Do you feel pain around your jawline? Are your favorite foods hard to chew? Do you seem to grind your teeth especially when you are sleep? Most people clench or grind their teeth from time to time. When jaw pain becomes a problem for you, it could be a warning sign. Pain could be caused by teeth grinding or bruxism or even temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ). The temporomandibular joints or TMJ are the hinge joints that connect the lower jaw to the skull. TMD is the actual disorder.
Over time, bruxism (grinding your teeth together) can cause worn, cracked or loose teeth, gum issues, ear pain, headaches, and sleep troubles. It may also trigger painful problems with the temporomandibular joints. When an injury, dental misalignment, arthritis, stress, or poor posture irritates or injures this joint, the result is a TMJ disorder, or TMD. Habitually grinding or clenching teeth is another behavior that can set the stage for this disorder. Symptoms: Tenderness or stiffness in the jaw’s joints, the sound or sensation of popping or clicking in these joints, and discomfort when chewing are all cause for concern. Facial pain & headaches are other common symptoms of TMD.
The Connection between Teeth Grinding and TMJ Disorder
Bruxism and TMD aren’t the same. The first is a behavior; the latter is a condition. These problems can exist independently, but there is a clear connection between them. When teeth grinding goes untreated, it can injure the temporomandibular joints. That’s why it is critical that you talk to your dentist at the first sign of either of these issues. Seeking prompt treatment for your jaw pain will help you feel better faster. It may also allow you to prevent more severe dental problems.
Protect Your Smile with Dr. Green
It’s hard to smile when your jaw hurts. Fortunately, there are things that Dr. Green can do to treat or prevent teeth grinding and TMD. Most of the time the initial treatment for either problem is conservative. Dr. Green can prescribe customized orthotic appliances, mouth guards, that can stop the grinding or clenching of the teeth and hold the jaw in its proper place. Stress management techniques such as icing your facial muscles to relax your jaw muscles to relieve pain and deep breathing excercises can be beneficial as well.
Call Dr. Green if you are experiencing bruxism or TMJ issues. He can help you. Call 973-228-0252 for more information.