Grinding and clenching your teeth, known as bruxism, can lead to cracked teeth, pain, and even tooth loss. Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ/TMD) can develop from bruxism and are extremely uncomfortable disorders of the jaw. Night guards and splints help to treat both these conditions.
Bruxism and temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ/TMD) are two painful conditions that can affect your quality of life. If you are suffering from either of these conditions, give us a call. Dr. Krueger can create a treatment plan for you to help your condition and make your life more comfortable.
Bruxism is the medical name for teeth grinding or clenching. Some people who suffer from bruxism are not even aware of the exact problem. You might have dental problems, an aching jaw, or even a cracked tooth and not realize that the problem is that you have been grinding your teeth.
While some teeth grinding and clenching is caused by stress or anxiety, most teeth grinding occurs at night. If left untreated, the results can be quite problematic including:
- Jaw pain
- Loose teeth
- Fractured teeth
- Worn teeth
- Hearing loss
Treating bruxism is usually approached from a few different angles. If your bruxism is stress related, it might be helpful for you to visit a counselor and work on stress-reduction strategies to help you relax. Sometimes, muscle relaxants can help the situation.
Many people with bruxism use a night guard while they are sleeping. This is a custom-fitted appliance that will help protect your teeth from the grinding. At Dr. Krueger’s office, we can help set you up with a mouth guard and teach you additional tactics that can help you cope with your bruxism such as:
- Cutting back on caffeine
- Avoiding alcohol
- Avoiding chewing on things that are not food
- Jaw relaxation techniques
Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (TMJ)
Temporomandibular joint disorders occur when the temporomandibular joint of the jaw, the place where your lower jaw is hinged to your skull, becomes injured or inflamed. This condition may be referred to as either TMJ or TMD.
TMJ/TMD can have multiple causes. Some of the most common are:
- Dislocation of the cushioning disc within the joint
- Injury to the jaw including blunt trauma and whiplash
This condition is quite painful. If you are suffering from any of the following symptoms, you should be evaluated for TMJ/TMD:
- Pain in your face, jaw, neck, or shoulders, especially when chewing, speaking, or yawning
- Clicking and popping in the jaw joint
- “Locking” of the jaw
- Fatigue in the jaw
- Difficulty chewing
Treatment for TMJ/TMD can range from measures such as heat and ice packs to steroid injections and muscle relaxers. Some people with TMJ/TMD benefit from the use of antidepressant or antianxiety medications.
Like bruxism, night guards are helpful for people with TMJ/TMD. The guard keeps your teeth slightly separated and prevents them from clenching, which can exacerbate the condition. If your condition is more severe, you may require a splint to hold your jaw in place so that the joint can heal. As the name implies, night guards are worn while you are sleeping. Splints are worn all day.
Call our office today to set up a treatment plan for your bruxism or TMJ/TMD. You shouldn’t have to suffer when help is available.