Bruxism, also known as teeth grinding, affects patients of all ages. A common oral health condition teeth grinding is a habit that often occurs during sleep and goes misdiagnosed for too long. Teeth grinding can damage the function and alignment of the jaw and may lead to a complex bite disorder known as TMD. The habitual motion of grinding the upper and lower jaw together increases stress on the delicate jaw joint and over time begins to damage the temporomandibular joint.
Symptoms of Teeth Grinding Include:
- Headaches in the morning
- Jaw pain
- Popping or clicking in your jaw
- The tension in your shoulder, neck and upper back
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing
- Ringing in your ears or earaches
Teeth grinding is common in children. Some children will grow out of it as they age, while others carry the habit with them into adulthood. Other patients develop teeth grinding in their late teens or early twenties. It is a common belief that stress can trigger or worsen bruxism.
Addressing Bruxism, Alleviating Pain
At LIFESmiles our doctors take a comprehensive approach to treating TMJ and bruxism. We analyze all aspects of the chewing system and consider tooth alignment, age, and overall oral health. We look to treat the underlying issues causing teeth grinding to provide lasting and stable results.
Many patients go years without treatment and are often left feeling frustrated by everyday discomfort. Patients who grind their teeth often experience pain in the jaw, face and upper back in addition to experience daily headaches. Patients who grind their teeth will find little relief from over the counter pain medication and require professional treatment from their dentist.
Oral appliance therapy is highly effective for preventing bruxism. For many patients who grind their teeth, an oral appliance can be custom made to protect the jaw from bruxism. Oral appliance therapy is less invasive than surgery and can be used for treating children and adults who grind their teeth. The custom-made appliance fits comfortably in the mouth and is more secure and effective than over the counter bite and fit options.
The shifts the upper jaw into alignment with the lower jaw and holds them in place while the patient sleeps. The jaw is unable to grind together and allows the muscles and nerves to relax.