Managing Bruxism and TMJ Disorder

TMJ disorder, or TMD, and bruxism are both problems related to your jaw joints. Patients who suffer from these widespread disorders can develop a number of uncomfortable symptoms, including problems with alignment and damaged teeth. While over ten million people experience the symptoms of TMD, few understand the causes or recognize the symptoms.

What is TMJ Disorder?

TMJ disorder occurs when the temporomandibular joints undergo excessive amounts of strain. These jaws connect the jaw and skull, allowing the renage of motionecesray to eat and speak.

TMD-related issues can be the result on injury to the face or jaw, misalignment, tooth loss, teeth grinding, or arthritis. Common symptoms of TMJ disorder include:

  • Stiffness or discomfort in the jaw
  • Headaches, earaches, or pain in the neck/shoulders
  • A clicking or popping sensation in the jaw
  • Problems or pain when chewing

How is TMJ Disorder Treated?

The treatment we recommend will depend on the cause of the disorder, as well as the severity. We will exam your jaw carefully and may take digital x-rays and impressions. We may then recommend a restoration, orthodontics to address misalignment, or possibly an oral appliance to reduce strain on the jaw joints. There are also lifestyle changes you can make to ease symptoms, such as:

  1. Sleeping on your back to ease pressure on the joints
  2. Applying heat to the jaw daily using an infrared lamp, heat pad, or warm, moist towel
  3. Adding more soft foods to your diet and avoid hard/chewy foods
  4. Limiting the intake of caffeine and sugary foods/drinks

What is Bruxism?

Bruxism refers to chronic teeth grinding and/or jaw clenching, which typically occurs at night during sleep. Over time, bruxism can damage teeth and increase the risk of tooth decay and infection. Warning signs may include headaches, jaw pain, or tooth sensitivity/discomfort. Treatment may include a custom-made mouthguard, which places a barrier between the upper and lower teeth, preventing further damage to the teeth. An oral appliance may also be recommended to ease pressure on the jaws. Causes of bruxism may include TMD, stress, tooth loss, malocclusion, or injury to the jaw or face.

Schedule a Bruxism/TMJ Assessment

If you constantly grind your teeth or experience chronic discomfort in your jaw and facial muscles, then schedule a bruxism/TMJ assessment with your dentist as soon as possible. Call Allen Family Dental today at (469) 342-6644. Located in Allen, TX, we also serve patients who live nearby in Frisco, Plano, McKinney, Fairview, and all surrounding communities.