We’ve heard it all before; life is a grind. Or maybe they tell you, keep your nose to the grindstone. But while grinding is vital in the world of flour and coffee, teeth grinding might be more than just a bad habit. It may be a serious and diagnosable disorder that your dentist in Arvada and West Westminster, CO can treat, which is a good thing. Teeth grinding can result in some serious problems, such as jaw soreness and damage, persistent headaches, but especially dental damage, loose teeth, and even tooth fracture.
What Is Bruxism?
When you wake up in the morning, do you have a headache? What about pain in your jaw or shoulders? If this happens to you, it may result from bruxism, which is defined as clenching your jaw and/or grinding your teeth while you sleep. Its cause might be more than stress and anxiety, but rather a sleep disorder or dental issues like misaligned teeth or an abnormal bite. Bruxism, if gone untreated, may damage your jaw joint, also called your temporomandibular joint, or TMJ for short.
The Symptoms and Solutions to TMJ Disorder
People open and close their jaws hundreds of times in a typical day. You do it when you eat, when you talk, and oftentimes without even thinking. None of this would be possible without the TMJ and associated muscles. Much like your bodies’ other joints, each TMJ consists of a ball and socket with a soft disc in between. The disc cushions the joint and allows your jaw to open widely and on different axis’ as needed.
But if you have TMJ Disorder, your jaw may be breaking down, causing the following symptoms:
- Jaw pain and stiffness
- Chronic headaches
- Pain when chewing, yawning, or talking
- Popping or clicking in your jaw
- Tinnitus, or persistent ringing in your ears.
Treating Bruxism and TMJ Disorder
At Five Parks Dental, Dr. Jesse Jenkins is a specialist in TMJ-related problems and treatments. She'll begin with an examination and take digital x-rays to evaluate your jaw and tooth alignment. Then, she'll offer a variety of treatment plans, including splint and physical therapy, anti-inflammatories, and other therapies to relax your jaw. In more severe cases, she may advocate for BOTOX® injections to relax the muscles and decrease the force that muscles can generate while grinding. To protect your teeth from bruxism, a nightguard is the ideal therapy to prevent further tooth damage. BOTOX and a nightguard are often used together for comprehensive comfort and protection.
Your TMJ Disorder Won’t Solve Itself
This progressive condition and its related, painful symptoms can do nothing but get worse. For our patients in the Arvada and Westminster, CO area, the best course of action is to contact our office and schedule an appointment today. Your jaw will thank you.