Treatment for TMJ and Bruxism

Do you experience headaches frequently, especially in the morning? Do you feel pain or tenderness in your teeth or jaw, especially when eating or chewing? Do you suffer from issues with TMJ, or temporomandibular joint syndrome?

Did you know that you might be grinding your teeth at night?

What Is Bruxism?

Some people are aware that they grind or clench their teeth, a condition that is known as bruxism. Most people, however, are not since the grinding, or bruxing, typically occurs while they are sleeping.

While you may not realize that you are grinding your teeth at night, your partner may be able to hear you grinding throughout the night, and you may start to notice symptoms like the ones mentioned above.

The unnatural grinding of your teeth puts force on your teeth many times greater than normal chewing, causing a host of issues. Over time, these abusive pressures can cause cracked, chipped, loose, flattened, or worn down teeth and damage to the jaw joints. You may have a sore or tired jaw, earaches, difficulty opening and closing your mouth, sensitive teeth, or headaches.

In some cases, there are no symptoms at all; however, excessive wear or damage to your teeth can also be a telltale sign.

In severe cases, bruxism may cause teeth to fracture or become loose, which could even result in tooth loss.

What Causes Bruxism?

The causes of bruxism are unique to each patient, and sometimes it is a combination of issues such as:

  • Missing teeth
  • Stress or anxiety
  • Bite misalignment
  • Sleep apnea

Treating Bruxism

Wearing a night guard while you sleep at night is a common and effective way to treat bruxism for most patients. Your Omaha TMJ dentist Dr. Amber Allen will make a custom appliance that fits over your teeth and absorbs the forces caused by grinding.

These appliances are customized because it is important that the night guard fit comfortably so the patient can wear it every night during sleep. A customized night guard also prevents changes to the bite or alignment of your teeth.

Other options for treating bruxism may include:

  • Orthodontics or Invisalign to correct a misaligned bite.
  • Massage or other types of therapy to treat anxiety
  • Exercise to reduce stress
  • Treatment for sleep apnea

Sometimes wearing a night guard in combination with other treatments is recommended. Dr. Allen works to get to the root of what's causing your bruxism so she can make recommendations for the most effective treatment procedures. She also has advanced technology that helps her measure and pinpoint exactly where your biting forces are hitting, and this helps her to better diagnose patients with TMJ and bruxism issues.

Don't let clenching and grinding your teeth cause you pain or further damage to your teeth. Contact Dr. Allen today to learn more about bruxism and how you can effectively manage your condition.