Maintaining Oral Health in Your Golden Years

As we journey through life, our bodies change, and our oral health is no exception. Seniors in particular face unique challenges when it comes to dental care. This is why it is crucial to see your dentist in Woodbridge ideally twice a year, as gum disease and cavities tend to become more prevalent with age. Even if you have diligently cared for your teeth throughout your life, aging can bring about wear and tear and other oral health issues. To ensure a healthy smile for years to come, follow these dental care tips tailored to seniors.

Adapt Your Brushing and Flossing Routine

Brushing and flossing are critical for seniors as they help reduce the risk of gum disease, which affects nearly half of all adults over 65 and can contribute to other health complications, including heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Proper oral hygiene remains the foundation of good oral health, but as we age, our brushing and flossing habits may require adjustment. Diminished hand dexterity can make these tasks more challenging. To maintain oral health, it’s essential to find the right tools and techniques that suit your specific needs. 

Combat Dry Mouth

Dry mouth is a prevalent concern for seniors and can result from certain medications that reduce saliva production, such as antihistamines, antidepressants, and diuretics. Age-related changes in the salivary glands can also lead to this issue. Dry mouth, while uncomfortable, can have serious consequences, including tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath. Consult with your dentist in Woodbridge to address this problem effectively. Some recommended remedies may include:

  • Drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated.
  • Chewing sugarless gum to stimulate saliva production.
  • Limiting caffeine and alcohol that can exacerbate dry mouth.
  • Using mouthwash specifically formulated for dry mouth relief.

Prioritize Dental Visits

As we age, our susceptibility to tooth decay and oral infections increases, and maintaining oral hygiene can become more challenging. Neglecting oral health can lead to tooth loss, gum disease, and other complications. Therefore, it is essential to schedule regular dental appointments, ideally every six months, to prevent and address issues promptly. Some older adults, especially those at higher risk for dental problems, may benefit from more frequent dental check-ups.

Tooth Loss Is Not Inevitable

When contemplating the impact of aging on oral health, many people automatically think of tooth loss. However, losing your teeth is not inevitable. The best approach to preserving your teeth as you age includes maintaining excellent oral hygiene practices, eating a healthy diet, staying well-hydrated, avoiding smoking, and regularly visiting your dentist in Woodbridge. In the event you lose a tooth or two, consider options like dental bridges, dental implants, or dentures to replace them. A full set of teeth is crucial for both oral health and overall well-being.

Your Golden Years and Oral Health

Taking care of your teeth is essential at every age, but the approach may change as you grow older. Adapting your oral health care routine to address the unique challenges of aging is vital for preserving your dental health in your golden years. Remember, regular visits to your dentist and proactive oral hygiene are your best allies in maintaining a healthy and radiant smile throughout your life.

What Is TMJ Disorder?

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ or TMD) is a condition that affects millions of people worldwide, causing pain, discomfort, and difficulty in everyday activities like eating and speaking. However, TMJ disorder can often be confusing, and patients dealing with the symptoms may have trouble finding a diagnosis and relief. That’s where your dentist in Woodbridge comes into play.  

What is TMJ Disorder?

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a hinge-like structure that connects your jawbone to your skull. It plays a crucial role in basic activities like talking, chewing, and swallowing. TMJ disorder, also known as temporomandibular joint dysfunction, is a condition that affects this joint, leading to a range of uncomfortable and often painful symptoms. It’s essential to note that TMJ disorder can affect one or both sides of the jaw.

Causes of TMJ Disorder

The precise causes of TMJ disorder are not always clear, and it often results from a combination of factors. Here are some common contributing factors:

  • Teeth Grinding/Clenching: Grinding or clenching your teeth can exert excessive pressure on the TMJ, leading to wear and tear.
  • Stress & Anxiety: Emotional stress can lead to jaw clenching, further straining the TMJ.
  • Arthritis: Inflammatory joint conditions like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis can affect the TMJ.
  • Injury or Trauma: Physical injuries to the jaw area can disrupt the TMJ’s normal functioning.
  • Malocclusion: Poor teeth alignment or an improper bite can strain the TMJ over time.

Common Symptoms of TMJ Disorder

TMJ disorder can manifest in various ways, and its symptoms may vary from person to person. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Pain: This can be in the jaw joint, around the ear, in the temple, or even radiating to the neck and shoulders.
  • Limited Jaw Movement: Difficulty opening the mouth wide or a sensation of the jaw “locking” in place.
  • Clicking or Popping Sounds: These sounds may occur when you open or close your mouth, often due to a displaced disc in the TMJ.
  • Muscle Tenderness: The jaw muscles may become sore, leading to headaches or facial pain.
  • Swelling: In some cases, swelling in the jaw area may be evident.
  • Tooth Sensitivity: TMJ disorder can cause tooth pain, as the strain on the jaw affects the alignment of teeth.

If you have any of these common symptoms, schedule a visit with your dentist in Woodbridge

Treatment Options for TMJ Disorder

The treatment of TMJ disorder depends on the severity of the condition, its underlying causes, and your symptoms. Some of the most common treatment options for TMJ Disorder include:


Give your jaw muscles a break by avoiding hard or chewy foods and limiting excessive talking or singing.

Heat or Ice

Applying a warm compress or an ice pack can help alleviate pain and reduce muscle tension.

Manage Stress

Stress management techniques like meditation and relaxation exercises can be helpful in reducing jaw clenching.


Over-the-counter pain medications prescribed for muscle relaxants can be beneficial in some cases to ease muscle tension and help reduce pain and inflammation.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy includes exercises to strengthen and stretch the jaw muscles, improving mobility and reducing pain.

Oral Appliances

A night guard or splint can be custom-fitted by a dentist in Woodbridge to reduce the effects of teeth grinding and clenching.

Botox Injections

In some cases, Botox injections can be used to temporarily relax the jaw muscles and reduce pain.

Orthodontic Treatment

Correcting teeth misalignment with braces or other orthodontic devices can alleviate TMJ disorder caused by malocclusion.

As you can see, treatment for TMJ Disorder varies greatly, so it’s important to consult a healthcare professional if you suspect you have TMJ disorder. They can provide a proper diagnosis and recommend a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs.

Even though TMJ disorder can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life, there are various treatment options available to manage the condition effectively. Understanding the causes, recognizing the symptoms, and seeking appropriate treatment can help alleviate the pain and discomfort associated with TMJ disorder. Whether through rest, physical therapy, oral appliance, medication, or other interventions, there are solutions that can bring relief and improve the overall well-being of those affected by this condition.

tmj and orofacial pain woodbridge va

Is TMJ Causing Your Orofacial Pain?

tmj and orofacial pain woodbridge va Do you suffer from pain in the jaw, face, neck, or upper back? Have repeated attempts at treatment failed to put an end to your chronic headaches? Your orofacial pain may be caused by TMJ.

What is TMJ?

TMJ, short for tempromandibular joint disorder, refers to any one of a body of problems affecting the tempromandibular joints – the joints connecting the upper and lower jaw. Most TMJ disorders stem from poor tooth or jaw alignment causing tension in the muscles of the head and neck. Because the symptoms of TMJ can be common to a lot of other problems, and because TMJ disorders are complex, this condition can be quite difficult to diagnose. Luckily, Dr. Joseph Cavallo has advanced postgraduate training in the diagnosis and treatment of TMJ.

Causes of TMJ

Almost anything that negatively affects the alignment of your jaw can cause TMJ.

  • Head or neck trauma
  • Slipped discs
  • Arthritis
  • Malocclusion (poor jaw alignment)
  • Hormonal changes
  • Stress
  • Poor dental work in the past

Symptoms of TMJ

  • Face, head, neck, and shoulder pain
  • Increased tension in the jaw
  • Limited jaw mobility
  • Jaw popping and clicking
  • Tooth clenching or grinding
  • Chronic headaches or migraines



The first step of treatment is proper diagnosis. Because each case of TMJ is different, correctly identifying your problem areas is very important. Dr. Cavallo will first collect a detailed description of our symptoms and perform an exam of your jaw muscles. Advanced technology will be used to analyze the popping and clicking of your jaw, test your range of motion, and analyze pressure points in your bite.


To alleviate many of the common symptoms of TMJ, a custom mouthguard can help hold the jaw in proper alignment and cushion the teeth against clenching or grinding. In some cases, the improved alignment of a mouthguard could completely eliminate your TMJ symptoms. Other patients may require bite correction, or occlusal equilibration. The vast majority of TMJ disorders are caused by a poor bite, and correcting the bite could cure your TMJ entirely.

Schedule a Consultation

If you have been living with chronic head or neck pain, there may be a cure. TMJ treatment could be the answer to your problems and improving you quality of life. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Joseph P. Cavallo in Woodbridge, VA, contact our office online or at (703) 493-1203 today.

sports mouth guard woodbridge va

You Might Be Surprised by a Custom Mouthguard

sports mouth guard woodbridge va

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a mouthguard? For a lot of people, you might be imagining a bulky, uncomfortable piece of plastic sitting in your mouth. If so, odds are you’ve tried a pre-made drugstore mouthguard, or even a boil-and-bite heat molded one. If you have never tried a custom mouthguard, you will be surprised at the difference.

Why do I need a mouthguard?

The basic answer to this question is: to protect your teeth. It can be easy to do damage to our teeth without paying attention. Sometimes, the damage might be so small that we don’t notice it until it becomes a big problem. A mouthguard can prevent this damage from happening to keep you smile as healthy and beautiful as possible.

Types of Mouth Guards

To make any mouthguard, Dr. Joseph Cavallo will take a dental mold, then create a custom mouthguard to fit your mouth, for the best comfort and protection available. There are two main categories of mouth guards: sports mouth guards, and nighttime mouth guards.

Sports Mouth Guards

The National Federation of State High School Associations requires mouth guards for four sports: football, lacrosse, field hockey, and ice hockey. Parents buying their children’s sports equipment and looking to save money may think an over-the-counter mouthguard is good enough. Unfortunately, they aren’t as good at shock absorption to protect the teeth. They are also bulky in the mouth, and can interfere with breathing.

Nighttime Mouth Guards

Nighttime mouth guards are worn while you sleep. They are generally used to protect the teeth from wear from grinding or clenching the jaw in your sleep. These are smaller than a sports mouthguard, and should fit closely over the teeth. A subset of this category, TMJ mouth guards, also known as bite plates, are designed to realign the jaw in sleep.

Schedule a Consultation

If you are interested in a mouthguard for sports or sleep, or if you are tired of your uncomfortable store-bought option, consider the office of Joseph P. Cavallo, DDS. To schedule an appointment to discuss your mouthguard needs, contact us online or at (703) 493-1203 and protect your teeth today.

Toothache pain, Woodbridge, VA

Treating TMJ in Woodbridge, VA

Treatment For TMJ Woodbridge VA The Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) is the joint that connects the upper and lower jaw. The temporomandibular joint allows you to speak and chew without restriction. When there is dysfunction in the TMJ, you may hear Dr. Cavallo refer to it as TMD (temporomandibular disorder).

Although there is not a direct cause for TMD, certain factors may contribute to the development of TMD. Factors linked to TMD may include:

  • Teeth grinding or clenching of the teeth
  • Arthritis
  • Trauma to the head, neck, or face
  • Malocclusion
  • Changes in the hormones or an imbalance of hormones
  • Stress

About TMJ Disorder

For some patients, TMD may cause slight discomfort; for other patients, TMD may result in painful or uncomfortable symptoms. Statistically, TMD can be difficult to diagnose because TMD symptoms may mimic other health concerns.

Common symptoms of TMD:

  • Lockjaw
  • Fatigue
  • Swelling in the face
  • Clicking or popping sound when opening or closing the jaw
  • Tenderness or pain associated with moving the jaw
  • Discomfort or pain in the face, jaw joint, neck, shoulders, or near the ears

Diagnosing TMD

Dr. Joseph Cavallo has undergone extensive postgraduate training for TMJ disorder and other complex bites disorders. Dr. Cavallo offers personalized solutions to treat patients with TMJ disorder. Dr. Cavallo will review your medical history and perform a full comprehensive exam before recommending the appropriate treatment.

Dr. Cavallo will also perform a full bite analysis to determine if there is an imbalance in the bite. During the bite analysis, Dr. Cavallo utilizes a machine called an articulator. An articulator It is a records your biting/chewing motion on a device that mimics your natural jaw movements.

TMJ Disorder Treatment

Your treatment will depend on the severity of your case and the extent of damage the teeth have sustained. The most common treatment solutions are TMJ Mouthguards and Bite Correction Procedures (Occlusal Equilibration). The goal of treatment is to alleviate painful, uncomfortable symptoms and prevent further damage to the teeth and jaw.

Schedule An Appointment

If you are seeing relief from TMJ pain, schedule a visit to our Woodbridge, VA dental office. Der. Cavallo is an experienced dentist in Woodbridge, VA dedicated to improving the health and function of patient smiles. Dr. Cavallo can work with you to find the right treatment for your dental health. To learn more about our services, contact our Woodbridge, VA dental office. To schedule a consultation, call 703.493.1203 or schedule a consultation online.

causes of tmj and treatment options woodbridge va dentist office

What Is The Cause of Chronic Facial Pain?

Do you experience chronic pain or sensitivity in your jaw, neck, or face? Do you wake up with constant headaches? Does your jaw pop or click, making it difficult or painful to eat?

Facial pain can become debilitating, negatively impacting your quality of life. We see a lot of patients at our Woodbridge, VA dentist office who suffer from chronic jaw pain, and many are at their “wit’s end”. For many of these patients, their facial pain has caused them to miss work, skip family gatherings, and often leaves them bedridden with severe headaches.

causes of tmj and treatment options woodbridge va dentist office

What causes chronic face or jaw pain?

TMJ or TMD is a disorder of the temporomandibular joint. The disorder occurs when the joint is damaged, stressed or misused. Nightly teeth grinding, stress, trauma or bite misalignment are common causes of a damaged TMJ.  Many patients experience a combination of factors that lead to painful symptoms of the face and neck.

No two cases of TMD are the same. Dr. Joseph Cavallo is a highly trained and experienced dentist with training in the intricate muscles and function of the masticatory system.  Dr. Cavallo provides every patient experiencing facial pain with a thorough oral health exam and bite analysis. Dr. Cavallo looks at the interconnectedness between the jaw, teeth, and neck. The goal is to pinpoint the cause of malfunction to bring the whole system into alignment, alleviating painful symptoms.

What are the treatment options for TMJ?

Treatment is tailored to the patient and determined based on the cause of their TMJ.  Dr. Cavallo works with patients to build treatment plans that will alleviate pain and prevent future damage to the teeth and gums. Treatment plans may include procedures to restore damaged, missing or misaligned teeth to restore the health and function to the jaw, teeth, and gums. Possible treatments include Invisalign, an oral sleep appliance, restorative dentistry, or other restorative bite correction procedures.

If you struggle with daily pain, feel constantly fatigued, or have headaches every morning, contact our Woodbridge, VA dentist office to learn more about our comprehensive approach to treating TMD.

Toothache pain, Woodbridge, VA

Do you grind your teeth?

Toothache pain, Woodbridge, VAIf you suffer from chronic headaches and facial pain, you may grind your teeth. Also known as Bruxism, teeth grinding can occur while a patient is sleeping or may be caused by stress-related jaw clenching.
What many patients do not realize is that bruxism can cause damage to your teeth and other long-term oral health problems. Woodbridge dentist Dr. Cavallo can spot the signs of teeth grinding and offers comprehensive treatment planning for patients with TMJ related pain.

Dr. Cavallo will work with patients on an individual basis to identify the possible causes for teeth grinding and help build a treatment plan specific to their oral health needs. Tooth grinding and jaw clenching are often a result of an imbalanced bite.

Knowing you grind your teeth may difficult to know as it often occurs during sleep. If you suffer from any the below symptoms on a regular basis, you may grind or clench your jaw. If you do, contact our Woodbridge, VA dentist office to schedule a consultation to prevent further damage to your teeth and gums.

Signs and symptoms of teeth grinding

  • Frequent headaches
  • Jaw and/or neck pain
  • Chipped or damaged teeth
  • Worn, flat looking teeth
  • Frequent ear pain, fullness

Treatment Options for Teeth Grinding

Dr. Cavallo offers treatment options for teeth grinding. Custom fit mouthguards are often used during sleep to realign the jaw and protect the teeth from further damage. Many patients who use custom sleep guards experience almost immediate relief of their facial pain.

For some patients, crooked teeth or misaligned bites can cause grinding or clenching. Invisalign can help realign their teeth and jaw to help eliminate bruxism and related discomfort. Dental crowns and tooth bonding can be effective cosmetic dental treatments for bringing the bite into alignment to relieve pain and protect teeth.

Schedule A Consultation

If you suspect or know, that you clench or grind your teeth, contact our Woodbridge dentist office. Dr. Cavallo can help you restore your smile and protect it from future damage. Stopping your bruxism may relieve daily aches and pains and improve your quality of life.

Toothache pain, Woodbridge, VA

TMJ Relief

Toothache pain, Woodbridge, VADo you suffer from intense, constant jaw tension or pain? Do you get frequent unexplained headaches?

If you often feel tenderness or pain in the jaw, ear and neck region, you may be suffering from a TMJ disorder. TMJ stands for Temporomandibular Joint disorder and refers to a wide variety of issues causing dysfunction in your bite. Woodbridge dentist Dr. Joseph Cavallo is highly trained in the diagnosis of TMJ disorders. He offers comprehensive treatment options and can offer you an individualized treatment plan to alleviate your chronic jaw pain.

TMJ is a complex disorder that requires accurate diagnostics and specialized treatment for results that last and support a comfortable bite. Symptoms vary in severity and can progress over time. Soreness in the face muscles, severe headaches stemming from the jaw region, painful ear aches, tension in the neck, shoulders and face, and popping of the jaw are all common complaints that indicate a problem in the jaw joint or bite. There is no “one size fits all” answer to what causes TMJ.

What Causes TMJ?

TMJ Risk Factors include:
Teeth Clenching
Trauma to the Jaw muscle
Poorly balanced dental work
Hormonal changes
Malocclusion – bite problems due to jaw misalignment

How Can I Treat TMJ

The first step in treating your TMJ is to schedule an appointment with Woodbridge dentist Dr. Cavallo. Dr. Cavallo. Highly trained and experienced in TMJ diagnosis and treatment, Dr. Cavallo will conduct a comprehensive TMJ evaluation. By creating a detailed dental health history, and understanding your unique TMJ symptoms, Dr. Cavallo can work with you to create an individualized treatment plan.

TMJ Evaluation

Oral Health History: Dr. Cavallo will collect your dental health history to understand any trauma or improper care you may have received
Clinical Examination: Dr. Cavallo will examine muscles in your lower jaw, using Doppler Auscultation Instrument to evaluate popping in temporomandibular joint.
Load Test: A load test will be conducted to test for any tension or tenderness and range of motion to determine joint mobility. MRI or X-Rays may be taken.
Analysis: Upper arch of teeth and jaw joints relationship will be determined. Dr. Cavallo will use registration wax to mold how the upper and lower jaw and teeth meet.

Once the evaluation is complete Dr. Cavallo will discuss what dental procedures are most suitable for you. The goal of treatment is to balance the bite.

If you think you may be suffering from TMJ disorder, schedule a visit with Dr. Cavallo in our Woodbridge dentist office.

TMJ Headache

Your Headaches May Be A Dental Concern

TMJ HeadacheSuffering from frequent headaches? Jaw pain? Difficulty chewing? Ear pain? You may have Temporomandibular Joint disorder (TMJ). TMJ is a dental health condition where chewing muscles within the mouth are highly affected in functionality. Many patients do not realize they suffer from TMJ until they visit Dr. Cavallo in Woodbridge, VA.

Taking a comprehensive approach to all patients, Dr. Cavallo seeks to understand the underlying cause of any dental health problems before recommending any form of treatment. Dr. Cavallo is a restorative and cosmetic dentist serving the Northern Virginia area who has extensive training in the diagnosis and treatment of bite disorders such as TMJ.

Symptoms of TMJ include any of the following: migraines or headaches, limited or restricted jaw mobility, teeth grinding, shoulder and neck pain, earaches, signs of tooth wear, and more. All of these symptoms are clear signs that you might be suffering from TMJ.

To ensure good overall dental health and quality of life, it is important to seek treatment for TMJ as early as possible. Dr. Cavallo will examine your dental health to understand the underlying cause of TMJ. At the Woodbridge office, Dr. Cavallo aims to treat TMJ by gently and naturally bringing the head, jaw, neck and bite into proper alignment.

Dr. Cavallo will begin treatment by using a Doppler auscultation instrument that evaluates clicking or popping sounds from the jaw joint. Additionally, he will conduct a load test that looks for any tension or tenderness of the joint and a range of mobility exam. Then an occlusal analysis is used to understand the relationship between the upper arch of teeth and jaw joints as well as how the upper and low jaw meet.

There are many treatments for TMJ. Dr. Cavallo may recommend a mouth guard that is usually worn during sleep to prevent grinding and clenching. A TMJ mouth guard tends to alleviate most common symptoms and prevents further damage to teeth and gums. Another treatment option are bite correction procedures. This process adjusts the alignment of teeth for optimal fit. Bite correction can alleviate TMJ symptoms such as headaches, sore jaw and more.

If you have been suffering with any of the TMJ symptoms, contact Dr. Cavallo in his Woodbridge dentist office and begin to restore your oral health! TMJ can have a dramatic impact on oral health if left untreated. Be sure to schedule your appointment to renew a healthy, functional smile!

TMJ Headache

Stop Teeth Grinding for Better Dental Health!

Teeth grinding, also known as Bruxism, often goes unnoticed by patients because it typically occurs at night during sleep. Some patients may clench their teeth when feeling stressed without realizing it and this can also have detrimental effects on dental health.

Woodbridge dentist Dr. Cavallo can spot the signs of teeth grinding during routine dental care visits and work with patients to identify possible causes as well as how to prevent it- and thus prevent further damage. Tooth grinding and jaw clenching are often key signs that there is an imbalance in the bite that needs to be addressed to restore oral health and prevent teeth grinding, clenching and their side effects.

Signs and symptoms of teeth grinding

  • Frequent headaches
  • Jaw and/or neck pain
  • Chipped or damaged teeth
  • Worn, flat looking teeth
  • Frequent ear pain, fullness

Dr. Cavallo offers treatment options for teeth grinding designed to restore oral health and reduce related symptoms, some of which can affect daily life. He may recommend the use of a custom fit mouthguard, frequently worn at night, to eliminate pressure on jaw joints and reduce teeth grinding.

For patients with damaged teeth or an imbalance in the bite, restorative procedures may be recommended to repair and realign teeth and resolve bruxism. Dental crowns, tooth bonding and even orthodontics can be effective treatments for bringing the bite into alignment and preserving the integrity of a patient’s natural smile for the long run.

If you are concerned that you may be grinding your teeth or have experienced any of the symptoms mentioned above, come in for a visit with us in our Northern Virginia dentist office. Left untreated, bruxism can even lead to tooth loss!

Restore your dental health and preserve your smile for a lifetime!

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