When the TMJ joint has become dysfunctional, the disorder is referred to as temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). If you're experiencing jaw pain, clenching, or notice your teeth are worn, then you may need treatment. Read on to learn more about symptoms and treatment options or schedule an appointment with your dentist in East Amherst today.
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a hinge that connects your jaw to your skull. When this joint has become dysfunctional, the disorder is referred to as temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD).
There isn’t a clear known cause of TMD but it seems to be closely associated with teeth grinding or clenching, trauma to the jaw, arthritis, stress, having a misaligned bite, or a displacement of the disc between the ball and socket of the joint.
This results in many uncomfortable symptoms, such as severe pain, migraines, difficulty opening the jaw wide, lockjaw, clicking/popping sounds in the jaw, difficulty chewing, earaches, facial pain, and a feeling of fatigue in the face.
The difficulty with spotting teeth grinding it that it’s a habit that typically occurs at night while we sleep. If you sleep alone or rarely go to the dentist, this issue can go undetected for many years and result in severe damage to your teeth.
When you grind your teeth, you clench your jaw and apply an extreme amount of force to your teeth. Symptoms of bruxism include:
- Worn-down enamel
- Chipped or cracked teeth
- Tooth sensitivity
- Pain in the teeth, jaw, and face
- Tension headaches, especially in the temples
- Difficulty sleeping
- Loud grinding noises
If you have any of these symptoms, contact us at The Ivory Dental Co. today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Bridget Sweeney. We can assess your symptoms and determine a diagnosis as well as a treatment plan.
The most common treatment for bruxism is to wear a mouthguard while you sleep. This will prevent you from clenching your jaw and the plastic guard cushions your teeth, which can help minimize the damage and tooth wear caused by clenching.
They are custom-made to fit the contours of your mouth and are made of acrylic materials. Wearing a night guard can help reduce pain and mobility issues associated with these problems.
Believe it or not, Botox has therapeutic medical uses outside of the realm of cosmetic treatments. By administering Botox into specific muscle groups of the face, such as the temples, jaw muscles, and forehead, we can relax the muscles responsible for contracting and causing your jaw to clench.
This is an effective treatment for TMD and bruxism that lasts approximately 3-6 months. Our goal is to re-train the muscle groups, which will reduce clenching over time. However, in most cases repeated administration is often necessary.
Getting treatment for teeth grinding is important because the longer you suffer from this condition, the bigger the toll it will take on your teeth, jaw, and gums. Teeth grinding, as you can imagine, will damage your teeth over time.
Clenching and grinding exerts a great amount of pressure on your teeth. When you chew, you exert about 20-40lbs of pressure on your teeth. As a comparison, when you grind your teeth, it’s more like 250lbs of pressure.
This can wear down your enamel or even crack your teeth, which will require costly and time-consuming dental restorations. Grinding can also cause gum recession by exerting pressure where the teeth and gums meet, causing them to pull away and potentially loosen the teeth.
In addition to this, bruxism causes a great amount of pain and sensitivity in the teeth, jaw, and head. Teeth grinding can lead to TMD, which makes it difficult and painful to move or open the jaw. This can make eating and speaking difficult.