What Is Physiologic Dentistry?

Physiologic Dentistry Onalaska, WI

Physiologic dentistry is a holistic approach to dental healthcare. Teeth cleanings and routine exams are crucial to maintaining good oral health; however, many oral health problems require more comprehensive care. Health conditions in the mouth often indicate a larger issue in the jaw, temporomandibular joint (TMJ), airway, or other body parts. At Siegart Dental, we provide physiologic dental services to help patients maintain both a beautiful smile and good overall health.

Understanding physiologic dentistry

The mouth is often referred to as the window to the rest of the body. In particular, it can offer insight into the health of the TMJ, muscles, bones, and even nerves. In physiologic dentistry, practitioners take all this into account when treating patients. The goal is to fix the underlying problem to improve the patient’s general health. It follows that physiologic dentistry can treat various conditions and diseases, from bite issues and broken teeth to TMJ disorders and obstructive sleep apnea. Take a closer look below.

Bite issues and broken teeth

Bite issues are among the most common issues treated at our physiologic dental office. Chipped, cracked, or otherwise broken teeth can be repaired using dental crowns, inlays or onlays, bonding, or other dental restorations. Physiologic dentists will not only provide these restorations but also look for and treat the underlying cause. This often boils down to a problem with the bite, such as a misaligned bite (malocclusion).

Behaviors that may cause tooth fractures include biting hard foods like candy, chewing ice, biting nails, playing sports without a mouthguard, and teeth grinding (bruxism). However, some tooth fractures are not as easy to treat as surface-level issues, requiring the help of a dental professional. Common bite-related causes of broken teeth include:

  • Overbite: When the upper teeth protrude past the lower teeth.
  • Underbite: When the upper teeth are far behind the lower teeth
  • Crossbite: When biting, the upper teeth (either the front or back teeth only) sit right inside the lower teeth.
  • Open bite: When the upper and lower front teeth do not meet when biting.
  • Spacing issues: When the teeth are spaced too far apart (gaps in the teeth) or too close together (crowding).

Bite issues may bring more than broken teeth. They can also cause headaches, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), and general discomfort in the mouth. Certain types of malocclusion, such as crowding, make it difficult to practice good oral hygiene. Food can easily become lodged between crowded or twisted teeth — it can then be difficult to remove because the teeth overlap. This creates the perfect storm for tooth decay (cavities), gum disease, and gum recession.

Temporomandibular joint disorders, or TMJ disorders

The TMJ connects the jaw and the skull. Think of it like a door hinge that is crucial to the function of one’s jaw. Unfortunately, it can become dysfunctional and result in a TMJ disorder. Pain in the jaw, face, neck, and shoulder is common, as are migraines, earaches, and toothaches. The jaw may also feel stiff and pop or click while chewing.

Misaligned bites may lead to a TMJ disorder, in which the jaw becomes painful and tender. Conversely, a TMJ disorder can also cause the teeth to shift out of alignment. Other common causes range from bruxism and jaw clenching (such as from stress) to arthritis and traumatic injuries.

TMJ disorders can be tricky to manage, mainly because many factors could contribute to them. In physiological dentistry, the goal is to minimize TMJ dysfunction symptoms while also treating the underlying cause. Our dentist may take various approaches based on the specific condition of the patient, such as restorative procedures to repair broken teeth or orthodontic treatments to realign the bite. We can also advise on managing the pain and discomfort associated with TMJ dysfunction.

Sleep apnea

Oral health issues may obstruct the airway, leading to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and vice versa. OSA happens when the throat muscles become too relaxed during sleep and block the airflow, interfering with one’s breathing.

Physiological dental treatment for OSA focuses on how to keep the airway open and unobstructed throughout the night. A common approach is to create custom mouthpieces, like mandibular advancement devices (MADs) or dental sleep devices, to realign the jaw. MADs push the jaw forward to keep the airway open and help strengthen it.

Call to schedule an appointment

Turn to physiological dentistry for comprehensive dental care. At Siegart Dental, we address both the symptom and the cause, whether that is a bite issue, TMJ disorder, airway obstruction, or another condition. Call today to schedule your first appointment.

Request an appointment here: https://siegertdental.com or call Siegert Dental at (608) 394-3943 for an appointment in our Onalaska office.

Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Physiologic Dentistry in Onalaska, WI.

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