Bruxism & TMJ Disorder
When it comes to maintaining your good dental health, there is much to consider beyond cleaning and protecting your gums and teeth. For instance, your bite needs to be in proper balance so your jaws, teeth, and other oral structures function smoothly and remain healthy; otherwise, you may be more susceptible to progressively worse dental issues. Bruxism and TMJ disorder are common bite disorders that affect your jaw joints and movement. Bruxism, or chronic teeth grinding, can exhaust your jaw joints and muscles, as well as cause excessive wear and damage to your teeth. TMJ disorder, or temporomandibular joint disorder, affects the two large joints on either side of your jaw that control its movement. Often related, bruxism and TMJ disorder can lead to a host of symptoms, including increased tooth sensitivity, jaw pain, headaches, migraines, and more.
When to Schedule an Appointment
The problem with bruxism and TMJ disorder is that their symptoms often overlap with other conditions, making a diagnosis more challenging. If your sleep partner complains that your teeth grinding is noisy at night, then you may be suffering from bruxism. If you experience chronic headaches, or seemingly unwarranted aches and pains in your jaw, face, mouth, neck, and shoulders but aren’t sure why, then TMJ disorder may be to blame. Otherwise, your dentist may notice wear and damage consistent with bruxism and recommend an appropriate course of treatment.
In many cases, bruxism and TMJ disorder can be effectively treated with a custom-designed oral appliance that can be worn overnight. A bruxism appliance will prevent your teeth from touching, while a TMJ device will allow your jaw to rest more comfortably, relieving the pressure on your jaw joints and muscles so they can heal.