November is National TMJ Awareness Month!
Do you wake up with a sore jaw and sensitive teeth? These could be signs of bruxism, which if left untreated, can lead to a severe condition called Temporomandibular (TMJ) Syndrome.
To help you prevent TMJ, understand the symptoms and learn more about potential treatments, read more:
What is bruxism?
According to the American Sleep Association, bruxism affects 10% of American adults and as many as 15% of American children. Bruxism is an involuntary condition in which individuals clench and grind their teeth. While this is common during sleep, it can also occur during the day. Although there is no primary cause of bruxism, it is often correlated to stress and anxiety. Medications, caffeine, alcohol, age, family history and other disorders can also increase the risk of teeth grinding.
- Damage to teeth: Constant teeth grinding results in the loss of enamel, which can lead to teeth sensitivity or even decay. In some cases, individuals will develop stress fractures on their teeth! If left untreated, individuals’ teeth may prematurely fracture, leading to extensive reconstructive dentistry.
- Jaw damage: What starts as mild soreness can eventually lead to TMJ, which can be very painful and often leads to difficulty with chewing and locking of jaw joints. If left untreated, this can cause jaw misalignment and possibly lead to surgery.
- Head pain: The temporomandibular joints, found on each side of the head in front of the ears, are responsible for all jaw movements, such as eating and talking, and connect your lower jaw to the temporal bone of the skull. The grinding and clenching of the jaw can put pressure on the joints, causing pain in the forehead, temples, back of head and neck.
While some mild cases do not require any treatment, there are several different options to help prevent tooth damage, relieve discomfort and reduce the chance of it increasing in severity.
- Mouthguard: A professionally fabricated protective guard is the most common treatment for bruxism. It keeps teeth separated to avoid the damage caused by clenching and grinding and is great to wear to bed for sleep bruxism.
- BOTOX®:The treatment isn’t just for wrinkles. BOTOX is a muscle relaxant that can be used to decrease clenching and grinding helping to relieve the facial pain and headaches often associated with bruxism.
Are you looking for relief? From mouthguards and restorative procedures to BOTOX® therapy, Dr. Stante can help you select the right options to prevent, treat and relieve the effects of bruxism and TMJ. To find out what steps you can take to inspect damage and overall oral health, schedule an appointment today.