your body to breathe nasally.
  • Myofunctional Therapy – Myofunctional therapy is a series of exercises for your mouth and tongue to retrain these muscles to function correctly and hold the correct position when at rest. Mouth breathers are notorious for their mouth hanging open all of the time. This rest oral posture is indicative of an airway disorder, and usually has apparent physical effects, such as a recessed or weak chin, protruding upper teeth, and unfavorable profile. Proper rest oral posture involves the lips closed, teeth together, and tongue gently pressing against the roof of the mouth while breathing nasally. Myofunctional therapy can help correct poor rest oral posture.

Help with Mouth Breathing in Royal Oak and Birmingham, Michigan

Mouth breathing could cause several health complications, so it is best to find a solution as soon as possible. Usually, this condition begins during childhood, which is why routine dental visits are essential for children. Dr. Hartrick can identify mouth breathing or airway problems, and provide solutions to help your child live a healthier life. For adults, treatment is within reach at Hartrick Dentistry. To find out more, please contact our licensed myofunctional therapist in Royal Oak by calling (248) 549-0950 or book an appointment online to learn more about correcting mouth breathing.

Posted in Myofunctional Therapy

Could you Benefit from taking Probiotics?

benefits from taking probiotics

benefits from taking probioticsRoyal Oak and Birmingham, MI

Increasing evidence continues to support the fact that probiotics are beneficial to your health. Most known for increasing healthy gut bacteria and boosting your immune system, probiotics could also help your teeth and gums. Find out how you could benefit from taking probiotics for optimum oral health as your leading dentist in Royal Oak, Dr. Nancy Hartrick, provides some information about probiotic effectiveness.

What are probiotics?

Probiotics are living microorganisms that help the human body function and are most commonly found in health supplements, yogurt, and some skincare products. Your body contains both good and bad bacteria. Good bacteria, like probiotics, help your immune system and digestion while protecting your body against bad bacteria. Therefore, your dentist in Birmingham at Hartrick Dentistry recommends consuming probiotics to help reduce bad oral bacteria. However, remember that nothing can replace brushing and flossing your teeth daily.

How do probiotics promote oral health?

Since probiotics help fight against bad bacteria in your body, there are several ways the probiotic microorganisms could promote oral health.

  • Plaque Reduction – Plaque is the most common cause of tooth decay and cavities, yet it is the easiest to remove through a regular oral health care regimen. Also, regularly visiting your dentist to remove excess plaque and consuming probiotics could reduce the presence of plaque.
  • Reduce Gum Disease Risk – Beginning as gingivitis, gum disease is the direct result of harmful bacteria and plaque buildup in the mouth, and it is common in adults. To help neutralize this bacteria, probiotics that contain Lactobacillus reuteri could help remove microbes that are related to the cause of gingivitis. Also, probiotics could help reduce the inflammation associated with gum disease.
  • Reduce the Occurrence of Thrush – Typically present in infants and children, thrush is an oral disease caused by Candida albicans. However, thrush is not limited to infants and children as adults who have taken antibiotics or used an asthmatic inhaler could reduce the good microorganisms in the body. Since probiotics restore good bacteria in the body, you could reduce your risk of thrush.
  • Reduce Bad Breath – Using antibacterial mouthwash to treat bad breath could be causing more problems with bad breath. Since the mouthwash is removing both good and bad bacteria, it could create perfect conditions for bad bacterial growth. By consuming probiotics, you could naturally break the cycle by introducing good bacteria to fight the bad bacteria.

How do I ingest probiotics?

There are two simple ways to ingest probiotics. First, oral probiotic supplements that could be found at your local drug store or retail store should provide ample probiotics if you follow the directions for consumption. Secondly, consuming probiotic-rich foods like kefir, sauerkraut, yogurt, aged cheeses, or miso could naturally provide optimum probiotic ingestion.

Dentist in Royal Oak and Birmingham, Michigan

Probiotics could offer many overall health benefits in addition to oral health benefits. Taking probiotics may also boost your immune system. If you have questions about probiotic use or ways to improve your oral health, feel free to contact Hartrick Dentistry by calling (248) 549-0950 or contact us online today. We proudly serve the Royal Oak and Birmingham communities!

Posted in Oral Health

Could Anxiety be Fueling your Jaw Pain?

anxiety and jaw pain

anxiety and jaw painRoyal Oak and Birmingham, MI

Many people are unaware that anxiety and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder are related. Symptoms of anxiety and stress could lead to jaw joint pain similar to what patients with TMJ disorder experience. The question is, could anxiety be fueling your jaw pain? Dr. Nancy Hartrick, a neuromuscular dentist in Royal Oak, explores the connection between these two common conditions.

The Connection Between TMJ Disorder and Anxiety

The temporomandibular joint is a complex joint consisting of an intricate network of nerves, blood vessels, and muscles. Jaw misalignment is the most common cause of TMJ disorder and the pain that accompanies it. It’s often a frustrating disorder for patients, especially if not treated properly, which can lead to anxiety for the sufferer.

Common symptoms of TMJ disorder include headaches, jaw joint pain, dental pain, and lockjaw. However, TMJ disorder is known to present a wide range of symptoms that may include tinnitus (or ringing in the ears) and widespread chronic pain. Dealing with ongoing, debilitating pain could escalate anxiety, lead to insomnia, and interfere with your daily life.

Anxiety – Let’s Get Real

Anxiety is a normal emotion that everyone experiences. But, for some, it interferes with their daily life. Constantly feeling nervous, restless, and fatigued, or experiencing insomnia are classic symptoms of anxiety. These signs may cause significant bearing on your physical and psychological well-being. But, when it comes to anxiety and TMJ disorder, it’s a two-way street. Anxiety may cause, or be a symptom of TMJ disorder. Likewise, TMJ disorder may cause trouble sleeping, chronic fatigue, headaches, pain, and affect your overall well-being. If you experience symptoms of either condition, Dr. Hartrick recommends seeing a physician.

Get Help for Jaw Pain

Pain is the body’s way of signaling that there is a problem. With medical advancements that we have today, there is no reason why you should continue dealing with chronic pain or accept a misdiagnosis that leaves you hurting. Dr. Hartrick can help. TMJ disorder often is misdiagnosed by medical professionals, except by those that are trained and specialize in neuromuscular science. Dr. Hartrick is a neuromuscular dentist in Royal Oak that received extensive training of how the jaw joints and orofacial musculature should align for creating harmony and balance. If you think that you may have TMJ disorder, schedule a consultation with Hartrick Dentistry.

Dr. Hartrick uses sophisticated technology to diagnose TMJ disorder, determining the exact degree of jaw misalignment. This technology allows Dr. Hartrick to provide precise treatment to help end your TMJ pain once and for all. Using a custom fabricated oral appliance, Dr. Hartrick can adjust the appliance to hold your jaw in harmonious balance, relieving your pain. Treatment for TMJ disorder doesn’t have to rely on medication. Hartrick Dentistry provides medication-free treatment for TMJ disorder. Dr. Hartrick provides neuromuscular dentistry to the areas of Birmingham and Royal Oak. Don’t suffer in pain any longer, contact Hartrick Dentistry today by calling (248) 549-0950 and schedule a consultation.

Posted in TMJ

Signs of Tongue Thrust and what to do about it

signs of tongue thrust

signs of tongue thrustRoyal Oak and Birmingham, MI

As an essential organ of the human body, the tongue helps you taste, chew, and swallow. Unfortunately, improper tongue function could interfere with your oral health. Tongue thrust is a condition that could cause your teeth to become crooked or misaligned, resulting in a narrow airway and requiring additional dental care. But, you may not be aware that you have it. Dr. Nancy Hartrick, a neuromuscular dentist in Royal Oak, is sharing the signs of tongue thrust and what to do about it.

Symptoms of Tongue Thrust

One of the most obvious signs of tongue thrust is your tongue pushing against your teeth when you swallow. Although this symptom is typically obvious, other, less noticeable signs could indicate you have the condition.

  • Tongue thrust affects how you speak, eat, and swallow.
  • Since tongue thrust causes the tongue to push against the back of your front teeth, it could cause misalignment or gaps to appear over time. The gradual movement could require orthodontic treatment to realign your smile. However, orthodontic relapse may occur if this orofacial myofunctional disorder is not addressed.
  • Tongue thrust often results in open mouth posture and mouth breathing, which causes a narrow face and unfavorable profile.

These symptoms are not all-inclusive of tongue thrust. To get an accurate diagnosis, you would need to visit our dental office in Royal Oak at Hartrick Dentistry.

Causes of Tongue Thrust

Tongue thrust is an orofacial myofunctional disorder that typically is caused by thumb-sucking or extended pacifier usage. It also may be due to an untreated tongue-tie. Early diagnosis and treatment through myofunctional therapy corrects the improper tongue movements. However, if the condition is left untreated, it could cause skeletal development problems as the child ages, resulting in the need for orthodontic care.

It is best to identify and treat tongue thrust early in life. However, even adults benefit from treatment. If you notice your tongue pushes against your teeth when speaking, eating, or swallowing, it is time to schedule an appointment with your dentist.

Treatment Options for Tongue Thrust

Tongue thrust will not go away on its own. It requires treatment by a neuromuscular dentist in Royal Oak, such as Dr. Nancy Hartrick. If you believe that you or your child may have tongue thrust, schedule an appointment with our dentist in Royal Oak at Hartrick Dentistry for an assessment.

Some of the most common treatments for tongue thrust are outlined below

  • Myofunctional Therapy – Much like physical therapy for your body, myofunctional therapy uses a specific series of exercises that train the tongue and mouth to function properly when swallowing and breathing. In addition, it helps the tongue rest with closed lips, teeth together, and your tongue pressing gently against the roof of your mouth in a natural position.
  • Oral Appliances – Some oral appliances, like custom-fitted mouthguards, can be worn all or part of the day to help prevent your tongue from pressing against your teeth.
  • Behavioral Changes – Tongue thrust could be caused by a repeated pattern. Once diagnosed, your family dentist in Birmingham can help you or your child recognize the behavior and attempt to overcome the condition through self-awareness.
  • Orthodontics – Depending on the severity of your tongue thrust and the damage caused to your teeth, you may need orthodontic treatment. Dr. Hartrick offers Invisalign, which is a discreet way to straighten teeth.

Family Dentist in Royal Oak and Birmingham

Tongue thrust, if left untreated, could cause problems into adulthood. However, there are several options available to correct this disorder. If you think you or your child suffer from tongue thrust, feel free to contact Hartrick Dentistry by calling (248) 549-0950 or request an appointment today.

Posted in General Dentistry

Why Dental Implants are Worth the Cost

dental implants are worth it

dental implants are worth itRoyal Oak and Birmingham, MI

Have you ever felt self-conscious about your smile? If you are living with missing teeth, or having trouble with ill-fitting dentures, you should know that there is a solution to your problems—dental implants. When installed by an experienced dentist, a dental implant could last the rest of your life and revolutionize the way you feel about your smile. Hartrick Dentistry knows that dental implants are the best tooth replacement treatment on the market for a variety of reasons, but maybe you’re unsure about pursuing implants because of the cost. While it’s true that implants are expensive, Dr. Nancy Hartrick, an implant dentist in Royal Oak, wants to explain why receiving a dental implant to replace your lost teeth is worth every penny.

Dental Implants and Insurance

If you’ve been living with lost teeth, you probably already know about dental implants. Maybe you looked into getting an implant, but your dental insurance provider refused to cover the procedure. What reason did your insurer give? Your dental insurance carrier probably said that implants are experimental, or maybe that they only served a cosmetic purpose. The reality is that neither is true.

Dental implants are not experimental. Dentists have been using implants for more than 50 years. In that time, multiple comprehensive studies have been done proving that implants are safe, effective, long lasting, and the only way to fully replace a missing tooth.

Dental implants are not just for cosmetics. It’s true that a completed implant look and feels natural, but they provide functional benefits, too. Implants stimulate the jawbone, preventing your supporting bone structure from deteriorating and helping to keep your remaining natural teeth stable and in their place. This stimulation also encourages healthier gums and jaws.

Don’t Let Insurance Dictate Your Health Decisions

Dr. Nancy Hartrick doesn’t want you to give up on getting dental implants just because your insurance won’t cover them. However, some dental insurance plans offer coverage for dental implants. Check with your provider to find out. At our office in Royal Oak, we can develop an individualized treatment plan that outlines the estimated cost of your dental implant procedure.

We also offer three convenient payment options:

  1. Pre-pay prior to your appointment and get a 5 percent discount.
  2. Divide your payments by paying part of the balance the day you receive treatment, and the remaining balance within 30 days after your visit. If your balance is more than $1000, then you also can make a partial payment when scheduling your appointment.
  3. We also offer special financing packages through partnerships with CareCredit and Lending Club. These options allow you to charge the amount of your treatment and then make interest-free monthly payments for a specified time.

Dental Implants in Royal Oak

Are you tired of struggling with eating difficulties, problems speaking, or general frustration over living with lost teeth? You don’t have to live that way any longer. Committing to dental implants can seem costly, but in the long run, receiving implants to replace your lost teeth is worth it. To find out if dental implants are right for you, contact Hartrick Dentistry by calling (248) 549-0950 and schedule a consultation. We welcome patients from the areas of Birmingham and Royal Oak in Michigan.

Posted in Dental Implants

3 Causes of Gapped Teeth and how to Fix It

causes of gap teeth

causes of gap teethRoyal Oak and Birmingham, MI

Gapped teeth are common, but that doesn’t mean it makes you feel good about your smile if you have unevenly spaced teeth. Several factors impact how teeth align. Maybe your teeth have been gapped since you were or kid or you are an adult that now is dealing with orthodontic relapse as your teeth drift apart. Today on the blog, cosmetic dentist in Royal Oak, Dr. Nancy Hartrick, is sharing three causes of gapped teeth and how it can be fixed.

Missing Teeth

Teeth like their neighbors. If you have a tooth extracted, even a back tooth that no one would notice, eventually, your other teeth begin drifting, resulting in gaps. It can take years for teeth to shift in this manner, although it is best to replace a missing tooth as soon as possible. Dr. Hartrick offers tooth replacement options such as partial dentures, dental bridges, and dental implants to restore your smile and replace missing teeth. To find out the best tooth replacement option for you, contact Hartrick Dentistry today.

Untreated Tongue- or Lip-Tie

Also referred to as restricted frenum, this thin string of tissue attaches the bottom of the tongue to the floor of the mouth, as well as the upper lip to the gums along the boney ridge of the upper dental arch. You’re either born with a tongue- or lip-tie or you’re not. It isn’t something that develops over time or later in life. Restricted frenums often are discovered during infancy, especially when a nursing mother struggles to nurse or get her baby to latch properly. Unfortunately, tongue- and lip-ties go undiagnosed for years, which may result in negative oral habits or orofacial myofunctional disorders that impact how teeth emerge and align. Often, a lip-tie may cause gapped teeth because the frenum prevents the two front teeth from aligning. A simple remedy to this problem is a frenectomy, which can be done by a dentist in Royal Oak that offers laser dentistry. For children and adults who undergo this procedure, a course of myofunctional therapy usually is recommended to retrain the tongue, mouth, and lips to function properly and to correct oral posture. Myofunctional therapy can help adults reverse years of poor oral resting posture, reverse swallowing habits, and mouth breathing.

Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders

This likely is something you have not heard of, but orofacial myofunctional disorders include prolonged thumb or digit sucking, mouth breathing, tongue thrust, and improper swallowing patterns. Many times, these disorders develop at a young age. Unfortunately, if they aren’t corrected, lead to dental health problems, temporomandibular joint disorder, sleep apnea, and an unattractive facial profile. Gaps between teeth also may form as a result of improper rest oral posture or swallowing patterns. Even if a child grows up and undergoes orthodontic treatment, they likely experience a relapse, which means that after getting their braces off, their teeth shift out of alignment again, or gaps reappear.

Get Gapped Teeth Fixed in Royal Oak

If you are an adult with gapped teeth or your child has gapped teeth, we recommend a consultation with Dr. Nancy Hartrick. During this evaluation, Dr. Hartrick determines the cause behind unwanted gaps between your teeth and will present solutions to help you feel more confident about your smile. To learn more or to schedule a consultation, please call (248) 549-0950. Hartrick Dentistry provides oral care to Birmingham and Royal Oak.

Posted in General Dentistry

The Real Reasons behind your Child’s Tantrums

real reason behind childs tantrums

real reason behind childs tantrumsRoyal Oak and Birmingham, MI

Parenting is hard, especially if your child has been diagnosed with ADHD. Did you know that the Centers for Disease Control estimates nearly 6.1 million children have a behavioral disorder referred to as ADHD? Children with attention issues that have the inability to focus, are hyperactive, and disinterested in school or sports may be flagged as having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Still, there could be another reason behind your child’s tantrums, bed-wetting, and poor grades. Find out on today’s blog as Dr. Nancy Hartrick, a pediatric sleep apnea dentist in Royal Oak explores this topic.

What’s really going on with my child?

Simply put, a child with low oxygenation in his or her blood, meaning not getting enough air, exhibits ADHD-like symptoms. Could this mean that thousands of children are being medicated for a disorder they don’t really have? Absolutely!

How your child’s breathing patterns relate to their behavior

Everyone breathes, we couldn’t survive without air. But some people do not breathe correctly. You probably never thought there was a right and a wrong way to breathe. Nasal breathing is the most efficient and healthiest way to inhale and exhale air. Mouth breathing, however, results in lower oxygen levels in the blood, and basically starves the body of the air it needs to thrive.

For a child that chronically mouth breathes, their body isn’t receiving enough air, which means they experience lower levels of oxygen in their blood. As a result, their body suffers. Mouth breathers are more likely to have sleep apnea, which results in breathing through the mouth while asleep, snoring, and gasping for air. These breathing interruptions that occur wakes the brain just enough to disrupt sleep, leaving the person sleep deprived. When children do not get enough sleep, they are more likely to throw temper tantrums and become hyperactive. These factors alone are why so many children are diagnosed with ADHD when in actuality, they can’t breathe!

What causes my child to mouth breathe?

Orofacial myofunctional disorders or OMDs occur when the mouth and tongue do not function as they should. Tongue thrust, prolonged thumb sucking or pacifier usage, or even an untreated tongue- or lip-tie may cause a child to develop an OMD. This means the child is likely to mouth breathe and snore while sleeping. When a child has an OMD, their dental arch does not fully develop, it is quite narrow, which restricts the airway and oxygen flow. Thankfully, certified myofunctional therapists in Royal Oak at Hartrick Dentistry can help.

How myofunctional therapy corrects mouth breathing

Myofunctional therapy is like physical therapy for your mouth and tongue. Specific exercises retrain the orofacial structures of the tongue, lips, and mouth to function properly when eating, chewing, and swallowing. It also corrects open mouth posture and encourages nasal breathing. Only a certified myofunctional therapist can oversee this treatment. It can benefit young children, as well as adults.

How long until I see results?

Each case is different, but results may be achieved in only a few months, or it may take longer. Factors include the age of the patient, how long they have compensated for their OMD, and their willingness to follow through with treatment. For severe cases, treatment may last between six months to a year. The sooner treatment begins, the quicker you will see results. To learn more or to schedule an appointment with our myofunctional therapist, contact Hartrick Dentistry.

It may seem difficult to understand the relationship between how your child breathes and their behavior, but studies support this association. If your child exhibits ADHD or ADD-like symptoms, ask Dr. Hartrick for an airway evaluation. Myofunctional therapy is medication-free and could help your child live a healthier life.

Myofunctional Therapy in Royal Oak

Contact the office of Hartrick Dentistry by calling (248) 549-0950 to schedule a consultation and learn more about myofunctional therapy and mouth breathing.

Hartrick Dentistry provides comprehensive, compassionate, quality oral health care for patients in the areas of Birmingham and Royal Oak, Michigan.

Posted in Myofunctional Therapy

Stress-related jaw pain during the Coronavirus Pandemic

stress related jaw pain

stress related jaw painRoyal Oak and Birmingham, MI

Our entire society has been upended as part of the global fight against the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Attempts to contain COVID-19 have canceled major events and affected the way many people shop, travel, and work. Whether you’re living with the immediate threat of coronavirus or consequences of the containment, this is a stressful time for everyone. Stress is also a common cause of jaw pain. Your neuromuscular dentist in Royal Oak, Dr. Nancy Hartrick, wants you to know how she can help treat your stress-related jaw pain, even during the coronavirus pandemic.

How does stress threaten your oral health?

Stress is considered the most common culprit of bruxism—the clinical term for teeth grinding. Many people who grind their teeth do it when they’re sleeping, and may never realize that they’re doing it. Meanwhile, their teeth and mouths can be devastated by the habit. Bruxism can wear your teeth down to the nubs. It also can throw off the alignment of your jaws, leading to a case of temporomandibular joint disorder (also known as TMJ disorder or TMD).

The Causes of Jaw Pain

  • TMJ disorder: You may not even know where your temporomandibular joint is (it’s a small, round joint connecting your jaw to your skull), but if it malfunctions, it can have major consequences on your oral health and overall quality of life. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that about 10 million Americans suffer from TMJ disorder at any one time. This number is merely an estimate, however, because many people who have this ailment never realize it, they do not receive a proper diagnosis or treatment. TMJ disorder also is one of the most significant diagnostic challenges in medicine. It can be misidentified as another ailment—such as migraine headaches, for example, because TMD sufferers also experience frequently occurring headaches that cause intense pain like migraines.  
  • Tooth pain: Nothing can ruin your day quite like a toothache. Tooth pain also can lead to jaw trauma if whatever is affecting the tooth is not identified, diagnosed, and treated. Common culprits for tooth pain include cavities, tooth decay, damage due to an injury, or an infected tooth. However, dental pain is a sign that something is going on in your mouth, and the dentist should assess it.

How to Relieve Jaw Pain  

Right now, as we continue to take measures to battle against the spread of COVID-19, the American Dental Association is recommending a pause on all non-essential dental care—such as cleanings and cosmetic procedures. Dr. Hartrick is still seeing patients as she, and her team, exercise extreme precautions to keep patients safe while receiving care. If, however, if you do not wish to leave your home during the coronavirus pandemic, you may try applying moist heat or ice packs to your face on 10-minute intervals and taking over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen to relieve your discomfort.

In the meantime, Dr. Nancy Hartrick and her team of oral health professionals at Hartrick Dentistry are available to help treat the cause of your jaw pain and provide relief. She is experienced and trained in dealing with both TMJ disorder and bruxism. She also has the expertise and resources to provide comprehensive oral care in nearly any area of essential service where you may have a need.

Providing Dental Care During COVID-19 in Royal Oak

If you do need dental care during this stressful and uncertain time, you can trust your provider at Hartrick Dentistry. We maintain OSHA standards for cleanliness and sanitization. We’ve taken additional steps, like removing magazines from our lobby and asking patients to wait in their vehicles until their appointment is ready to begin. We ask that you please call our office before you enter. Also, each patient will have their temperature taken as they arrive for their appointment. Moreover, members of our clinical team who have direct contact with patients must wear protective gear such as gloves, surgical-grade masks, and goggles. If you have any additional questions about our policies during the coronavirus pandemic, or if you live in the areas of Royal Oak and Birmingham, Michigan, and you need dental care during COVID-19, please call us at (248) 549-0950 to schedule your appointment today.

Posted in TMJ

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Dr. Nancy Hartrick, DDS
32609 Woodward Ave.
Royal Oak, MI 48073
Call: 248-549-0950
Fax: 248-549-1180