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TMJ, Tooth Grinding and Tooth Clenching

If you experience jaw muscle pain, jaw joint pain, headaches, sore teeth, or all of the above – then your dentist can help! After a thorough evaluation of your joints and muscles, your dentist will determine what type of therapy is appropriate. Typically, joint and muscle pain can be successfully treated and managed with an appliance that is worn at night (a “bite guard”). Your dentist will decide what type of appliance is appropriate for you based on your symptoms. These appliances are custom made after the dentist takes molds of your teeth. It is very important that the correct type of appliance is selected, and that this appliance is adjusted correctly. Using the wrong type of appliance can actually make you worse instead of better!

Symptoms of Tooth Grinding

Some people do not experience any symptoms at all (no muscle or joint pain), but they still grind their teeth. Tooth grinding (Bruxism) can be extremely damaging to the teeth. Grinding can cause chipped, broken, cracked, or split teeth. If the patient is not experiencing any painful symptoms, then they often do not realize they are grinding their teeth until the tooth wear is advanced enough that they start to see obvious signs such as “short teeth” when smiling, or chipping of the front teeth. Thankfully your dentist can identify early signs of grinding called “wear facets”. Wear Facets are flat shiny spots on your teeth that are caused by grinding. PREVENTION is the best strategy to avoid the damaging effects of grinding. For people that grind their teeth, wearing a bite guard nightly can PREVENT the need for expensive and invasive dentistry.

Sleep Apnea and Tooth Grinding

Did you know that there is a direct correlation between Sleep Apnea and Tooth Grinding? If you have ever been diagnosed with sleep apnea, or if you have trouble getting a good night sleep, then make sure to discuss this with your dentist. For more information on Sleep Apnea, click here.