TMD/Bruxism Night guards
Bruxism is a condition in which you grind or clench your teeth. If you have bruxism, you may unconsciously clench your teeth when you're awake, but it becomes a larger problem at night while you are asleep. Grinding your teeth can wake up your spouse, damage enamel, wear down your teeth, cause jaw pain, or irritate your gums.
Signs and Symptoms of Bruxism
- Teeth grinding or clenching, which may be loud enough to wake up your sleep partner
- Teeth that are flattened, fractured, chipped or loose
- Worn tooth enamel, exposing deeper layers of your tooth
- Increased tooth pain or sensitivity
- Damage from chewing on the inside of your cheek
- Jaw, neck or face pain or soreness
If you grind your teeth during your sleep, you should consider a night guard. A night guard is very similar to a mouth or sports guard, which is worn by athletes, except it provides a barrier between your top and bottom teeth while you sleep. All night guards are custom fitted to allow proper breathing and to ensure comfort for the wearer and can last for up to 10 years.
There are some things you can try to stop grinding your teeth. You can train your jaw to be free and easy rather than clenched. Refrain from chewing gum or on other objects like pens. You could also avoid alcoholic or caffeinated drinks, as these can increase the likelihood you will grind your teeth.
It's important to talk to your dentist if you feel you are experiencing any of these bruxism symptoms. Regular dental checkups can also reveal problems with your teeth if you regularly grind or clench them. Your dentist can recommend a mouthguard so you don't damage your teeth.
TMD stands for Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, and typically this disorder presents in pain in the areas of the joints holding the upper and lower jaw together, which may result in difficulty for the patient in moving the jaw.
Signs or symptoms of TMD include pain and tenderness in or around the ear, the jaw or the muscles face or temples. Other symptoms are problems opening or closing your mouth, and a clicking, popping, crunching or grinding noise when you chew, yawn or open your mouth. TMD may be linked with neck pain and headaches. In most cases, TMD are caused by a combination of factors like jaw injuries and joint disease, such as arthritis. It is believed that bruxism and head or neck muscle tension may make TMD symptoms worse. Stress is also a possible factor.
How can your dentist help with TMD
To properly diagnose TMD, your dentist will conduct a thorough medical and dental evaluation and may take certain X-rays (panoramic) to evaluate the jaw joint and surrounding structures and check your occlusion. He may check the muscles and tissues of the head and neck to test for inflammation. Certain exercises and movements may be involved, and you may get a referral to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon for further evaluation and diagnosis.
Grand River Dental in Kitchener provides professional, custom dental nightguards to treat both bruxism and TMD disorders. If you suspect you suffer from a bruxism or TMD disorder, contact us to schedule a consultation appointment.
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