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Jaw and/or orofacial pain related to Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMJ/TMD) can be a very frustrating and debilitating ailment. If orofacial painyou are one of the millions who suffer from this condition you can eliminate or manage your symptoms with the help of an appropriately trained dentist such Elmer A. Villalon, DMD. Such dentists are well trained not only in oro-dental conditions but also in varied medical disciplines such as neurology, sleep medicine and headache management.  Dr. Villalon treats numerous individuals with a variety of interventions tailored to meet each individuals specific needs. TMDS should be treated conservatively and high priced irreversible dental procedures should be avoided. Indeed you can benefit from the conservative management of such experts as Dr. Villalon
What are TMDSs
TMJ/TMDs are disorders of the lower jaw (mandible) as it articulates with the skull and muscles of the head and neck. Characterized by chronic inflammation, swelling, pain, tenderness, limited motion and function, and even the popping, crackling and clicking noises. Please note that varied medical conditions can mimic TMDs, including neurologic conditions, vascular conditions such as headaches, brain tumors, and cancers.
Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction affects about 10 million Americans, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. Interestingly, more women than men experience TMJ/TMD, and patients tend to be young around 20 to 40 years of age.
Besides affecting the Temporomandibular joint itself, TMJ/TMDs appears linked to a variety of medical issues such as:

  • Migraine Headaches
  • Tension Type Headaches
  • Seasonal headaches such as Cluster Headache
  • Jaw locking in the open or closed position
  • Earaches and eye pain
  • Orofacial pain
  • Vertigo (dizziness)
  • Tinnitus (a buzzing or ringing sound in one or both ears)
  • Neck and shoulder discomforts
  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea
  • Sleep Bruxism

Who wouldn't want relief? At our Pueblo office, Dr. Villalon will perform a full oral examination, complete with an X-ray screening and CT scan if needed, so as to confirm the diagnosis. Once this is done, Dr. Villalon can develop a treatment plant to begin addressing your condition.
When Managing TMDs/TMJ
Your treatment plan may include:

  • Medication management such as; muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatory medications
  • Steroid injection of the TMJ capsule or trigger point injections
  • An in-depth sleep assessment and history with a possible referral to a sleep physician for a sleep study
  • Over-the-counter pain analgesics such as ibuprofen
  • Consuming a soft diet when symptomatic
  • Opening, closing and swing exercises to improve opening
  • Stretching exercises of the orofacial muscles and muscles of the neck
  • Practicing good posture
  • Learning proper nasal breathing to assist with improving head and neck posture
  • Wearing a custom-made dis-occlusionary appliance (bite guard)
  • Physical therapy
  • Home care management such as applying cold and heat to the facial and cervical muscles

Also remember that t Elmer A. Villalon, DMD his professional team urges you to keep your routine dental exams and cleaning appointments. During these appointments, your dentist can determine any signs of TMJ dysfunction or sleep related issues, such as Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
Additionally, if you are having TMD associated symptoms, daytime tiredness or daytime sleepiness, please mention them when you visit Southern Colorado’s Prominent dentist and Orofacial Pain Clinician, Dr. Elmer A. Villalon.
If you have questions or concerns about any of the conditions mentioned in this narrative please contact our  Pueblo office team for an appointment: (719) 542-7844.

By Elmer A. Villalon, DDS
February 07, 2019
Category: Medical Conditions
Tags: Sleep Apnea  

Find out how our dentist in Pueblo, CO, could improve your sleep apnea symptoms.

While poor sleep is truly an epidemic among Americans, there are millions of people out there who are dealing with sleep apnea and don’t even know it. No matter whether you’ve been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea or you are wondering whether your symptoms could be indicative of this condition, read on to learn more about sleep apnea and how our Pueblo, CO, dentist Dr. Elmer Villalon can help you.


What is obstructive sleep apnea?

This lifelong condition causes the soft tissue in the back of the throat to collapse, which blocks breathing throughout the night. These breathing cessations may last anywhere from a couple seconds to a minute, consequently affecting how much oxygen goes to the brain as well as your overall sleep quality.


What are the symptoms of OSA?

Patients with OSA are often chronic and severe snorers. In fact, many people decide to visit a sleep specialist because a partner complains about the snoring. Along with the snoring, those with OSA also experience,

  • Extreme daytime exhaustion and fatigue
  • Waking up feeling unrested despite getting enough sleep
  • Morning headaches
  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Difficulty concentrating


If OSA goes untreated, it can lead to more serious health problems such as,

  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Type II diabetes
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Atrial fibrillation


Why should I turn to a dentist for care?

If you’ve been diagnosed with mild or moderate OSA, you may benefit from a simple treatment known as oral appliance therapy. In fact, those dealing with mild OSA may be able to completely manage their symptoms and improve the quality of their sleep with this simple custom-made oral device.

In oral appliance therapy, our dentist will take impressions of your mouth. From there, a device is made to cover the upper and lower teeth while preventing tissue or the tongue from blocking the back of the throat while you sleep. This device is compact, comfortable, easy to wear, and only needs to be worn at night while you are sleeping.


Need treatment? Give us a call!

If you are someone dealing with mild obstructive sleep apnea, it’s time to find out how our Pueblo, CO, dental team can help you get quality sleep quickly. Call us today at (719) 542-7844 to schedule a consultation!

By Elmer A. Villalon, DDS
October 04, 2018
Category: Dental Health
Tags: Sealants  

This Simple Preventive Measure Could Protect Your Child’s Molars from Cavities.

While any tooth is susceptible to decay, it often seems that we see the most cavities developing on back teeth. You can blame all those crannies and crevices on their chewing surfaces, which make it more challenging to thoroughly clean and remove all plaque and food. If you want to take an additional precaution to protect your child from developing cavities on these extra vulnerable back teeth, our Pueblo, CO, dentist Dr. Elmer Villalon can make that possible with dental sealants.

What are Dental Sealants?

A sealant is a thin plastic coating that is applied to the chewing surface of your child’s molars in order to create a smooth surface. This sealant prevents cavities from forming between the crevices and grooves of the teeth.

How are Dental Sealants Placed?

Getting a sealant is quick and easy, non-invasive, and completely painless. After our general dentist has thoroughly cleaned your child’s teeth, we will apply a special solution over the back teeth. This solution will help to roughen up the surface to make the sealant stick to the tooth. Next, the solution is removed and the sealant is painted on. Once the sealant is placed, we will use a special light to quickly harden the sealant to the tooth.

How Long Do They Last?

Sealants are effective for many years, although, how long your child has sealants will really depend on several factors, especially how well they maintain good oral hygiene. Some sealants have been known to last up to 9 years or longer, however, they typically last around 6 to 8. If the sealant is damaged or falls out, let our dentist know right away and we can replace it.

When Should My Child Get Sealants?

The normal range for getting sealants is anywhere from 6 to 14 years old, although, the sooner you protect your child from cavities, the better. This means that once their back teeth come in, it is a good time to talk to us about getting sealants.

If you think your child could benefit from dental sealants, then it’s time to give our Pueblo, CO, dental office a call today at (719) 542-7844. We would be happy to apply dental sealants as soon as possible or during your child’s next dental cleaning!

By Elmer A. Villalon, DDS
August 06, 2018
Category: Dental Health
Tags: Tooth Extraction  

Tooth extractionDo you need a tooth extraction? Are your teeth crowded, diseased, or have gone through some sort of trauma? If so, Dr. Elmer Villalon in Pueblo, CO, can help.

When would you need a tooth extraction?

There are a few reasons you may need a tooth extraction:

  • Overcrowding: All, most of, or some of your teeth are overcrowded causing issues in speech, or bite.
  • Damage: Any trauma from sports, or accidents, may cause severe trauma resulting in a tooth extraction.
  • Infection: Extreme tooth decay eroding teeth may infect your gums and other teeth if not dealt with.

What preventative measures should I take to avoid a tooth extraction being necessary?

To reduce the chances of needing a tooth extraction from diseases, here are some preventative measures to follow:

  • Floss before bed and make sure you floss between each tooth and in hard to reach places like molars.
  • Stop bad or poor habits like smoking, chewing tobacco, and drinking excessive amounts of coffee and tea.
  • Brush your teeth twice a day, for two minutes each, holding the brush at a 40-degree angle to improve your chances of having healthy teeth.

More About Extraction

If trauma from a sport and/or overcrowded teeth are the reason you need a tooth extraction, then your doctor will need to do the following:

  • Examine the severity of the situation and schedule an appointment for the tooth extraction.
  • An anesthetics will be administered before your procedure to numb your mouth.
  • Your doctor will extract whatever is left of the natural tooth.
  • They will stitch the extraction area and place gauze to stop bleeding, and help with blood clot formation.

How should you care for yourself after a tooth extraction?

  • Don't eat or drink for a few hours.
  • Rinse your mouth with warm salt water for constant disinfection, and call your Pueblo doctor if you're suffering from severe pain, it may be a dry socket (blood hasn't clotted properly).
  • Don't use a straw and ice the tooth extraction area.
  • Use painkillers if needed and avoid smoking, or drinking alcoholic beverage after the procedure.

If you think you need a tooth extraction and want to consult your doctor to see if the tooth is beyond saving, then you should call your Pueblo, CO, dentist today.

By Elmer A. Villalon, DDS
May 22, 2018
Category: Medical Conditions
Tags: tmj  

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects the upper and lower jaw to the skull and allows for forward and lateral movement (also known as a sliding hinge joint). Like all joints in the body, the TMJ is susceptible to inflammation and injury which causes pain, stiffness, and even the ability to properly open and close the mouth in serious cases. Also known as TMD (temporomandibular disorder), the condition is known to affect up to ten million Americans according to National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. TMJ symptoms can range from mild to severe, and even lead to locking, where the mouth remains in the open or closed position, in extreme cases. Dr. Elmer Villalon in Pueblo, CO, offers diagnostic and treatment options for temporomandibular disorders.

TMJ/TMD Diagnosis and Treatment in Pueblo, CO

The most common symptom of TMJ is pain and tenderness in the jaw. You may also experience pain while chewing, or around the ears or other parts of the face. Some people also experience a "popping" sensation in the joints. TMJ can also cause the jaw to lock in the open or closed position.

What Causes TMJ?

Damage to the joint, in the form of an injury or a debilitating condition like arthritis can lead TMJ symptoms. There are also a number of risk factors that can increase your risk, but some cases develop without an obvious cause. Some of the other risk factors include:

  • Wear and tear on the joint from years of clenching or teeth grinding
  • Problems with the joint's connective tissue

Treatment options depend on the severity of your symptoms and the extent of damage to the joint. Medication and physical therapy are usually the first forms of treatment, but surgery is sometimes recommended in rare cases that do not respond to conservative treatment.

Find a Dentist in Pueblo, CO

If you are suffering from TMD symptoms or other dental issues, contact our office by calling 719-542-7844 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Villalon today.

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