The Relationship Between TMJ and Teeth Grinding
When you experience pain or discomfort in your jaw, it can be difficult to chew and talk normally. Whether you've suffered an injury or you've simply developed an ongoing click or pain in your jaw, it's important to seek treatment so your dentist can determine the cause and get you back to feeling your best as quickly as possible.
Causes of Jaw Pain
On each side of your jaw, you have a joint called the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, which connects your jawbone to your skull and acts as a sliding hinge, thus enabling you to talk and chew. However, this joint can become painful due to a variety of reasons that may include genetic factors, arthritis, a jaw injury, or bruxism.
What is Bruxism?
Often occurring during sleep, bruxism involves the involuntary grinding or clenching of your teeth. Sometimes, bruxism occurs while you're awake, but it is usually an unconscious gesture, which means you may not even realize that you are doing it. In addition to causing problems with your temporomandibular joints, ongoing teeth grinding and clenching can create significant damage to your teeth, including enamel erosion and the destruction of existing dental work.
Symptoms of TMJ Disorders
If you're suffering from bruxism, you may also have a TMJ disorder. Some common symptoms are:
- Jaw pain or tenderness
- Aching around one or both ears
- Facial pain
- Pain or discomfort while chewing
- Locking joint that makes closing your mouth difficult
If you're experiencing pain or discomfort in your jaw due to bruxism, there are several treatment options that can help. Your dentist can provide you with a custom-made oral appliance that is designed to help prevent you from clenching or grinding your teeth while you sleep. Another option is stress management. This is especially helpful if you primarily grind or clench your teeth during waking hours. Since each patient is different, it's best to seek treatment from an experienced dentist who can help identify your specific needs and put together a treatment plan that is right for you.
At Rush Creek Dentistry, we want to help you keep your teeth, mouth, and jaws healthy. If you're experiencing pain or discomfort in your jaws or you think you might be suffering from bruxism, contact us to schedule your consultation today.