Many people wake in the morning with jaw soreness, headaches, sensitive teeth and even earaches because they have been grinding or clenching their teeth throughout the night. Called bruxism, teeth grinding and clenching can also happen during the day, and these actions can wear down the teeth, disrupt sleep and put pressure on the tissues and muscles around the jaw, leading to a host of oral and overall health problems. The longer bruxism goes untreated, the more severe the impact on your jaw, which is why it is stringly recommended to discuss TMJ dentistry with your dentist.
One of the primary causes of bruxism is temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder TMD. These joints on either side of the head work with different bones, muscles, discs and ligaments to help you speak and chew, but certain factors can throw the system off and cause bruxism and other symptoms.
A TMJ dentist can help if your bruxism is caused by a joint issue. These dental specialists aim to reduce pain, prevent long-lasting damage to the teeth and to stop grinding and clenching if possible.
One of the most common TMJ treatments for bruxism is a mouth guard. These custom-made devices create a barrier between the teeth, reducing the effects of grinding or clenching.
Splints are another treatment option that help guard the teeth against the effects of grinding or clenching. Some splints fit over just the bottom teeth while others are designed to cover only the top teeth. Some gently guide the jaw to a more relaxed position. The type of splint recommended by your TMJ dentist will depend on your individual symptoms, and most patients find that splints reduce clenching, grinding and the associated pain.
Clenching and grinding are often caused by stress, and your TMJ dentist can recommend approaches to limit stress and “unlearn” your clenching behaviors. These behavior modifications, coupled with a splint or mouth guard, can significantly reduce symptoms and help you sleep better at night and wake with fewer painful symptoms each morning…read more