TMJ & Bruxism Problems
Silver Spring, MD
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and bruxism might be a mouthful, to say the least, but understanding these interrelated conditions is critical to recognizing problems when they occur. Failing to react promptly to symptoms of TMJ disorders and bruxism can eventually lead to serious health issues and discomfort. Metropolitan Dental Specialty Group can help you better understand both TMJ and bruxism, and your options for preventing and treating these conditions.
The TMJ, or temporomandibular joint, is a hinge-like bone that connects the lower jawbone with the upper. In other words, it is all thanks to the TMJ that you can eat and talk. Unfortunately, the unique shape and the role of this joint mean that it is especially vulnerable to damage. TMJ disorders can include swelling, fractures and soreness, which you might recognize as oversensitivity when using your jaw, discomfort while yawning or eating, or chronic headaches. Some people say that if you can hear your jaw clicking it is a sign of a TMJ disorder. In fact, most people with a click have nothing to worry about. It is only if you feel discomfort or your jaw getting stuck that you should be concerned.
Bruxism is what dentists call teeth grinding. Like TMJ disorders, bruxism can affect anyone and everyone. Bruxism is most commonly caused by stress, and can occur both when you are awake and when you are sleeping. In both instances bruxism occurs subconsciously, which means that stopping yourself from grinding your teeth is not simply a matter of building better habits. Still, if bruxism is not treated, you can wear down your muscles and irritate your gums, bones, and teeth.
How TMJ & Bruxism are Related
The truth is that we do not yet know the precise mechanisms by which TMJ disorders and bruxism are related. TMJ disorders span a wide variety of different conditions, and the complicated tangle of ligaments, muscles, bones, and discs around the TMJ make it difficult to fully understand. What we do know is that many of the symptoms of TMJ disorders can actually be caused, and even worsened, by bruxism. These two disorders frequently display comorbidity, which means they occur simultaneously in the same patient.
Preventing & Treating TMJ & Bruxism
The complexity of TMJ disorders, and with the even greater complexity of how TMJ disorders and bruxism can potentially relate to one another, there is no single method for either preventing or treating these conditions. Only by evaluating you in our office can we properly diagnose your symptoms. Once we have, there are a variety of potential methods we might recommend. You may benefit from correcting bite problems, or stopping stress grinding with dental appliances like crowns, bridges, or braces. Oral guards are very common and can be worn while you sleep.
Say Goodbye to Aches & Pains
If you are tired of dealing with your achy jaw or waking up with sensitive teeth after grinding them all night long, then you can benefit from a consultation on how best to tackle your TMJ and bruxism problems. To schedule a consultation with Metropolitan Dental Specialty Group, contact us at (301) 585-0400 today!