Maxillofacial Dentistry

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Maxillofacial Dentistry in Albuquerque

Maxillofacial Dentistry: As your dentists, we are focused on more than just your teeth. We evaluate and treat disorders of the jaws, the jaw joints (TMJ), the associated musculature and sometimes the airway.
 

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Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD)

The jaw joint, technically called the temporomandibular joint, can suffer from disorders just as any of the joints in the body can. Disorders in the jaw can cause headaches or pain in the joint, limited or deviated opening, sore jaw muscles, trigger points, changes to your occlusion (bite), and popping or clicking sounds. Treatments are varied and can be aimed at alleviating the symptoms or treating the cause itself. Our doctors can evaluate your jaw joints to determine what might be causing your symptoms, and speak to you about a possible treatment.

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Snoring and Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea refers to a chronic condition where you have pauses in breathing, or shallow breathing, during your sleep. It’s a lot more serious than just snoring. We help screen patients who we believe may suffer from sleep apnea, but the diagnosis comes from your physician. Once diagnosed, your physician will discuss with you what your treatment options are – and if a sleep appliance is appropriate, we can evaluate you to decide what type is best.

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Grinding

The technical term for grinding teeth is ‘bruxism’ and over time, it can wear teeth leading to flattening, sensitivity, cracks and chipping, mobility and trauma. It can also damage restorations that have already been placed in your mouth. Oftentimes, a patient is unaware of the habit until we see signs of bruxism on the teeth. At that point, we may recommend an appliance, such as an occlusal guard, that can be worn during sleep to help protect teeth from the effects of bruxism.

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Clear Braces

Clear braces, such as the brand Invisalign, use a series of clear aligners worn all day every day to sequentially move teeth into more ideal alignment. The goal is not just a straighter smile. We can improve your occlusion (bite), better distribute forces to the teeth and make them easier to clean.

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Space Maintainers

Deciduous, or ‘baby’, teeth play an extremely important role in the mouth of a child, and when a tooth is lost prematurely, not only does the child lose some of their ability to chew well but other teeth in the area can shift and the permanent tooth may not have the proper space to erupt into. We may recommend that a space maintainer be placed in the area of the missing tooth to keep the surrounding teeth in their position and to maintain that empty space for the permanent tooth. There are different styles of space maintainers and our doctors can evaluate your child to determine which one is most appropriate.

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Retainers

Over a lifetime, teeth have the tendency to drift – especially after orthodontic treatment. Daily use of a retainer is one way that we retain the position of the teeth. Impressions are made and the retainer is designed to have a very precise fit around your teeth.