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    Last updated 9 months ago

    The temporomandibular joints, called TMJ, are the joints and jaw muscles that make it possible to open and close your mouth. Located on each side of the head, your TMJ work together when you chew, speak or swallow and include muscles and ligaments as well as the jaw bone. They also control the lower jaw (mandible) as it moves forward, backward and side to side.

    Each TMJ has a disc between the ball and socket. The disc cushions the load while enabling the jaw to open widely and rotate or glide. Any problem that prevents this complex system of muscles, ligaments, discs and bones from working properly may result in a painful TMJ disorder.

    Possible causes of TMJ disorders include:

    • arthritis
    • dislocation
    • injury
    • tooth and jaw alignment
    • stress and teeth grinding

    Diagnosis is an important step before treatment. Part of the dental examination includes checking the joints and muscles for tenderness, clicking, popping or difficulty moving. Depending on the diagnosis, the doctors may refer you to a physician.

    There are several treatments for TMJ disorders. This step-by-step plan from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research allows you to try simple treatment before moving on to more involved treatment. The NIDCR also recommends a “less is often best” approach in treating TMJ disorders, which includes: 

    • eating softer foods
    • avoiding chewing gum and biting your nails
    • modifying the pain with heat packs
    • practicing relaxation techniques to control jaw tension, such as meditation or biofeedback.

    If necessary for your symptoms, the following treatments may be advised:

    • exercises to strengthen your jaw muscles
    • medications prescribed by your dentist; for example, muscle relaxants, analgesics, anti-anxiety drugs or anti-inflammatory medications
    • a night guard or bite plate to decrease clenching or grinding of teeth.

    If you are experiencing facial pain, call our office today to schedule an evaluation.  Dr. John Michael Tate and Dr. Tyler Tate will be happy to assess your condition and make treatment recommendations. 



    Last updated 9 months ago

    We are periodically greeted in the morning by Lego Monsters left by our creative younger patients.   We LOVE our younger patients!  


    Last updated 9 months ago

    Dentists as Inventors

    Grape Juice

    In 1869, Dr Thomas Bramwell Welch, a dentist from Vineland, New Jersey, successfully pasteurized Concord grape juice to produce an “unfermented sacramental wine” for fellow parishioners at his church.  Twenty-four years later, his son, Dr Charles E. Welch, also a dentist, gave up his practice to spend more time marketing the grape juice, which became a hit at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago.

    Chewing Gum

    Although numerous individuals throughout history had been involved in the development of chewing gum, Dr William F. Semple, a dentist from Mount Vernon, Ohio, obtained the first patent for what he called “improved bubble-gum” in 1869.  Dr Semple planned to make bubble gum out of rubber, adding “scouring properties” such as powdered licorice root and charcoal.  He believed the gum would exercise the jaw and clean teeth at the same time.

    Cotton Candy

    The spun-sugar confection and the device that made it were invented in 1897 by Dr William Morrison, a dentist, and John C. Wharton.  Their device heated sugar in a spinning bowl that had tiny holes in it.  The Nashville, Tennessee inventors called their treat “Fairy Floss”. They introduced it to the world at the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904. 

    Dental Chair

    Dr Josiah Foster Flagg, considered to be America’s first native-born, full-time dentist, added a headrest and an extended armrest to a Windsor chair to create the first dental chair in 1790.  Before Dr Flagg’s invention, patients either had to sit on the floor and clutch onto the dentist’s leg for support or sit straight up in an ordinary chair while the dentist operated. 

    You can use these “Fun Facts” to impress your friends. 

    (Facts taken from the following website:


    Last updated 9 months ago

    Did you know…..

    • Birds have no teeth.  They “chew” their food by swallowing tiny bits of gravel.  The gravel chews the food internally.
    • Cats have 30 teeth and dogs have 42 teeth.  Like humans, our pets can develop plaque, tartar and periodontal disease.
    • Groundhogs have four large incisor teeth for biting off vegetation and gnawing through roots.  These teeth keep growing through their lives because constant usage keeps wearing them down.  They have 18 chewing teeth.
    • The lion has 30 teeth.  Instead of molars, they have four “carnissials” which work like scissors for cutting food.  Lions don’t really chew their food because their jaw can’t move from side to side.
    • A pair of tusks from an African elephant can weigh 465 pounds.  The tusks of the extinct straight-tusked elephant measured 16 ½ feet long.
    • Giraffes have 32 permanent teeth, just like humans.  Their teeth can measure 17 inches long.
    • A hippo is capable of biting  a small boat in half with its sharp, 20 inch long teeth!

    And now you know.  Kids, you can amaze your friends with these "Weird Facts".


    Last updated 9 months ago

    God Bless America!

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All content and information are of an unofficial nature and are not intended to be interpreted as dental advice.
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