How to Deal with a TMJ Headache

Here at Picasso Smiles, we know no one wants a headache. When addressing any kind of physical pain, it’s important to correctly identify what the source of the pain is and how to most appropriately address it. In the case of pain in your temporomandibular joint, or TMJ pain, many people mistake this pain for a common headache. It’s important to know the difference so that you can know how to most appropriately address your pain in order to get relief as soon as possible. Feel free to contact our Picasso Smiles dentists with any questions via our office in Culver City.

Specific Signs of a TMJ Headache

Your standard headache or migraine may initially bear a few things in common with TMJ pain, but a TMJ headache stems specifically from pain along your jaw that causes additional pain throughout your face, head, and neck. Keep an eye out for the following symptoms that indicate that you are likely experiencing TMJ-related pain instead of a simple headache:

  • Aching ear pain
  • Difficulty chewing or unusual pain while eating
  • Radiating pain from the jaw
  • Jaw joint locking or crackling/grinding when moved
  • Excessive pain or tenderness in the jaw

TMJ headaches are unlikely to cause specific headache and migraine symptoms like nausea or sensitivity to light and sound, but they can occasionally trigger migraines if you are prone to having them. This is one of the many reasons why it’s important to address TMJ pain as soon as possible, either by reaching out to your Picasso Smiles Dental team or trying one of the following recommendations.

Handling TMJ Pain

Address the Source

TMJ pain is often misdiagnosed as simply a tension headache. While this may not be entirely accurate, they both can have a common trigger: stress. Address any causes of anxiety by incorporating more therapeutic activities throughout your regular schedule, such as exercise, journaling, meditation, or professional help in the Los Angeles area.

Adjust Your Oral Care Habits

A good oral hygiene is important for a wide range of health benefits, and making a few adjustments can help alleviate TMJ pain. If you’ve been chewing gum on a regular basis, this may be prompting or exacerbating your TMJ pain. Choose mints or a more rigorous mouthwash if bad breath is a concern.

Take A Pain Reliever

Over the counter pain relievers can help bring down inflammation and pain before they become too severe. Be sure to follow all included medication instructions or reach out to your Picasso Smiles dentist if you have any questions or concerns.

Give Yourself a Massage

Beyond taking an over the counter pain reliever, you can physically help reduce pain and inflammation by softly kneading the area around your jaw to increase blood flow. Focus on the TMJ itself, where your jaw connects, and massage gently with a few fingers.

Seek Professional Help

If symptoms have not subsided in some time or in cases where you have extreme difficulty opening and closing your mouth, we’d highly suggest that you contact our Picasso Smiles Dental team in Culver City as soon as possible to prevent more long-term damage.

Reach Out To Picasso Smiles Today!

Picasso Smiles is proud to offer a wide range of dental services and procedures. Contact us at any time and we’ll be happy to get you the help and information. Schedule an appointment with Picasso Smiles today to start improving your dental and overall health! Our team can’t wait to support you and your loved ones on your way to a happier, healthier smile.

What is TMD?

When addressing your dental concerns, many people don’t think about how many different parts of your physical health can be affected by your mouth. It’s critical, however, to know how pain in your teeth and jaw can reach beyond just your mouth, like when a patient is experiencing Temporomandibular Disorder. Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD) refers to problems and pain stemming from the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which is the joint that connects your jaw bone to your skull. Our El Paso team at Picasso Smiles Dental wants to ensure that all of our patients are receiving the proper care, and this includes your ability to recognize and address the signs of TMD. We’ve broken down an overview and some tips below, but please feel free to reach out to us at any time.

Common Signs and Symptoms of TMD

Catching and addressing the signs of TMD as soon as possible is critical to reducing your pain and recovery time. Connect with our Picasso Smiles staff if you or a loved one are experiencing any of the following symptoms:

Pain Across Your Face, Especially The Ear Area

While many different types of headaches (tension, sinus, etc.) can lead to pain across the pace, TMD pain starts in the TMJ area which will likely lead to pain specifically in and around your ear.

Face Swelling

Exacerbation of tension in your TMJ area can lead to inflammation in the surrounding area, which may appear as a general swelling appearance in your face.

Locking Or Out Of Place Jaw

If you find that you’re having difficulty opening and closing your jaw because your TMJ is locking (with either an open or closed mouth), then we’d recommend that you reach out to your Picasso Smiles dentist as soon as possible.

Popping Or Clicking With Normal Jaw Movement

Popping or clicking while eating or speaking may be indicative of a problem with your jaw that should be addressed to prevent any aggravation of your TMJ.

Pain And/Or Tenderness In Jaw Muscles

Again, if you are experiencing pain or tenderness specifically in and around your jaw muscles, this is likely related to TMD and you should consult with your Picasso Smiles dental team to prevent this from becoming a chronic issue.Man sitting on a bench touches his jaw, which is hurting him

Alleviating and Avoiding TMD

There are plenty of tips for addressing TMD, but the fact of the matter is that there is no single cure to guarantee the end of your TMJ pain. It’s critical to be aware of and seek professional evaluation for how TMD is affecting your daily routine and any pain in your face to find the most effective way to address your specific symptoms.

Take Measures to Reduce Stress

TMD symptoms are often confused with tension headaches, and this is no surprise. Both have very similar traits and causes, which means they also have similar preventative methods. Incorporating practices that reduce your average levels of stress, such as meditation, yoga, or cognitive behavioral therapy can vastly improve your overall health and TMD-related pain.

Use The Proper Tools

If you are prone to grinding or clenching your teeth, using a night guard (or regular mouthguard during high-impact activity) can work wonders in reducing harmful habits that lead to or exacerbate TMD. That added layer will reduce tension damage in both the short and long term.

Seek Medical Help

In cases where pain will not subside, try using over the counter medicinal options. Make sure that you follow any accompanying instructions as close as possible. If over the counter options are not sufficient, we would encourage you to reach out to a medical professional as soon as possible to address muscle spasms or similar pain. Our El Paso team at Picasso Smiles Dental is always happy to help you and your family alleviate whatever mouth-related pain you’re experiencing.

Schedule a Visit at Picasso Smiles Today!

Whatever your circumstances are, know that the team at Picasso Smiles Dental is here to help you. Schedule an appointment today to discuss your options in addressing TMD or other dental concerns. Our friendly offices in El Paso are welcoming environments that will make your experience as painless as possible. We can’t wait to meet you and your loved ones!

Why Do Teeth Shift?

At Picasso Smiles in El Paso, we pride ourselves on being experts in teeth movement since we commonly help guide teeth into more optimal positions for our patients! It’s common to think that orthodontic treatment is the only way to move teeth, but this is untrue. There are several reasons why teeth will shift over time, and it’s important to understand the causes in case professional treatment is required.

The Anatomy of the Tooth and Jawbone

In order to understand how it’s even possible for teeth to shift, we’re first going to explain the anatomy of the teeth and jawbone and how the materials work together.

Teeth: Teeth have an outer layer called cementum which is made of minerals and collagen.

Jawbone: The jawbone is connected to the teeth through the periodontal ligament. This ligament is comprised of collagen and tightly wrapped connective tissue.

Teeth and Jawbones: Between the cementum layer of teeth and the periodontal ligament, teeth are sturdily fastened in the mouth. Keep in mind, the ligament, while strong, is also a flexible, soft tissue making it susceptible to mobility.

Causes of Tooth Shifting

Given that the teeth and jawbone are connected by flexible tissues, it is without a doubt that any tooth has the potential to shift or even knocked out of place. The following causes can provoke a shift in teeth:

  • Age: Mesial drift causes your teeth to move toward the front of your mouth with age
  • Decrease in enamel: Enamel loss changes tooth shape, causing teeth to move out of alignment
  • Gum disease: Bacteria and plaque buildup can increase your chances of gum disease and result in broken teeth and tooth loss in severe cases
  • Diabetes: Secondary diseases, like untreated diabetes, can cause tooth loss. Missing teeth can cause surrounding teeth to move sideways or downward.

Contact Our El Paso Dental & Orthodontic Office with Questions Today!

If you’ve recently finished orthodontic treatment or have lapsed in your retainer habits, you may want to consider visiting us at Picasso Smiles to evaluate signs of teeth shifting. Feel free to Contact us if you’re interested in scheduling an appointment. Our team looks forward to seeing you soon!

How Braces Improve Your Smile and Overall Oral Health

At Picasso Smiles in El Paso, TX we know for a fact that braces can improve your smile and overall oral health. How do we know? Thanks to our awesome patients, we have dozens of examples of beautiful smiles that showcase what a healthy smile truly looks like.

Read below to find out how braces will improve your smile and oral health.

Braces and a Beautiful Smile

Your El Paso orthodontists, Dr. Tamir Shams & Dr. Nima Shayesteh, have seen countless smiles and mouths of children, teen, and adults. They understand that everyone’s individual teeth, jaws, and grins have unique shapes and may require different treatment plans including Invisalign, clear braces, and more. If you’re wondering what braces can do for your smile, take a look at the following list of malocclusions orthodontic treatment can correct:

Dr. Tamir Shams & Dr. Nima Shayesteh want each of their patients to know that no matter what treatment plan you choose, you can count on being satisfied with your new, straight smile.

Braces and a Healthy Mouth

The above malocclusions, or bad bites, are common, but correcting the issues with braces also contributes to a healthier mouth. Braces will help align your teeth properly and indirectly help prevent tooth decay and other health problems later in life.

Crooked teeth can be more difficult to brush and floss properly, which can result in significantly more cavities and need for dental work such as fillings and root canals. Furthermore, without proper hygiene, your teeth and gums can develop gingivitis, which can require dentures later in life.

If you consider the cost of treating multiple cavities, root canals, and other dental treatment costs, braces or Invisalign are worth the investment.

Contact Your El Paso Orthodontist Today!

If you have further questions about the topics discussed in this blog post or if you’re ready to reap the benefits of orthodontic treatment, contact us today! You can reach our El Paso dental and orthodontic office at (915) 587-6453 for our Westside office and (915) 857-6453 for our Eastside office. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

How to Choose the Right Toothpaste for Your Child

At Picasso Smiles, we believe everyone deserves a healthy smile – and the best way to achieve one is to start the process at a young age. Our Culver City dentists are proud to help patients of all ages in West Los Angeles achieve great smiles through top of the line dental care. Proper oral hygiene is vital to maintaining a healthy smile as well. Children should start brushing their teeth with toothpaste at age 2, but not all toothpastes are created equal. So how do you choose the best toothpaste for your child?

The Best Toothpaste for Children

As a parent, the overwhelming amount of choices in the toothpaste aisle can make it hard to know what’s best for your child’s teeth. Toothpastes come in just about every flavor, color, and recipe imaginable, so if you’re unsure which toothpaste to pick out for your child, here are a few things to look for:

  • The ADA Seal: The American Dental Association maintains stringent standards for toothpaste, and they place their seal only on toothpastes that meet those standards. Look for the ADA seal on the box – it should be clearly visible, and it means the toothpaste is 100% safe for your child.
  • Favorite Flavors: When you start brushing your child’s teeth and teaching them to brush on their own, you’re building habits that will last a lifetime. As such, brushing should be as enjoyable as possible, so your child is more motivated to do it. Look for toothpaste that comes in your child’s favorite flavors, as this will make them more amenable to the brushing routine.
  • Fluoride: Fluoride is mineral that builds the strength of teeth, and it’s a critical ingredient in toothpaste. Make sure you purchase fluoridated toothpaste for your child, as this will help their teeth grow strong and stay healthy.

Schedule an Appointment with Your Culver City Pediatric Dentist

Choosing a good toothpaste and brushing twice a day is vital to your child’s dental development, but the alignment of your child’s teeth is just as important as dental health. If you have questions about dental or orthodontic health for yourself or a loved one, please feel free to contact us at 424.361.5218. We look forward to hearing from you!

New Patient Special at Picasso Smiles in Culver City

Picasso Smiles Dental of Culver City is offering a new patient special for a limited time! For just $125, you can get a comprehensive dental exam, digital x-ray, & thorough teeth cleaning by one of our trained and highly skilled dental hygienists, in absence of periodontitis. Plus, you will also receive a complimentary Sonicare electric toothbrush as our bonus gift to you!

Starting Your Treatment The Right Way

At Picasso Smiles Dental, Drs. Tamir Shams and Nima Shayesteh have made it their mission to bring beautiful smiles to West Los Angeles – and that begins with helping all of our new patients in Culver City and beyond achieve a fresh, healthy start. During our dental exams, our hygienists expertly inspect the teeth for any dental issues, such as gum disease or tooth decay. Our office only employs the most advanced technology, which is why you can also expect a digital x-ray to help us diagnose any potential oral issues.

Finally, our exhaustive teeth cleanings ensure that every inch of your teeth are spotless and shiny. These three steps allow for a solid foundation so you can potentially explore our other areas of expertise later down the road, such as:

  • Family Dentistry. We treat teens and children!
  • Cosmetic & Implant Dentistry
  • Ultra-conservative approach in treating and repairing teeth (Biomimetic Dentistry)
  • TMD Therapy for degenerative or painful TMJ joints and associated symptoms
  • And so much more!

Call Us Today To Find Out More!

If our new patient special sounds right for you and you only want to pay $125 for a dental exam, digital x-ray, and teeth cleaning, don’t forget to request an appointment!

What Is Biomimetic Dentistry?

When broken down, the word “biomimetic” translates into “mimicking life”. In the world of dentistry, the biomimetic approach revolutionizes the way dentists restore teeth, allowing them to create more life-like recreations of a patient’s natural tooth look, feel, and function. The result is a smile that is healthier and stronger than has never before been possible with more traditional treatment methods.

Repairing The Biomechanical Structure Of Teeth

Traditional dental restoration methods have been the sole focus of creating a restoration that is strong enough to withstand decay or other damage, but unfortunately, this comes at the cost of healthy tooth structure being sacrificed. You can see this clearly in the process of creating a filling, where the dentist clears away the decay, along with a great deal of healthy tooth in order to create a supporting structure designed to enhance the strength of the filling. Then, the tooth is restored using a durable material such as amalgam, gold, or porcelain bonded with metal. While strong, these materials do not come close to the natural look and feel of your teeth.

Biomimetic dentistry changes the game by using a different set of materials to create inlays or onlays that are closer to the biomechanical structure of the tooth, allowing for a stronger bond. The biomimetic approach uses stress-reduced direct composite and porcelain composite, which more closely resemble the natural tooth. Additionally, the inlays and onlays don’t require the shaving down of healthy tooth to form a strong bond.

Biomimetic Dentistry Leads To Less Root Canals

With traditional treatment methods, patients actually get caught in something that is referred to as the “cycle or restoration”. What occurs in this cycle is that certain imperfections in the beginning of the restoration process, such as gaps in fillings and the destroying of healthy tooth structure, lead to more infection and decay. In the future, the patient is more likely to require a root canal and dental implant due to the compromised tooth structure and decay, but it was the initial restoration that sent them down the road in the first place.

With biomimetic dentistry, the change in materials and approach to treatment aims to break the cycle by creating a stronger bond with no imperfections and preserving healthy tooth structure, making for a longer lasting smile overall.

Biomimetic Dentistry Is A Rare, New Practice

The field of dentistry is always evolving, and when some new method or treatment emerges, not all dentists adopt it right away. For biomimetic dentistry, while it makes restoration treatment more effective and provides better long term benefits, the Foundation of Biomimetic Dentistry estimates that only about 3% of dental offices actually use this method at this point, with this number projected to grow as time goes on.

Contact Us For More Information On Biomimetic Dentistry

Picasso Smiles is proud to be one of the few dental practices that currently offers dental restoration using the biomimetic approach, in both our El Paso, TX and Culver City, CA locations. If you have any questions about biomimetic dentistry and how it changes your dental treatment for the better, just contact us and we’ll be happy to get you all of the information you need. If you’re ready to restore your smile to its past radiance, schedule an appointment with Picasso Smiles today! We look forward to helping you achieve a healthy, beautiful smile that will last a lifetime!

What’s First: Brushing Or Flossing?

A question people often find themselves asking their dentist is, “What comes first: brushing or flossing?” Here at Picasso Smiles in Culver City, CA, our world-class dentists and oral hygienists have weighed in on the correct steps to take during your daily oral care routine. While brushing and flossing are the perfect combination for healthy teeth and gums, it’s best to start off your morning by flossing first, brushing second, and using mouthwash last!

First Thing’s First: Flossing

At Picasso Smiles, our staff advises that your start your oral health care routine by flossing! Adequately flossing helps to remove the sticky bacteria and plaque that builds up on the inside surfaces of your teeth and gums, preventing gingivitis and premature gum recession. Cleaning between the teeth daily with floss removes food debris in places that your toothbrush just cannot reach! People who have difficulty handling string dental floss may prefer to use another kind of interdental cleaner, such as special brushes, floss picks, or sticks. If you use interdental cleaners, ask a member of our dental team about how to use them properly to avoid injuring your gums.

Brush It Off!

After flossing, gently brush your teeth and gums with a soft to medium hardness toothbrush, as it helps to remove the bacteria that causes decay on the outside surfaces of your teeth, as well as aids in preventing gum disease. Pick out a toothbrush that feels comfortable in your hand and in your mouth, and use it twice a day. Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against the gums, moving the brush back and forth gently in short (tooth-wide) strokes, brushing the outer tooth surfaces and the inner tooth surfaces.

Wash It Out!

Finally, when you finish flossing and brushing, use an antibacterial mouthwash to really seal the deal! Mouthwash kills 99% of bad breath germs, has a 21% greater gingivitis reduction than merely brushing and flossing alone, and was shown in a clinical study to reduce 52% more plaque than just brushing and flossing alone.

Get In Touch With Your Culver City, CA Dentists At Picasso Smiles!

By implementing this regimen into your daily oral healthcare routine, you’ll see the benefits of good oral hygiene in no time! Adequate flossing, brushing, and mouth washing are crucial steps to ensuring your teeth and gums are as healthy as they can be. On top of your at-home oral care routine, make sure to visit your dentists at Picasso Smiles in Culver City, CA every six months to keep your teeth in great shape for the long haul! For more information on the benefits of our oral hygiene regimen, feel free to get in touch with one of our staff members today!

How to Enjoy Halloween While Also Keeping Your Oral Health in Mind

At Picasso Smiles in Culver City, CA, our dentists and oral hygienists know how tough it can be to find tooth-friendly candy for your kids, especially with Halloween right around the corner! Nothing says fall more than spooky pumpkins, scary costumes, and jack-o-lanterns full of delicious candy…but unfortunately, some of the candy your children will get trick-or-treating might not be great their oral health!

Hard candies and sticky sweets contain enormous amounts of sugar that can cake onto and in between your children’s teeth, making it difficult for them to properly floss and brush all of that cavity-causing sugar away! At Picasso Smiles, it’s our mission to ensure that you and your children have a great Halloween this year, so our team has compiled a list of tooth-friendly Halloween candy that we guarantee your kids will enjoy, as well as a few tips on candy consuming best practices.

Trick-Or-Treat: 7 Types Of Tooth-Friendly Halloween Candy

If your kids are chocolate lovers, you are in luck! Soft, milk-chocolate candies with easy-to-eat ingredients are by far the safest of all Halloween treats. Additionally, your children will most likely receive fun-sized portions of these chocolate bars, helping them cut back on their sugar intake and chewing time compared to king-sized candy. Some of our favorite chocolatey, yet tooth-friendly sweet treats include:

  • Kit Kats
  • 3 Musketeers
  • Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
  • York Peppermint Patties
  • Junior Mints
  • Hershey Bars
  • Hershey Kisses

Sweet Halloween Treats Your Children Should Avoid

Sneaky Halloween treats, such as chewy, gooey, and hard candies can get stuck in your children’s teeth or braces. These candies will put your children’s teeth at risk for harmful plaque and cavity-causing bacteria, so you’ll want to make sure they avoid these scary treats as much as possible:

  • Bubble gum
  • Candy Corn
  • Caramel apples, or any other caramel candies
  • Gummy Bears, or any other chewy candies
  • Jawbreakers, or any other hard candies
  • Jelly Beans
  • Licorice

When Your Children Should Enjoy Their Halloween Candy

Regardless of how badly your children want to munch on their candy all day, it’s best for them to enjoy their sweet treats right before eating a healthy snack. About 90% of all foods that contain sugars or starches enable bacteria in dental plaque to produce acids. This bacterial acid can sit on the teeth and gums for 20 minutes or longer! By allowing your child a healthy snack after they indulge in their candies, it will help to wash out or brush off the unwanted sugars and bacterial acids in between and around the teeth.

Contact Your Culver City, CA Dentists At Picasso Smiles!

By following these simple tips and tricks, your children will be able to enjoy halloween to max while keeping their teeth and gums as healthy as possible. For more information on tooth-friendly halloween treats, feel free to contact us today! On behalf of our entire staff at Picasso Smiles in Culver City, CA, we hope you and your children have a delightful halloween this year!

Tips For Choosing A Cosmetic Dentist

Recently a Yelper asked our community the below question, and we thought why not share our response in today’s blog post:

“I need a cosmetic dentist who is extremely versed in cosmetic veneers, recommendations?”

Dear Kelly,

We understand the sensitive nature of your inquiry. The thought of finding the right West Los Angeles dentist to whom you can trust your smile to is admittedly a very big decision. You want it done once, and you want it done right.

The skill of producing a true-to-life smile, involves much more than knowledge, and experience. Cosmetic veneers done right demand a seasoned doctor who also:

  • Gives the highest level of attention to detail.
  • Judiciously reshapes the teeth based upon a waxed-up smile that was decided together with him and the patient in advance. (This allows for ultraconservative reshaping of teeth.)
  • Can accurately transfer the delicate details of his work to the laboratory
  • Will shade match using a digital scanner (which eliminates the often unfortunate eyeballing the correct shade tab) and allows the lab to create a gradient of shades as we find in nature.
  • Has excellent photographic communication between him and his Ceramist to allow for the shape and anatomy of veneers to reflect the patient’s facial skeletal and tonal characteristics.
  • Works with a skilled & experienced Ceramist with whom he can work seamlessly.
  • Proper Bonding.
    • Once all the above is completed properly (appointment #1) the longevity of the veneers depend very heavily on the bonding procedure (appointment #2).
    • Many factors play a role in proper bonding techniques. Creating a bondable surface of porcelain to teeth is a step that is often left for the lab to do. This introduces a very serious problem because as soon as the veneers come in contact with teeth and saliva (during the try-in stage,) the porcelain surface is contaminated and bond strength to the teeth drops significantly.
    • Ample knowledge of adhesive chemistry (of teeth and ceramic) is a must. This should not be a quick one-hour appointment.
  • Work under magnification and proper lighting
  • Finally, and perhaps the most important element is TIME. Ample time must be dedicated to incorporate all the aforementioned elements and more.

Dr. Shayesteh has earned the reputation of treating only one patient at a time. This way the patient receives 100% of his tender attention. Such Aesthetic enhancement can only be done right, under the above circumstances. Dr. Shayesteh works very hard to produce Crème de la crème dentistry, as his patients deserve no less.

The total approximate time that Dr. Shayesteh typically spends on such cases range between four to five hours.

We welcome you to visit him at our Culver City dental practice for a personalized aesthetic consultation.

Picasso Smiles Team

Dr. Shayesteh continually updates his credentials and continuing education.