Your mouth is made up of several different components. These components work together to allow you to eat, speak, smile, and so much more. One of these components is your temporomandibular joints or TMJ. These joints are responsible for helping you open and close your mouth, as well as move your lower jaw from side to side. When healthy, you perform many of these tasks without noticing that your TMJ is working. If these joints become irritated and inflamed, however, every movement of your TMJ is noticeable. You may be faced with significant pain and find basic movements difficult. A major cause of this discomfort is bruxism. Mid Valley Family Dental is here to help.
What is TMJ Disorder?
TMJ disorder is a condition that refers to several issues that affect the health and functionality of your temporomandibular joints. When you have TMJ disorder, your joints may be irritated and inflamed, issues that can affect the functionality of your mouth. Basic things like eating and speaking become difficult and painful. Even the slightest movement of your mouth can cause significant pain. There are several issues that can cause TMJ disorder. One of these issues is bruxism.
What is Bruxism?
Bruxism is the grinding and clenching of your teeth. These actions place excessive amounts of pressure on your teeth, your jaw, and your temporomandibular joints. While you can suffer bruxism at any time, it is more common at night. During the day, you may notice that you are grinding and clenching your teeth, and can, therefore, put a stop to it. As you sleep, however, grinding and clenching goes unnoticed and can go on all night.
Bruxism can be caused by many different issues. One of the most common causes is stress. Stress causes the muscles in your body, and your face, to tense. This tension can force your teeth to clench together.
Other causes of bruxism include:
- Crooked teeth.
- Tobacco and alcohol use.
- Certain types of medication.
- Caffeine use.
Symptoms of Bruxism and TMJ Disorder
There are several symptoms that can point toward bruxism and TMJ disorder. When these issues first develop, however, the symptoms are barely noticeable. The longer the issue goes untreated, the worse these symptoms become. Common symptoms include:
- Pain in your jaw and temporomandibular joints.
- Swelling in your face and near your temporomandibular joints.
- Significant and uneven wear on your teeth.
- Trouble eating or to speak.
- Temporary lockjaw.
- Clicking, grinding or popping in your jaw.
- Headaches or earaches.
Restoring Your Oral Health and Functions of Your Mouth
A thorough oral exam is needed to diagnose TMJ disorder and bruxism. We carefully look over your teeth, assessing alignment and tooth wear. We also take X-rays to examine your jawbone and the joints. Once we have made a diagnosis, we can then recommend treatment.
Treatments for bruxism and TMJ disorder include:
- A mouth guard. Also called a night guard, this is an intraoral device that is worn over your teeth while you sleep. It absorbs the impact of grinding and clenching, keeping pressure off of your jaw and temporomandibular joints.
- Botox injections. Botox injections block the nerves that trigger grinding and clenching.
- Orthodontics. Braces or other orthodontic devices can help to correct the alignment of crooked teeth, putting a stop to your grinding and clenching.
- Oral surgery. In more serious cases, oral surgery may be recommended to treat TMJ disorder.
With the right treatment, we can help to alleviate the symptoms of TMJ disorder and bruxism, restoring the functions of your mouth, your oral health, and your quality of life. If you are facing jaw and TMJ discomfort, contact Mid Valley Family Dental at 503-902-1622 to schedule your consultation today.