TMJ

woman holding her jaw close up

Grinding/TMJ Therapy

Bruxism is a condition in which you grind and/or clench your teeth. If you do brux, you may unconsciously clench your teeth together during the day, or clench and/or grind them at night. Most often this can be treated with an occlusal guard. An occlusal guard is a horseshoe-shaped piece of acrylic which is worn over the teeth to protect them against damage caused by the opposing teeth during clenching and grinding. It serves as a barrier between your upper and lower teeth so that you bite against the acrylic rather than wearing down the enamel of your teeth.

Sign and symptoms of Bruxism may include:

  • Flattened, fractured, chipped or loose teeth
  • Worn tooth enamel, exposing deeper layers of your tooth
  • Hot or cold tooth sensitivities
  • Jaw/joint or facial muscle pain or soreness
  • Dull headache originating in the temples when you wake up
  • Damage from chewing on the inside of your cheek
  • Indentations on your tongue

Severe Bruxism may lead to:

  • Damage to your teeth, restorations, crowns or jaw
  • Tension-type headaches
  • Facial pain
  • TMJ disorders (clicking or popping)

The temporomandibular joints, called TMJ, are the joints and jaw muscles that make it possible to open and close your mouth. Your TMJ work together when you chew, speak and swallow. They also control the lower jaw (mandible) as it moves forward, backward and side to side.

Signs and symptoms of TMJ disorders may include:

  • Pain or tenderness of your jaw
  • Aching pain in and around your ear
  • Difficulty chewing or pain while chewing
  • Locking of the joint, making it difficult to open/close your mouth or limited movement

Steps to help with pain

  • Limit jaw movements (no chewing gum, wide yawning or opening)
  • Eat soft foods