TMJ & Bruxism

Pain can significantly impact your quality of life. Do you wake up with headaches, neck, or shoulder pain? Are your teeth sensitive? Are they starting to crack or look worn down? Does your jaw hurt and cause facial swelling or pain?

You may have problems with TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder) or bruxism (teeth grinding or clenching).

Nighttime clenching and grinding may also cause your facial muscles to become larger, changing your appearance.

TMJ disorders affect millions and are much more commonly diagnosed in women. These disorders can be painful and, in some cases, may seriously affect your quality of sleep, ability to concentrate and the foods you can eat.

Often, TMJ disorders prevent patients from opening their mouths fully, making dental exams and oral hygiene difficult. Such severe symptoms put your oral health at risk.

Signs of TMJ Disorders

While the signs of TMJ can vary dramatically from person to person, some of them may include:

  • Clicking or popping in your jaw joints
  • Being unable to open or close your mouth fully
  • Your teeth not coming together completely
  • Pain in your jaw joints
  • Facial, neck or shoulder pain
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Grinding and clenching your teeth
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • Worn or shortened teeth

What Causes TMJ Disorders?

Jaw problems can sometimes be caused by an accident, trauma or a sports injury. It is also common for the disorder to have no definite cause.

How your teeth come together (your occlusion) can play a role in TMJ and may cause dysfunction in your jaw joints. Because more women are diagnosed with TMJ disorders, scientists are considering a link between TMJ disorders and female hormones.

How Are TMJ Disorders Treated?

How TMJ is treated depends on the type and severity of your symptoms. Treatment can include splint therapy, surgery, neuromuscular treatments, deprogrammers or muscle relaxers.

Most cases of TMJ can be treated without surgery, though it may be necessary for severe cases.

Bruxism (Teeth Grinding and Clenching)

Bruxism is excessively clenching or grinding your teeth. While bruxism is very common, symptoms can be severe and include tooth sensitivity, worn teeth and headaches.

Clenching and grinding occur more commonly while you are sleeping but can also occur during the day. Treatment for bruxism usually involves creating a night guard or splint to protect your teeth from damage.

If you experience the warning signs of a TMJ disorder or bruxism, call our clinic to arrange an evaluation. We will be able to recommend treatment to keep you comfortable and protect your teeth from damage.