WHAT IS TMJ & BRUXISM?
Bruxism is a condition where you frequently grind your teeth. Milder cases usually don’t need treatment, but severe cases can lead to damage in your jaw and teeth. This can occur either while you’re awake or during sleep. Bruxism has ties to temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ disorder, which is a painful condition where the joints of your jaw come out of alignment.
WHAT ARE THE RISK FACTORS FOR BRUXISM?
Watch out for these risk factors for chronic teeth grinding:
• Genetics are often the cause of sleep bruxism. You may have an increased risk of bruxism if other members of your family have this condition.
• Stress, anxiety, and anger can lead to bruxism during the day. Intense emotions and deep concentration can also cause people to clench their jaws.
• Certain medical and mental health disorders such as epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, night terrors and dementia also have ties to bruxism.
You might not even know you have bruxism unless you experience pain in your jaw, tooth damage, or headaches. A lot of patients are completely unaware that they grind until it is brought to their attention by a dentist. That’s why to catch bruxism in its early stages, it is important that you come in for regular dental appointments.
HOW DOES BRUXISM LEAD TO TMJ?
Not everyone who grinds their teeth gets TMJ, but sometimes bruxism can cause TMJ or make an existing case of it even worse. Severe cases of bruxism can alter your bite over time by shifting your teeth out of their original positions. Your teeth and dental restorations can also suffer damage if you grind your teeth. If your bite becomes misaligned, then your muscles may reposition temporomandibular joints out of their sockets to force your upper and lower teeth to realign again, resulting in TMJ disorders.
Bruxism and TMJ disorders have similar symptoms. If you experience difficulty opening and closing your mouth, pain, frequent headaches, sensitivity in your jaws, face, neck or near your ears, contact us right away and we’ll schedule an in-depth dental examination.
HOW CAN I PREVENT TMJ DISORDERS AND MANAGE BRUXISM?
If you have bruxism, we’ll help you manage it so it doesn’t produce a TMJ disorder. Here are a few options we may prescribe:
• If you grind your teeth at night, your specialist at integratedDENTAL may prescribe a mouthguard to protect your teeth from further harm.
• We may ask you to wear a bite splint that will prevent undesirable movement of your jaw and teeth, alleviating the pain and damage caused by bruxism.
• It’s crucial that you make a conscious effort to relax your jaw during the day. your specialist at integratedDENTAL will teach you how.
• If you grind your teeth due to stress, reducing those emotions will help your condition. Methods such as deep breathing and meditation help in this regard.
If bruxism has damaged your teeth or caused your bite to become misaligned, we’ll need to take action before your condition progresses and becomes a TMJ disorder. If you experience any complications, contact us so we can schedule a thorough examination.