Beyond Dental and Implant Center
TMJ & Bruxism Problems
TMJ & Bruxism Problems
TMJ & Bruxism Problems at Beyond Dental and Implant Center Dentistry in Texas
Your temporomandibular joints, commonly abbreviated as TMJ, are an important feature of your mouth. You have two, one on each side of your face. The joints are located where the mandible meets the skull, and they are responsible for the movements of your mouth. The TMJ consists of a ball and socket with a disc in the center. The disc absorbs the impact of the pressures your jaw puts on the joint. When the joint becomes irritated and inflamed, it can cause significant pain, and interfere with your normal daily activities. One cause of TMJ irritation is bruxism. Beyond Dental and Implant Center is here to help.
What is Bruxism?
Bruxism is a condition in which you clench and grind your teeth. The most common cause of bruxism is stress. When you are stressed, your muscles become tense. When facial muscles become tense, they force your jaws to clench, which places excessive pressure on your jaws and TMJ. Bruxism can also be caused by alignment issues, as well as certain lifestyle habits and medications. Bruxism can lead to several significant issues, including TMJ disorder.
Symptoms of TMJ Disorder and Bruxism
Pain is often the first sign of TMJ disorder as well as bruxism. When you have bruxism, you may notice pain in jaw and TMJ most prominently when you first wake up in the morning. There are other symptoms that can also point toward bruxism and TMJ disorder. These symptoms include:
- Uneven or excessive wear on the surfaces of your teeth.
- Facial pain.
- Difficulty, even severe pain, while biting, chewing, or speaking. You may find it difficult to open your mouth at all.
- Experiencing lockjaw. This is a condition in which your jaw temporarily locks open or closed and cannot be moved.
- Clicking, popping, or grinding in the TMJ.
- Chronic headaches or earaches, which are often caused by the radiation of pain from the TMJ.
To diagnose bruxism, and provide you with the most effective treatment, we need to perform an oral exam. During this exam, we look over the inside of your mouth, checking your teeth for alignment and wear patterns. In addition to a visual inspection, we also take images of your mouth, which may include x-rays, CAT scans, or CT scans. These images allow us to see below the gumline and assess your jawbone, as well as the muscles, bones, ligaments, and the joints. Once we have determined that bruxism is the cause of your TMJ discomfort, and what is causing your bruxism, we can then create a customized treatment plan to restore your oral health.
Treating TMJ Disorder and Bruxism
There are a few different treatments that may be used to treat bruxism and TMJ disorder. Treatments include:
- A nightguard. A nightguard is an oral appliance worn in your mouth while you sleep. It works to cushion the forces exerted when you grind and clench your teeth.
- Botox. Botox injections relax muscles in your jaw, preventing the tension that leads to grinding and clenching.
- Orthodontic treatment. If poor alignment is causing your bruxism, and your TMJ discomfort, orthodontic treatment such as braces may be recommended.
- Oral surgery. In severe cases, or when no other treatments have proven effective, oral surgery may be recommended. This treatment is often reserved as a last option.
If you are experiencing significant jaw pain that is interfering with the normal functions of your mouth, treatment can help. Call Beyond Dental and Implant Center today for more information.