(302) 998-8283

Dr. Jeanette Son, D.M.D.

Dr. Jeanette Son DMD | Family Dentistry in Wilmington, DE Dr. Jeanette Son DMD | Family Dentistry in Wilmington, DE

Welcome to Gentle Family Dentistry

Friendly Staff. Beautiful Smiles. Welcoming Environment.

When you choose the Gentle Family Dentistry to care for your invaluable smile, you will experience more of the latest techniques in general dentistry and the ultimate in personal care. Our office provides comprehensive cosmetic dental services, complete dental implant procedures, and restorative dentistry all in one convenient location.

Here you will receive distinctive dentistry. Our helpful administrative team will greet you and attend to all of your scheduling, payment, and financing needs and along with our dedicated clinical team, including Dr. Son, will strive to build a unique and rewarding relationship with you.

Whether you need a general dentist to maintain your oral health or a cosmetic dentist who can help you make your dream smile a reality, we are confident you have made the right choice in choosing Gentle Family Dentistry.

We’ll Provide You With That Winning Smile!

Meet Our Staff



Our office manager, Anna, has been with us for over five years. Her interests include plants, fish, reading, and crafting. She loves and cares for all of her lovely dogs at home and all of us in the office.



Office Manager


Caroline is a graduate of Delaware technical & community college and has been practicing dental hygiene since 2012. she provides gentle cleanings and enjoys helping patients improve the ease and effectiveness of their daily oral hygiene routines. the most rewarding part of her day is helping each patient feel confident about his/her smile! Caroline resides in North Wilmington with her husband and their daughter Sophia.



Dental Hygienist


Demi has been an assistant for 7 years. And enjoys Delaware Breaches, and spending time with family, and friends.



Dental Assistant


Although Kelly has only been with us for a short while, she has been enjoying this dental family. She's got a great sense of humor and as a movie buff, loves relaxing with some Netflix, and enjoys spending time with her three daughters.



Scheduling Coordinator


Lisa B. is our seasoned hygienist and loves what she does. Self-proclaimed as ‘the chatty one’, she can strike up an interesting conversation with just about anyone. Her non-work hobbies include riverboating, crabbing, and creating beautiful stained glass pieces.



Dental Hygienist


Zayra has been an assistant for 4 years. She is bi-lingual. Enjoys spending time with family, friends, and online shopping.



Dental Assistant

Our Services


Teeth Whitening
VIP Ammenities


Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening, or teeth bleaching can be defined as the whitening or lightening of a single tooth or multiple teeth through the application of chemical agents.  Teeth whitening is the most commonly requested cosmetic dental procedure, and is one of the most straight forward ways to give you a whiter and brighter smile.  Teeth bleaching can be achieved by our dental team. When full arch bleaching is requested, we offer two choices: take home, or in office.

Take home bleaching is more common.  In this case, the dentist will take impressions (molds) of each arch, pour stone models, and make custom trays for the patient to wear.  These custom trays are made from clear, soft material, and they serve to hold the bleaching gel away from the gums, thus reducing irritation.

In office bleaching has advantages.  Using this technique includes, speed, convenience, and predictability.  In some instances, patients can see a dramatic change in about an hour.  Similar changes could take up to two weeks using the take home technique.  Each step of the bleaching process is monitored, and controlled by the dental professional.  There are no compliance issues (such as not wearing the trays every night, not smoking , or not drinking red wine during the bleaching process), which could lead to less than optimal results.

Dental veneers are a shell, or layer of tooth colored porcelain placed over the facial surfaces of teeth to correct worn tooth enamel, uneven tooth alignment or spacing, discoloration, and chips or fractures.  Although dental veneers fall into the category of cosmetic dentistry (because they create bright, white smiles with beautifully aligned, shapely teeth), they also protect the surface of damaged teeth, and may eliminate the need for more extensive treatments.  Other benefits of veneers include:  durability, an improved smile appearance, and the need for little-to-no removal of tooth structure compared to crowns.

Dental veneers may solve most, or even all of your cosmetic dental issues, like:

~Worn enamel – Over time, the thin, hard translucent substance covering your teeth (enamel) may become worn, dulled, and discolored.  Such wear and discoloration is often the result of consuming soft drinks, tea or coffee, smoking, the used of certain medications, etc.

~Wear and tear – Teeth naturally wear down as people age.  Aged teeth are more likely to have chips, fractures, or a generally uneven appearance.

~Uneven teeth – Uneven teeth can result from tooth grinding or general wear and tear.

Porcelain is the most appropriate and long lasting material for dental veneers.  The removal of any natural tooth structure is permanent, so we prefer to offer patients the most minimally invasive options first.  If your natural teeth are functionally and esthetically adequate, dental veneers may not be an appropriate treatment for you.  Veneers do have the added benefits of longevity, and a proven ability to enhance the appearance of the mouth, smile, and other facial features that are better supported by properly shaped teeth.

Porcelain dental veneers may require the “shaping” or “prepping” of all teeth being treated.  Therefore, we recommend whitening the teeth first for people with mildly discolored teeth who want a whiter smile, because it’s the least invasive cosmetic dentistry option.  If crooked teeth or alignment issues are involved, whitening also may be combined with orthodontic treatments.


VIP Ammenities

Our goal is to provide high quality dental care, while putting you in the most comfortable setting possible.  We offer blankets, pillows, sun glasses to shield your eyes, and even headphones with an ipod if you wish to listen to music.

Dental Hygiene and Periodontal Health



Periodontal diseases range from simple gum inflammation (gingivitis) to serious disease that results in major damage to the soft tissue, and bone that support the teeth (periodontitis).  In the worst case scenarios, teeth are lost.  Whether your gum disease is stopped, slowed, or gets worse depends a great deal on your dental hygiene.


The longer bacteria are in contact of gums, and teeth, the more harmful they become.  The bacteria (in the form of plaque and tartar) cause an inflammation of the gums called “gingivitis”.  With gingivitis, the gums become red, swollen, and can bleed easily.  Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease that can usually be reversed with daily brushing, flossing, and regular cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist.  This form of gum disease does not include any loss of bone, and tissue around the teeth.


When gingivitis is not treated, it can advance to “periodontitis” (inflammation around the tooth).  In periodontitis, gums pull away from the teeth, and form spaces (called “pockets”) that become infected.  The body’s immune system fights the bacteria as the plaque spreads, and grows below the gum line.  Bacterial toxins, and the body’s natural response to infection start to break down the bone, and connective tissue that hold teeth in place.  If not treated, the bones, gums, and tissue that support the teeth are destroyed.  The teeth may eventually become loose, and have to be removed.


The main goal of treatment is to control the infection.  The number and types of treatment will vary, depending on the extent of the gum disease.  Any type of treatment requires that the patient keep up good daily care at home.  The doctor may also suggest changing certain behaviors, such as quitting smoking, as a way to improve treatment outcome.

Our dental hygienist removes bacteria through a deep-cleaning method called scaling and root planing.  Scaling means scraping off the tartar from above, and below the gum line.  Root planing gets rid of rough spots on the tooth root where the germs gather, and helps remove plaque, and tartar.  In most cases, more invasive surgical procedures might be used in conjunction with antibiotics and antimicrobial treatments.

When treatment occurs too late, dental extractions might be the last solution to avoid further bone loss.


Root Canal



With proper care, most teeth that have had endodontic (root canal) treatment can last as long as other natural teeth. Root canals performed by endodontists (root canal specialists) have a 95% success rate. In some cases, however, a tooth that has received endodontic treatment fails to heal. Occasionally, the tooth becomes painful or diseased months or even years after successful treatment.

Why do I need retreatment?

As this occasionally happens with any dental or medical procedure, a tooth may not heal as expected after initial treatment for a variety of reasons

Narrow or curved canals were not treated during the initial procedure.
Complicated canal anatomy went undetected in the first procedure.
The placement of the crown or other restoration was delayed following the endodontic treatment.
The restoration did not prevent salivary contamination to the inside of the tooth.
In other cases, a new problem can jeopardize a tooth that was successfully treated.

For Example.

New decay can expose the root canal filling material to bacteria, causing a new infection in the tooth. A loose, cracked or broken crown or filling can expose the tooth to a new infection. A tooth sustains a fracture. Retreatment is performed in two visits and involves the following
At the initial visit the endodontist will examine the tooth, take x-rays and discuss your treatment options. If you and your endodontist choose retreatment, the retreatment will be scheduled at that time for a future date.
At the retreatment appointment the endodontist will administer local anesthetic to numb the tooth. After the tooth is numb, the endodontist will reopen your tooth to gain access to the root canal filling material. In many cases, complex restorative materials (crown, post and core material) must be disassembled and removed to permit access to the root canals.
After removing the canal filling, the endodontist can clean the canals and carefully examine the inside of your tooth using a microscope, searching for any additional canals or unusual anatomy that requires treatment.
After cleaning the canals, the endodontist will fill and seal the canals and place a temporary filling in the tooth. Post space may also be prepared at this time.
After your endodontist completes retreatment, you will need to return to your dentist as soon as possible to have a new crown or other restoration placed on the tooth to protect and restore it to full function.
If the canals are unusually narrow or blocked, your endodontist may recommend endodontic surgery.


Root Canal (Endodontics)

Endodontics is the dental specialty that deals with the nerves of the teeth. Root canals are probably the most notorious procedure in dentistry and the most common procedure relating to endodontics. When a tooth becomes infected it is usually related to the nerves in the root of the tooth. The infected nerves need to be removed. If left untreated an infection can turn into an abscess, which is a much more serious problem that includes bone loss in the jaw.

The area around the tooth is numbed with a local anesthetic to start the procedure. The dentist will then drill down into the tooth to create an opening into the canal. They will then be able to remove infected tissue and clean the canal. After the infection has been removed, the space if filled with a sealant called gutta percha. It is highly recommended that a tooth that has undergone a root canal is fitted with a crown. This will improve the appearance of the tooth, and will also make it much more likely that the root canal is successful.

“Root canal” has become a scary term for dental patients to hear, but the benefits of the procedure and advances in dental technology have made it much less “scary”. Local anesthetics and proper pain medication allow the procedure to be performed with little to no pain in most cases. There may be some soreness following the procedure, but that is normal for most dental procedures. Over the counter painkillers are usually enough to relieve any pain afterwards, but your dentist may prescribe medication. The procedure will also relieve you from pain caused by the infection allowing you to enjoy all the foods you love without any pain from heat, cold, or biting too hard. If you are experiencing pain consult your dentist today.

Root Canal Therapy
Root canal treatment, also known as endodontic treatment, is a dental procedure in which the diseased or damaged pulp (core) of a tooth is removed and root canals are filled and sealed.
Inflamed or infected pulp (pulpitis) often causes a toothache. To relieve the pain and prevent further complications, the tooth may be extracted or it may be saved by a root canal treatment. Once root canal treatment is performed, the patient must usually have a crown placed over the tooth to protect it. The cost of the treatment and the crown may be expensive, however, replacing an extracted tooth with a fixed bridge, a removable partial denture, or an implant to maintain the space and restore the chewing function is typically even more costly.
The dentist removes any tooth decay and makes an opening through the natural crown of the tooth into the pulp chamber. Creating this access also relieves the pressure inside the tooth and can dramatically ease pain.
The dentist determines the length of the root canals, usually with a series of x rays. Small wire-like files are then used to clean the entire canal space of diseased pulp tissue and bacteria. The debris is flushed out (irrigation) with large amounts of water and /or disinfectant solutions. The canals are also slightly enlarged and shaped to receive an inert (non-reactive) filling material called gutta percha. The tooth is not filled nor is it permanently sealed until it’s completely free of active infection. The dentist may place a temporary seal, or leave the tooth open to drain, and prescribe an antibiotic to counter any spread of infection from the tooth. This is why root canal treatment may sometimes require several visits to the dentist.
A fiber post may be placed in the pulp chamber for added structural support and better retention of the crown restoration. The tooth is protected by a temporary filling or crown until a permanent restoration may be made. This restoration is usually a porcelain crown, although it may be an inlay or a composite filling (paste fillings that harden).

The tooth may be sore for several days after filling. Pain relievers may be taken to ease the soreness.


Clear Braces
Night Guards
Essix Retainers

Clear Braces

Whether you’re an adult or a teen, we all want to look our best at all times.  Changing the way your teeth are structured takes time, and there are now ways to keep you looking your best during this period (clear braces) such as invisalign or clear correct. This new technology is available for most cases.  The great benefit of these braces is that you won’t have to have that metallic look.  In addition, clear braces are specifically designed so that they won’t stain, or wear over time.

Give us a call today to see if you’re a candidate for clear braces!


Night Guards

Night Guards

Many people are afflicted with bruxism, or teeth grinding. Some people may do this consciously during the day, but it is a larger problem at night while you are asleep. Grinding your teeth can damage enamel, wear down teeth, cause jaw pain, or irritate your gums. The noise from teeth grinding can also disturb your spouse’s sleep if loud enough.

If you grind your teeth you should consider a night guard. The night guard, which is very similar to a mouth guard worn by athletes, provides a barrier between your top and bottom teeth while you sleep. All night guards are custom fitted for comfort and to allow for proper breathing. Your dentist will take an impression of your teeth and have the night guard created by a dental lab. Night guards are very durable and can be used for up to 10 years.

There are also some things that you can do to try to stop teeth grinding. You can train your jaw to be free and easy rather than clenched. Refrain from chewing gum or on other objects like pens. You should also avoid alcoholic drinks and drinks with caffeine, as these can increase the likelihood you will grind your teeth. If you suspect you might be grinding your teeth at night set up an appointment with us today.

Essix Retainers


Essix Retainers are made of clear semi-thick plastic that are form fitted to the teeth.  They are a lot like the retainers of invisalign. They correct minor misalignments, relapses after orthodontic treatment, and can close spaces in the front.  Please request a consultation to see if you are a candidate.


Protective Mouth Guards


Protective Mouth Guards

Mouth guards are an essential piece of equipment in contact sports. They should be worn by athletes of all ages who participate in sports such as:
…any sport where contact is a possibility.
Wearing a mouth guard helps prevent against structural damage to your teeth and jaw and also helps prevent injuries such as lacerations to your cheeks, tongue, and lips. Mouth guards have also been shown to help decrease the risk of concussions.

Mouth guards are available in most any sporting goods store, but you should be careful when purchasing a mouth guard. Mouth guards like this do not offer the best level of protection. They are also usually ill-fitting and uncomfortable.

For the highest level of comfort and protection, you should visit your dentist for a custom mouth guard fitting. A custom mouth guard is created specifically for the optimal protection of YOUR mouth. It is created with thin plastic that is hardened to protect your teeth. The thinness of the custom mouth guard allows for easy breathing and also allows for easy communication (especially important for you star quarterbacks calling out the signals).

See your dentist today for a custom mouth guard to protect your teeth and ensure that you maintain the highest level of performance on the field, court, or rink.



Sealants are a great way to protect against tooth decay and cavities on your back teeth (molars). These are the teeth that are most vulnerable to cavities and decay because they are used in the chewing process, and are the most difficult to reach and clean. Molars first come in at around 5-7 years of age, with a second set coming in between the ages of 11-14. It is best to have a sealant placed when the molars first come in to ensure they are protected early.

To place a sealant an adhesive is first applied to the teeth. The sealant is then placed over the adhesive as a liquid, as if it is painted right onto the tooth. The liquid then hardens and creates a barrier between your tooth and any plaque, food particles, and bacteria. Sealants last for about 10 years and can be reapplied if necessary.


Bonding and White Filling

Bonding and White Filling

Bonding is a popular method to enhance the aesthetics of your smile. Bonding can be used to correct cracks or gaps in teeth, as a filling after a cavity has been removed, or to cover up stains or discolored teeth.

A composite resin is used on the affected tooth or teeth. It is molded and sculpted over an adhesive gel that is placed on the tooth. After the resin has been applied an ultraviolet light is used to harden the resin, which is then polished to give you a fresh, new smile.

Bonding is an obvious improvement over unsightly silver amalgam fillings. With the advancements in dental technology, bonding usually lasts for over 10 years. It is a safe, affordable, and attractive solution for many dental problems.



Dental bridges are a great way to replace missing teeth. Your existing teeth are used to literally create a bridge to cross the area where your tooth is missing. Bridges are made from gold, metal, alloys, or porcelain to ensure that they are strong and durable.

The process of creating a bridge begins by creating abutments out of your existing teeth where the bridge will be attached. The existing teeth are recontoured to provide a base for the bridge. After the abutments have been created, a mold is taken of the area which is sent to a dental lab. The lab is able to use the mold to create a bridge that will fit properly and feel as close to your natural teeth as possible. The bridge consists of two crowns on either end to place on the abutments and a pontic, which is the new tooth that replaces your missing tooth.

We will fit you with a temporary bridge while we wait for the lab to craft your permanent bridge. This will protect the abutments and the exposed gum areas and look more appealing than having a missing tooth. When the permanent bridge has been created, you will have a follow up visit to set the bridge. It will be placed on the abutments and the dentist will then use an adhesive to make sure that the bridge is set.

The bridge may take a little while to get used to, but after a few days it should feel like you have your own teeth back again. You should eat soft foods for the first few days after having your bridge placed. After the initial phase, you will be able to eat whatever you want with no issues.

If you are missing a tooth you should strongly consider having it replaced. Besides the aesthetic disadvantage of missing a tooth, it could also cause structural changes to your mouth and jaw, as well as making it difficult to eat or speak properly. Set up an appointment today to restore your smile.



The process of installing a crown takes 2-3 visits to the dentist. On the first visit the tooth will be reshaped by filing down the enamel so that the crown can be placed over it. You will be given a local anesthetic before this part of the procedure so that you do not experience any discomfort. Once the tooth has been reshaped, a mold will be taken of that tooth and the surrounding teeth. This mold will be sent to a dental lab so that your new crown can be made so that it fits in the spot created for it and looks the same relative to the surrounding teeth. Before leaving, your dentist will fit you with a temporary crown until your permanent crown is ready.

The crown takes about 2-3 weeks to be returned to your dentist. At this time you will have another appointment to place and fit the permanent crown. You will again have a local anesthetic to numb the area and the tooth will be placed using a cement to ensure the tooth sets in place. When you look in the mirror, you will see your old smile back. Crowns are durable and will usually last about 10-15 years. You should care for it as you would any of your other teeth with regular brushing and flossing. Call us today if you would like to learn more about how crowns can help restore your smile.

Over time our teeth begin to weaken and become more susceptible to problems such as decay, cracks, discoloration and others. If you feel your smile isn’t what it once was, crowns can help you recover your smile. If your dentist notices that a tooth is decayed or seems weakened/cracked a crown may be necessary to make sure that there are no additional problems with the tooth. In cases like this a filling or bonding will not be sufficient.

Crowns can be made from porcelain, porcelain fused to metal, or a full gold crown. To maintain a natural look and feel a porcelain finished crown is best, as it can be matched to the shade of your other teeth. This will allow it to blend in and appear just like one of your natural teeth.



Dentures are a replacement for missing teeth that can be removed and put back into your mouth as you please. Depending on each individual patient case, they may receive full or partial dentures. Full dentures are used when all of the natural teeth are removed from the mouth and replaced with a full set of dentures. There are two types of full dentures.

Conventional Full Dentures – This is when all the teeth are removed and the tissue is given time to heal before the dentures are placed. It could take a few months for the gum tissue to heal completely, and during this time you will be without teeth.

Immediate Full Dentures – Prior to having your teeth removed, your dentist takes measurements and has dentures fitted for your mouth. After removing the teeth, the dentures are immediately placed in your mouth. The benefit is that you do not have to spend any time without teeth. You will, however, need to have a follow up visit to refit your dentures because the jaw bone will slightly change shape as your mouth heels. The dentures will need to be tightened after the jaw bone has healed.
Partial dentures are another option when not all of your teeth need to be removed. This is similar to a bridge, but it is not a permanent fixture in your mouth.

Your dentures may take some time to get used to. The flesh colored base of the dentures is placed over your gums. Some people say that it feels bulky or that they don’t have enough room for their tongue. Other times the dentures might feel loose. These feelings will affect the way you eat and talk for a little while. Over time, your mouth becomes trained to eat and speak with your dentures and they begin to feel more and more like your natural teeth. They may never feel perfectly comfortable, but it is much better than the alternative of not having teeth.

Even though dentures are not real teeth, you should care for them like they are. You should brush them to remove plaque and food particles before removing your dentures. After they have been removed you should place them directly into room temperature water or a denture cleaning solution. Never use hot water because it could warp the dentures. Your dentures are delicate, so make sure you are careful when handling them so you don’t drop them. Also, never try to adjust your dentures yourself. You could ruin them, so you should always seek assistance from your dentist if they feel uncomfortable or loose.


Dental Implants
Dental Implant FAQ’s


~What is a dental implant?

A dental implant is a permanent new root for a missing tooth.  It is a titanium screw that is placed into the jaw bone.  An abutment and crown is then placed on the implant to provide a new tooth that is permanent, and looks just like a natural tooth. They are better than other alternatives like bridges, because no additional teeth need to be altered to place the new tooth. Multiple implants can be placed at once if necessary.

The entire implant process is performed over the course of a few months.  You must allow about 3-6 months for the implant site to heal, and during this time, the jaw bone will form around the implant in a process called osseointegration.  In some cases, during the healing time, you can have a temporary crown installed, or a temporary partial made so that you can eat, and speak normally, and maintain a proper aesthetic appearance for your smile. Most of the time, a healing cap will be placed over the implant.

After the implant has healed, it is time to place an abutment on the implant.  The abutment serves as the base for your new tooth. An impression of the abutment is taken, and is used to create your permanent restoration (crown). Once the restoration is completed, you can return to the office to attach the restoration (crown) permanently.  Your smile will look just like it used to, and after a short period of getting used to the implant, it will feel just like one of your own teeth.

~What are the benefits of dental implants?

Dental implants look, and feel just like real teeth.  They are permanent, you can eat the foods you want without any fear of embarrassment , and the procedure is very successful, and fairly inexpensive.


~Who can place a dental implant?

Dr. Son places implants in our office,  she has had special training for surgical placement of implants, and has been placing them successfully since 2007.

~How much do implants cost?

You will find our fee is slightly lower than average in this area.  Dr. Son believes that an implant is the best way to replace missing teeth, and would like to encourage placement.

Most dental insurance companies will cover part of the procedure.

Schedule a consultation with us to determine a price for your implant(s), and financing if necessary.

~Do implants hurt?

No.  A local anesthetic will be given before the procedure so you don’t feel any pain.  If you have anxiety or fear, you should discuss sedation options with us.

~How long do implants last?

When cared for properly, implants should last a lifetime.  Proper oral hygiene, and regular dental visits are essential to the success of your implant.



TMJ is the acronym for temporomandibular joint, which connects your lower jaw (the mandible) to your skull at the temporal bone. This joint controls many jaw functions, like chewing. If the chewing muscles or the joint itself are causing you pain you may have temporamandibular disorder, or TMD. TMD can be caused by stress, continual clenching of the jaw muscles, or teeth grinding.

Some of the symptoms of TMD are:

Pain when opening or closing mouth
Trouble chewing
Jaw becoming stuck open or shut
Headaches or ear pain
Clicking or popping sounds when opening your mouth
Teeth Grinding

Many of these symptoms can often be associated with other health problems, so only a medical professional can tell you if it is due to TMD. Teeth grinding is an especially problematic symptom because it can lead to further problems. Prolonged teeth grinding, or bruxism, can cause enamel to wear off teeth and expose dentin. This material is softer than enamel and more susceptible to decay. Sensitivity to hot and cold food or drink may also develop from excessive teeth grinding.

If you suspect you may have TMD come in for a consultation. We can help diagnose you and provide relief for your symptoms. Pain relievers and hot/cold compresses are short term methods to provide relief for pain symptoms. A night guard can be used to help prevent or lessen the effects of teeth grinding at night. This can lead to a more permanent solution. In very severe cases of TMD surgery may be required, but behavioral treatments to change the way you use your jaw muscles are usually enough to provide relief.


TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders are a family of problems related to your complex jaw joint. If you have had symptoms like pain or a “clicking” sound, you’ll be glad to know that these problems are more easily diagnosed and treated than they were in the past. These symptoms occur when the joints of the jaw and the chewing muscles (muscles of mastication) do not work together correctly. TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, which is the name for each joint (right and left) that connects your jaw to your skull. Since some types of TMJ problems can lead to more serious conditions, early detection and treatment are important.
No one treatment can resolve TMJ disorders completely and treatment takes time to become effective. Dr. Son help you have a healthier and more comfortable jaw.
Trouble With Your Jaw?
TMJ disorders develop for many reasons. You might clench or grind your teeth, tightening your jaw muscles and stressing your TM joint. You may have a damaged jaw joint due to injury or disease. Injuries and arthritis can damage the joint directly or stretch or tear the muscle ligaments. As a result, the disk, which is made of cartilage and functions as the “cushion” of the jaw joint, can slip out of position. Whatever the cause, the results may include a misaligned bite, pain, clicking, or grating noise when you open your mouth or trouble opening your mouth wide.
Do You Have A TMJ Disorder?
Are you aware of grinding or clenching your teeth?
Do you wake up with sore, stiff muscles around your jaws?
Do you have frequent headaches or neck aches?
Does the pain get worse when you clench your teeth?
Does stress make your clenching and pain worse?
Does your jaw click, pop, grate, catch, or lock when you open your mouth?
Is it difficult or painful to open your mouth, eat, or yawn?
Have you ever injured your neck, head, or jaws?
Have you had problems (such as arthritis) with other joints?
Do you have teeth that no longer touch when you bite?
Do your teeth meet differently from time to time?
Is it hard to use your front teeth to bite or tear food?
Are your teeth sensitive, loose, broken or worn?
The more times you answered “yes”, the more likely it is that you have a TMJ disorder. Understanding TMJ disorders will also help you understand how they are treated.
There are various treatment options that Dr. Son can utilize to improve the harmony and function of your jaw. Once an evaluation confirms a diagnosis of TMJ disorder, Dr. Son will determine the proper course of treatment. It is important to note that treatment always works best with a team approach of self-care joined with professional care.
The initial goals are to relieve the muscle spasm and joint pain. This is usually accomplished with a pain reliever, anti-inflammatory, or muscle relaxant. Steroids can be injected directly into the joints to reduce pain and inflammation. Self-care treatments can often be effective as well and include:
• Resting your jaw
• Keeping your teeth apart when you are not swallowing or eating
• Eating soft foods
• Applying ice and heat
• Exercising your jaw
• Practicing good posture
Stress management techniques such as biofeedback or physical therapy may also be recommended, as well as a temporary, clear plastic appliance known as a splint. A splint (or nightguard) fits over your top or bottom teeth and helps keep your teeth apart, thereby relaxing the muscles and reducing pain. There are different types of appliances used for different purposes. A nightguard helps you stop clenching or grinding your teeth and reduces muscle tension at night and helps to protect the cartilage and joint surfaces. An anterior positioning appliance moves your jaw forward, relives pressure on parts of your jaw and aids in disk repositioning. It may be worn 24 hours/day to help your jaw heal. An orthotic stabilization appliance is worn 24 hours/day or just at night to move your jaw into proper position. Appliances also help to protect from tooth wear.
What About Bite Correction Or Surgery?
If your TMJ disorder has caused problems with how your teeth fit together, you may need treatment such as bite adjustment (equilibration), orthodontics with or without jaw reconstruction, or restorative dental work. Surgical options such as arthroscopy and open joint repair restructuring are sometimes needed, but are reserved for severe cases. Dr. Son does not consider TMJ surgery unless the jaw can’t open, is dislocated and nonreducible, has severe degeneration, or the patient has undergone appliance treatment unsuccessfully.

Contact Us To Make An Appointment

2601 Annand Drive,
Wilmington, DE 19808