Tag Archives: TMJ Disorder

Grind Your Teeth? Learn Why This Habit Can Result in TMJ Disorder

If you habitually grind your teeth, you may have bruxism, which is a condition where a person is unable to stop grinding or clenching their teeth. Occasional teeth grinding isn’t harmful, but if it persists, it can lead to temporomandibular joint syndrome, also known as TMJ disorder.
Learn more about the risks associated with teeth grinding.

Teeth Grinding Is More Harmful Than You Think

Usually, people who grind their teeth do it out of force of habit, and they may not be aware of it. It can wear down your enamel, which is the white, outermost layer of your teeth. Worst of all, it can result in TMJ disorder, which is a sharp pain in the jaw joint. In severe cases, it can result in hearing and vision loss.

Continue reading to learn how you can stop grinding your teeth to prevent TMJ disorder.

How Do I Know If I’m Grinding My Teeth?

Most people with bruxism usually grind their teeth when they’re asleep. If you have this condition, your significant other or a friend may be the first to notice. If you have any of the following symptoms, you should visit your dentist:

  • Headaches
  • Earaches
  • Sore facial muscles
  • Fractured teeth
  • Sensitive teeth

Causes of teeth grinding include:

  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Dehydration
  • Sleep apnea
  • Crooked teeth
  • Misaligned bite

Manage Your Bruxism to Prevent TMJ Disorder

If you suffer from bruxism, it’s important to treat it to prevent TMJ disorder from developing. Your dentist may prescribe one of the following treatment options:

  • Sleeping with a night guard: If you grind your teeth when you’re asleep, your dentist can create a customized mouth guard for you to wear at night. This will protect your teeth and prevent further grinding.
  • Reduce stress: If your bruxism is stress-related, handling your emotions may improve your condition. Try incorporating mindfulness techniques into your daily routine, such as deep breathing and meditation.
  • Practicing jaw relaxation: Your dentist can teach you ways to relax your jaw consciously throughout the day.

I’ve Been Diagnosed with TMJ Disorder. What Should I Do?

Even if you try your best to stop grinding your teeth, you may still end up with TMJ disorder due to a combination of genetics and late-stage bruxism. If your dentist diagnoses you with it, you will have to undergo surgery. Do the following to achieve temporary relief:

  • Take pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medication.
  • Your doctor may prescribe you a low dose of tricyclic antidepressants, which can help with pain relief.
  • Take muscle relaxants to control muscle spasms.

Your dentist will recommend the following surgical procedures:

  • Arthrocentesis: A minimally invasive procedure that involves the insertion of small needles into your jaw joint.
  • Modified condylotomy: This procedure is performed on the mandible and addresses TMJ disorder indirectly.
  • Open-joint surgery: This surgery requires replacement of the jaw joint and is reserved for severe cases.

Contact Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah

If your bruxism has resulted in TMJ disorder, jaw surgery can help you reclaim your life. At Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah, our team of board-certified oral surgeons can show you how your bite will improve after jaw surgery, and we can show you a preview of how your appearance may change. Schedule your consultation today.

Grind Your Teeth Learn Why This Habit Can Result in TMJ Disorder

Signs of TMJ Disorder

The temporomandibular joint is also known as TMJ. This joint is like a hinge that connects the jawbone to the skull—it is responsible for controlling jaw movement. A TMJ disorder (also referred to as TMD) can create pain and tension in the jaw. This tension can spread throughout the head and cause severe pain.

Most of the time, TMJ pain is temporary and can be relieved with medication and therapy. If you are experiencing trouble moving your jaw, you may want to seek medical help from professionals.

1. Joint Locking or Popping

One of the first signs of TMJ is the joint in your jaw locking or popping. Locking and popping can also lead to a sore jaw. You may also experience limited jaw movement or stiff jaw muscles.

2. Having Trouble Chewing

Because TMJ pain so connected to the jaw and chewing, it can become difficult to open and close your mouth. TMJ patients often have trouble chewing food. Your jaw may be getting tired easily or seem a little off when you chew. You may also be experiencing sensitive teeth without any other dental problems that could be causing the sensitivity.

3. Jaw Pain

TMJ can lead to severe jaw pain. You may be experiencing a sore jaw, inflamed tissue, or more sudden and severe pain. Taking over the counter anti-inflammatories can help to soothe the pain. Icing the source of the pain can also be beneficial. TMJ can also make your jaw align differently, you may notice your teeth moving and changing your bite.

4. Sinus Symptoms

TMJ can lead to a stuffy or congested nose. You may feel pressure in your forehead, along your brow, and in your nose. This could lead to a migraine that feels similar to a sinus headache. Symptoms may also worsen when you lay down and lean forward.

5. Tension Headaches

The tension and pain that comes along with TMJ disorder can lead to some tough tension headaches. With a locked jaw or just tension in the jaw, that discomfort can easily lead to headaches and even earaches.

6. Causes of TMJ

It’s not always possible to determine the exact cause of TMJ, but there are some common causes. An injury or trauma that has impacted the jaw, teeth or jaw alignment can lead to TMJ. Other causes include teeth grinding, jaw clenching, arthritis, disc erosion, and dislocation of a disk.

7. How is TMJ Diagnosed?

If you think you may be exhibiting signs of TMJ disorder, come see us at Oral and Facial Surgery of Utah. Our team of professional doctors can determine if you are experiencing TMJ pain. After diagnoses, there are plenty of courses of action for treatment. Get relief from the tension and pain you may be experiencing with some simple treatment and medication. There are multiple medication and therapies that can help. Along with that, there are also some surgical procedure options that can treat TMJ.

    7 Signs of TMJ Disorder