Did you know that teeth grinding can affect the health of your entire mouth? It can be harmful to your TMJ and to your teeth! Read the rest of this blog to learn more about bruxism and uncover some helpful tips to avoid the problems it causes.
What Is Bruxism?
Bruxism is the process of grinding and clenching your teeth. This tends to happen while you are stressed or sleeping. It can be conscious, or unconscious. Sometimes bruxism looks like grinding, clenching, or gnawing on small objects.
Symptoms of Bruxism:
- Morning headaches.
- Jaw pain.
- Tooth wear.
What Is the TMJ?
The temporomandibular joint or TMJ is the joint that connects your jaw to your skull, and it is located below your ears. When this joint malfunctions it is referred to as TMJ disorder or TMD. TMD is caused by stress, jaw misalignment, and bruxism.
Symptoms of TMD:
- Morning headaches.
- Jaw pain.
- Clicking or popping jaw.
- Locked jaw.
- Pain when chewing.
What Makes Healthy Teeth?
Teeth unaffected by bruxism or TMD can perform at their best. Without stress from being overworked, teeth can chew well and avoid cavities and other forms of dental decay easier.
Healthy teeth are kept clean and are only used to eat. Teeth that are overworked through teeth grinding and TMJ issues could start to deteriorate.
The Trouble With Bruxism and TMD
Bruxism often causes TMD. As the patient continuously clenches or grinds their teeth, the TMJ gets more and more worn out, causing TMD. These two issues combined can cause a lot of damage on your teeth and elsewhere:
- Enamel wear.
- Cracked teeth.
- Tooth infections.
- Pain in the jaw, neck, head, face, and shoulders.
Luckily, these issues have simple and efficient solutions that can help you live pain-free immediately.
How To Combat Bruxism and TMD
If you have a problem with grinding your teeth, check in with your dentist. When you go to your dental office they will be able to diagnose and treat your bruxism and TMD.
Treatment will protect your teeth and oral health, and it will relieve the symptoms of TMD and bruxism. You will experience less pain and headaches so you can sleep pain-free, knowing your teeth are protected.
A common approach for bruxism treatment is bite guards. These work to protect your teeth from grinding and clenching. They are usually worn during the night while your sleep, but if you also grind your teeth during the day, your dentist may recommend wearing the guard more frequently.
The bite guard is similar to a retainer or mouth guard but it creates space between your molars so only your front teeth are touching. This eliminates the wearing down of enamel from clenching and grinding your teeth.
TMD can be treated using a bite splint. A splint is similar to a bite guard, but the main purpose is different. Instead of preventing your teeth from grinding, a bite splint holds your jaw in place so your TMJ has a chance to heal. Kind of like wearing a splint on a sprained wrist.
Schedule Your Consultation Today!
Do not let your dental or physical health suffer, with our advanced technology and experienced dental team, we can quickly and efficiently diagnose your bruxism or TMJ. Say goodbye to jaw pain and worn-down teeth. You shouldn’t need to wait to get a pain-free smile.
If you notice that you often wake up with headaches, or that your jaw hurts frequently throughout the day, call McCullough Dental now. We can review your symptoms and help you find a treatment that will relieve your pain.