TMJ & Bruxism Treatment—Attleboro, MA
Put a Stop to Headaches & Teeth Grinding
Mornings are difficult enough as is, but if you have to deal with a sore jaw and headache in addition to your alarm clock, it’s hard to imagine having any momentum at the start of the day. Waking up with these symptoms are telltale signs of two very common conditions—bruxism and TMJ—and at Capron Park Dental, we’re able to pinpoint what causes them and provide treatment. This can improve your daily life and protect the long-term health of your teeth at the same time, plus, it will ensure you have one less obstacle at the beginning of each day! Read on to learn more, and give us a call if you’d like to schedule an appointment.
Why Choose Capron Park Dental for TMJ & Bruxism Treatment?
- Custom-Made Protective Mouthguards
- Proven Method to Prevent Headaches/Migraines
- Evening & Saturday Dental Appointments Available
What is Bruxism?
Bruxism refers to unconscious teeth grinding and jaw clenching that primarily occurs while someone is asleep. Throughout the night, the teeth are exposed to extreme pressure, which can wear them down and cause them to chip over time. Bruxism is also a leading cause of dental restorations (fillings, crowns, dentures) failing and needing to be replaced. In addition to damaging the teeth, bruxism also causes the jaw muscles to overwork, which can lead to lasting soreness after a person wakes up.
What is TMJ?
In front of both of your ears, there are two small hinges. These make up your TMJ (temporomandibular joint), and they are what allow your lower jaw to move fluidly in all directions. It’s essential to being able to speak, eat, laugh, and yawn. “TMJ” can also refer to conditions that affect the joint. When the TMJ becomes injured, arthritic, or strained, this can lead to a litany of issues, including:
- Chronic jaw/facial pain
- Frequent headaches
- Teeth grinding/jaw clenching
- Short/worn-down teeth
- Chipped/ broken teeth
- Difficulty opening and closing the mouth
- Mouth becoming stuck
How Are Bruxism & TMJ Diagnosed?
Bruxism and TMJ share many potential causes, with the main two being daily stress and a misaligned bite. Stress can easily follow someone into their sleep and cause them to grind their teeth (bruxism), which in turn can affect the jaw joint (leading to TMJ).
Or, if the bite does not come together in a way that allows the jaw muscles and TMJ to be fully relaxed while the mouth is closed, this can also create pain and soreness. This forces the body to constantly try to move the teeth into the “right” position, which can cause clenching and grinding (primarily during sleep).
Determining whether a patient is dealing with one or both of these conditions involves first asking if they are experiencing any of the symptoms touched on above, and then we closely examine the teeth. Certain signs of wear and damage can reveal the nature of the grinding and clenching. We may also take X-rays of the joint to examine it more closely. Once we find the root cause, we can then discuss treatment.
How Can Bruxism & TMJ Be Treated?
In most cases, we will recommend that a patient wear a custom-made mouthguard to bed to protect their teeth and relieve their symptoms. These appliances, called nightguards, place a soft but sturdy barrier between the teeth to prevent them from touching and harming themselves. They can also slightly adjust the jaw into a more natural and relaxed position, alleviating a strained TMJ while allowing it to heal.
We may suggest that a patient follow a few daily practices to speed up their recovery process as well, including:
- Doing jaw stretches/relaxation exercises a few times a day
- Avoiding difficult to chew foods
- Applying ice or heat to the face when pain develops
- Practicing stress management techniques (meditation, exercise, journaling, etc.).