Yuba City, CA
The TMJ or as it is known to the dental community, the temporomandibular joint, can become inflamed leading to TMD issues which are known as temporomandibular disorder. This joint connects the lower jawbone to the skull.
Bruxism is the technical term used for teeth grinding or clenching. This can happen while the patient is either awake or asleep which can lead to the jaw getting out of alignment and cause pain in the TMJ. If you are having symptoms, please reach out to us at Magnolia Modern Dentistry. We have knowledgeable staff who are trained in managing bruxism and correcting TMD problems.
Many times, bruxism can go unnoticed for years because symptoms are not bad enough to warrant attention. If the patient is not aware they grind their teeth, or their partner does not hear them grinding their teeth in the middle of the night, it can go undetected. Some indicators patients have bruxism is waking with clenched teeth or having tenderness at the joint site or along the jawline. Patients may also have pain in their teeth or notice excessive wear. Also, the TMJ can begin clicking while chewing.
There are several risk factors that can increase the chances of having bruxism. These include high levels of stress or anxiety. These can increase the chances of having awake bruxism. Other emotional states can also impact it such as anger, tension, or even frustration. Sleep bruxism has a genetic component to it. When a patient’s family has a history of bruxism, they are much more likely to have it as well. Parkinson’s disease, dementia, and epilepsy can all contribute to bruxism as well.
Bruxism and TMJ
It should be noted that those patients experiencing bruxism do not always develop problems with TMJ. Though this is true, bruxism can help to aggravate an already existing condition. In some cases, with severe bruxism the upper and lower teeth fail to touch together, the muscles shift to allow TMJ to force them together. This increased pressure can overstress the joint and lead to TMD problems.
Preventing and Managing Bruxism
Patients can help alleviate symptoms of bruxism. Our office staff can make appropriate recommendations for treatment when we complete a thorough examination. Learning how to reduce stress is key to managing bruxism too. We can help teach patients those techniques. In some cases, wearing a mouthguard at night, while sleeping is recommended. This keeps the teeth apart so the patient cannot grind them together. Another available option for our patients is a splint bite. This prevents the jaw and teeth from unwanted movement to diminish pain or potential damage caused by clenching.
For those patients who continually wake up with aching jaws or acute pain in their teeth or gums or if they have noticed unusual wear patterns in their teeth, it is quite possible they are suffering from bruxism. We can provide them with bruxism management tools. Please contact us today at Magnolia Modern Dentistry so we can discuss it. You can reach us by phone at (530)671-1770 to talk it over or to book an appointment. Do not hesitate to call.