TMJ and Bruxism

Do you wake up with headaches, neck, or shoulder pain? Are your teeth sensitive? Are they starting to crack or look worn down? You may have problems with TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder or bruxism (teeth grinding or clenching).

TMJ disorders affect over ten million Americans and are much more commonly diagnosed in women. These disorders can be painful and, in some cases, may seriously affect your quality of life. Often, TMJ disorders prevent patients from opening their mouths fully, which can make dental exams and oral hygiene difficult. Such severe symptoms put your oral health at risk.

Symptoms of TMJ Disorders

While TMJ symptoms can vary dramatically from person to person, some of them may include:

  • Clicking or popping in your jaw joints
  • Being unable to open or close your mouth fully
  • Your teeth not coming together completely
  • Pain in your jaw joints
  • Facial, neck, or shoulder pain
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Grinding and clenching your teeth
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Tinnitus
  • Worn or shortened teeth

What Causes TMJ Disorders?

Jaw problems can sometimes be caused by an accident, trauma, or sports injury. It is also common for symptoms to have no definite cause. How your teeth come together (occlusion) can play a role in TMJ and may cause dysfunction in your jaw joints. Because more women are diagnosed with TMJ disorders, scientists are considering a link between TMJ disorders and female hormones.

How Are TMJ Disorders Treated?

How TMJ is treated depends on the type and severity of your symptoms. Treatment can include splint therapy, surgery, neuromuscular treatments, deprogrammers, or muscle relaxers. Most cases of TMJ can be treated without surgery, though it may be necessary for severe cases.

Bruxism (Tooth Grinding And Clenching)

Bruxism is excessive clenching or grinding of your teeth. While bruxism is common, symptoms can be severe and include tooth sensitivity, worn teeth, and headaches. Clenching and grinding occur most commonly while you are sleeping but can also occur during the day. Treatment for bruxism usually involves creating a night guard or splint to protect your teeth from damage.

If you suffer from symptoms of TMJ disorders or bruxism, call our office to schedule an evaluation. We will be able to recommend treatment to keep you comfortable and protect your teeth from damage.