4200 Columbia Rd, Martinez, GA 30907



Posts for: March, 2016

By Augusta Smilecare
March 25, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures

Everyone has to face the music at some time — even John Lydon, former lead singer of The Sex Pistols, arguably England’s best known punk rock band. The 59-year old musician was once better known by his stage name, Johnny Rotten — a brash reference to the visibly degraded state of his teeth. But in the decades since his band broke up, Lydon’s lifelong deficiency in dental hygiene had begun to cause him serious problems.

In recent years, Lydon has had several dental surgeries — including one to resolve two serious abscesses in his mouth, which left him with stitches in his gums and a temporary speech impediment. Photos show that he also had missing teeth, which, sources say, he opted to replace with dental implants.

For Lydon (and many others in the same situation) that’s likely to be an excellent choice. Dental implants are the gold standard for tooth replacement today, for some very good reasons. The most natural-looking of all tooth replacements, implants also have a higher success rate than any other method: over 95 percent. They can be used to replace one tooth, several teeth, or an entire arch (top or bottom row) of teeth. And with only routine care, they can last for the rest of your life.

Like natural teeth, dental implants get support from the bone in your jaw. The implant itself — a screw-like titanium post — is inserted into the jaw in a minor surgical operation. The lifelike, visible part of the tooth — the crown — is attached to the implant by a sturdy connector called an abutment. In time, the titanium metal of the implant actually becomes fused with the living bone tissue. This not only provides a solid anchorage for the prosthetic, but it also prevents bone loss at the site of the missing tooth — which is something neither bridgework nor dentures can do.

It’s true that implants may have a higher initial cost than other tooth replacement methods; in the long run, however, they may prove more economical. Over time, the cost of repeated dental treatments and periodic replacement of shorter-lived tooth restorations (not to mention lost time and discomfort) can easily exceed the expense of implants.

That’s a lesson John Lydon has learned. “A lot of ill health came from neglecting my teeth,” he told a newspaper reporter. “I felt sick all the time, and I decided to do something about it… I’ve had all kinds of abscesses, jaw surgery. It costs money and is very painful. So Johnny says: ‘Get your brush!’”

We couldn’t agree more. But if brushing isn’t enough, it may be time to consider dental implants. If you would like more information about dental implants, please call our office to schedule a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Dental Implants” and “Save a Tooth or Get an Implant?

By Augusta SmileCare
March 23, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: jaw pain  

A steady ache, a clicking, popping noise when you open and close your mouth--what do these symptoms mean? What can be done about them?

Dr. John D. Massey, a family and cosmetic dentist at Augusta Smile Care, takes jaw pain seriously. Sometimes a sign of tooth decay or Jaw Pain abscess, pain can also be a symptom of a disorder of the hinge-like jaw joint.

Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction, nicknamed TMJ, mostly affects women between the ages of 20 and 40, but men and other age groups can suffer from it, too, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. In fact, approximately 10 million people struggle with some degree of TMJ across the United States.

The Symptoms and Origins of TMJ

Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction presents in different and sometimes quirky ways. Centered in the hinge-like jaw joint at either, or both, sides of the face, the most common symptoms are:

  • a clicking or popping sound when opening or closing the mouth
  • headaches
  • ear or neck pain
  • inability to open or close the mouth
  • bite changes
  • sore facial muscles

The most frequent causes of TMJ are arthritis, injury to the jaw from a blow to the face, poorly aligned dental bite and bruxism, or tooth clenching or grinding, especially at night.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Dr. Massey will perform a complete oral exam to determine what is happening with a symptomatic jaw joint. He will also discuss the patient's medical and prescription history and take x-rays to visualize the dental and bone structure. He pays particular attention to how the joints open and close and how the teeth bite together.

Simple at-home treatments of TMJ include:

  • eating softer foods
  • icing the jaw
  • physical therapy (special exercises designed to increase fluid motion of the jaw)
  • use of muscle relaxants and analgesics

Additionally, Dr. Massey often treats Augusta TMJ with a custom-made bite guard. Made of comfortable acrylic and typically worn at night, a bite guard alleviates teeth grinding and promotes proper bite. It's a simple and very effective solution to a difficult and often neglected oral health problem.

Are You Having Jaw Pain?

Dr. John D. Massey of Augusta Smile Care takes special interest in people with TMJ. If you are struggling with a sore, noisy jaw that is not working properly, contact Dr. Massey's office for a consultation appointment. Don't suffer, but get to the source of your discomfort. Call (706) 868-1322 today.


Teeth grinding and other biting habits are more than a nuisance — they can generate twenty to thirty times the forces of normal biting. Over the long term, this can cause significant damage to teeth and supporting gums and bone.

This particular kind of damage is known as occlusal trauma (meaning injury from the bite). In its primary form, the habit itself over time can injure and inflame the jaw joints leading to soreness, swelling and dysfunction. The teeth themselves can wear down at a much faster rate than what normally occurs with aging. And although less common but even more serious, the periodontal ligaments holding teeth in place to the bone can stretch and weaken, causing the teeth to become loose and increasing the potential for tooth loss.

There are a number of techniques and approaches for treating excessive biting habits, but they all have a common aim — to reduce the amount of force generated by the habit and the associated problems that result. A custom occlusal guard, often worn while sleeping, helps lessen the force by keeping the teeth from making solid contact with each other. Tissue soreness and swelling can be relieved with anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin or ibuprofen, muscle relaxants or physical therapy. In cases where stress is a main driver, behavioral therapy and counseling may also be helpful.

Biting forces are also an issue for patients with periodontal (gum) disease. In this case even biting forces within normal ranges can cause damage because the diseased gums and bone have already been weakened. If gum disease is a factor, the first priority is to treat the disease by removing built up plaque. Plaque is the thin film of bacteria and food remnant that’s both the cause and continuing growth of the infection, as well as tartar (calculus) from all tooth and gum surfaces.

A thorough dental exam will reveal whether a tooth grinding habit is playing a role in your teeth and gum problems or if it’s magnifying the damage of gum disease. In either case, there are appropriate steps to stop the damage before it leads to tooth loss.

If you would like more information on teeth grinding or other biting habits, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Loose Teeth.”

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John D. Massey, DMD
4200 Columbia Road
Martinez, GA 30907