Teeth Grinding, TMJ Disorders, & Our Dentists
October 23, 2016
Grinding out a victory on the football field can be a good thing. Grinding down your teeth … well, that’s not something anyone should do.
Teeth grinding is a problem for many people, including patients at Sunrise Dental. It’s also why our dentists will do whatever we can to alleviate the pain and the other problems that can be caused by clenching your teeth.
If you make an appointment, we can examine your teeth and let you know if we see the signs of grinding. More importantly, our dentists can help you fix it.
If you live in or near Cary, Chapel Hill, Durham, or Raleigh, you can make an appointment online or by calling the office closest to you.
Teeth Grinding Can Lead To Bigger Problems
When you think of someone grinding their teeth, what comes to mind?
We think of someone who is angry, frustrated, or stressed. We think of someone who feels he or she has to hold his tongue and clenches or grinds his or her teeth together to keep from saying something that could cause more problems.
Unfortunately, this approach to stress can have dire consequences on your mouth.
One of the issues is that grinding actually does grinding down your teeth. When you rub your top and bottom teeth together, you are wearing down enamel. This is the outer layer of your teeth and the hardest substance on the human body.
As you wear down your enamel, you could expose the softer dentin. You may notice that your teeth have become more sensitive, and you are increasing your risk for tooth decay.
That’s just the start of how teeth grinding can affect you.
Grinding and clenching your teeth can lead to a TMJ disorder as well. Here are some the symptoms to watch for:
▷ Pain in your jaw or face
▷ Frequent headaches or earaches
▷ Pain while eating or after you finish chewing
▷ Neck, shoulder, and upper back pain
▷ Limited mobility of your jaw
What Is A TMJ Disorder?
TMJ is an abbreviation for temporomandibular joint. You have two of these joints. One is located on either side of your face, and together they allow your jaw to open and close.
A TMJ disorder causes pain or dysfunction of one or both of these joints.
Teeth grinding and clenching may be a primary factor in some TMJ problems, or it could be one of a combination of factors. Injuries, arthritis, and illnesses can affect your TMJ as well.
Just as grinding may be one of the contributing factors to your TMJ, you may have multiple issues affecting your grinding.
One of those factors could be the alignment of your teeth.
Another factor may be the stress we mentioned earlier.
You may be thinking that you don’t grind your teeth, but this may be something you do subconsciously. It’s also something that you may be doing unconsciously, as in, while you are sleeping.
The National Sleep Foundation reported that 8 percent of American adults grind their teeth at night. If you often wake up with jaw pain, headaches, or other TMJ symptoms, this could be why.
If you visit Sunrise Dental, we will examine your mouth and jaw. If we determine that you are grinding your teeth together, we can begin your treatment.
Fixing TMJ Problems By Stopping Teeth Grinding
We want to start by mentioning that there are things you can do to alleviate the stress that is contributing to your teeth grinding.
Exercise is effective for some people. Breathing exercises or meditation could help you relax. Therapy may be beneficial as well.
From the dental side, we can create a special mouthguard that you wear while you sleep. The mouthguard is designed to change the position of your jaw. This can alleviate the pressure you have been putting on your TMJ and the surrounding tissues as a result of your teeth grinding.
Further, the mouthguard creates a barrier between your upper and lower teeth. This will prevent you from grinding them together.
As you become more comfortable wearing the mouthguard, you should notice that your TMJ symptoms become less common.
Less Pain, More Gains For You
We have dentist offices in Cary, Chapel Hill, Durham, and Raleigh. We don’t want any of our patients to be in pain, and if there is anything we can do to help, then we want to do just that.
To get help with your TMJ or your teeth grinding, call the nearest Sunrise Dental or fill out our online form to make an appointment. Relief could be closer than you know.