Bruxism and TMD Treatment
Jaw pain, teeth sensitivity, headaches, and migraines may all point to a common, but often ignored, condition – teeth grinding, also called bruxism. Many people do not realize that they grind their teeth since it commonly occurs at night during sleep and is an unconscious habit.
Dr. Robert Appel has extensive training in bruxism and TMD disorders and has a passion for treating TMD.
Dr. Appel evaluates each patient’s bite and jaw function to identify signs of bruxism or jaw problems (TMD) that often accompany a bruxing habit. Here are some of the tell-tale signs she will look for during your comprehensive exam:
- Bite marks along the inside of the cheeks
- Worn, chipped, or broken teeth
- Small or shortened teeth
- Bony growths beneath the tongue (tori)
- Gum recession and teeth sensitivity
Because the gums, teeth, muscles, tendons, and jaw joints work together as part of the larger chewing system, bruxism can manifest with widely varying symptoms from person to person and may worsen over time. When left untreated, a simple teeth-grinding habit can lead to damage to the jaw joints called temporomandibular joint dysfunction, often referred to as TMJ or TMD.
What Causes TMD?
TMJ refers to the jaw joints, while TMD refers to a variety of symptoms related to jaw disorders. People may develop TMD for a variety of reasons including:
- Uneven bite
- Teeth that do not come together properly
- Hormonal changes
- Car accidents
- Sporting accidents
- Developmental issues
Sometimes, the cause of TMD is not known. Dr. Appel will perform a full evaluation of your jaw joints, muscles, and bite to determine the best course of action for treatment.
Symptoms of TMD
If you experience any of the following signs of TMD, we welcome you to get in touch right away. Treatment for TMD symptoms can relieve chronic pain, protect your teeth and gums, and improve your quality of life.
- Headaches or migraines
- Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears
- Sensitive teeth
- Orafacial pain
- Clicking, popping, or locking of joints
- Head, neck, and shoulder pain
- Mood disorders associated with chronic pain
Treatment for Bruxism and TMD
Treatment for bruxism and TMD can prevent further teeth damage and jaw joint degeneration. Dr. Appel will customize treatment, which often begins with oral appliance therapy.
A TMD or bruxism splint is more than a simple nightguard. The surface of the splint is designed to gently guide your lower jaw into correct alignment. This relieves the tension in your muscles and tendons and reduces inflammation, allowing the jaw and surrounding muscles to relax.
A bruxism or TMD splint also provides a barrier between the upper and lower teeth, preventing fractures and damage during sleep.
In cases of advanced TMD, additional treatment options may be necessary, such as:
- Rebuilding worn teeth with restorative dentistry
- Correcting the bite with orthodontics
- Arthrocentisis (surgery to restore joint function)
Experiencing Jaw Pain or Headaches?
Don’t let jaw pain or teeth grinding impact your health and comfort. Dr. Appel can help. Contact Humble Dentistry to learn more.