Neuromuscular Dentistry

Bruxism and TMJ

Bruxism is the subconscious clenching and grinding of teeth and mostly occurs during sleep and times of stress, with many sufferers unaware of their condition until it is diagnosed during their dental check-up or alerted to by a partner. Bruxism can result in severe damage to your teeth, which may require restorative procedures if not detected and treated in its early stage.

neuromuscular dentistry

There can be various influencing factors that cause bruxism and may be physiological or psychological. High stress levels, anxiety, nervous tension and suppressed anger or frustration can contribute to you clenching and grinding your teeth as can repetitive strenuous physical activity.

When you are asleep, your biting force (the force at which the upper and lower jaws clench together) can be up to six times greater than when you are awake, so, much more damage can be done to your teeth during this time including the dislodging of fillings and cracking or chipping of your tooth enamel.

Signs and symptoms of bruxism may include:

  • Teeth grinding or clenching loud enough to wake your sleep partner
  • Teeth that have worn down, become flattened, chipped or cracked
  • Worn tooth enamel exposing the underlying dentine of your tooth, this may appear as a yellow line on the lower teeth
  • Increased tooth sensitivity to hot and cold
  • Jaw pain or tightness in your jaw muscles
  • Earache not caused by an infection
  • A dull morning headache
  • Facial pain
  • Indication of biting on the inside of your cheek
  • Loose teeth which may eventually fall out
  • Abfractions – is the loss of tooth structure at the gum line caused by the tooth flexing from the forces produced by clenching and grinding

There are various treatment alternatives available depending upon your personal needs. If your bruxism is caused as a result of stress or anxiety, implementing relaxation techniques on how to rest your tongue, jaw and lips correctly may help relieve discomfort in your jaw joint and muscles whilst your mouth is closed.

A custom-made night guard can absorb the biting force while you are sleeping and prevent further damage to your tooth enamel, gums and soft tissue during sleep, it also moves your teeth and jaw to their correct position so your muscles can relax. On very rare occasions muscle relaxant medication may be prescribed.

Bruxism can be cyclical and recur during times of stress, knowing the signs can help limit any impact on your oral health caused as a result of bruxism.

If you have been suffering from bruxism for some time before it is diagnosed, you may require restorative treatment to worn teeth, fractured teeth, fillings and crowns or bridges. Following a thorough examination, we can advise if any restorative treatment is needed.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder
Temporomandibular Joint Disorder includes a variety of conditions that cause tenderness and pain in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Your TMJ is the ball-and-socket joint on each side of your head where your lower jawbone (mandible) joins the temporal bone of your skull. Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMD) is the result of your teeth, facial muscles and jaw joints being out of alignment, known as malocclusion.

These joints are part of a large group of muscles, ligaments, and bones that work together as a system. It is this system that makes it possible for you to open and close your mouth, allow movement to talk, chew, sing and swallow. Because of this complex system, a problem in one area can cause symptoms elsewhere. Many things can trigger TMJ disorder, such as trauma to the face, whiplash, bad posture or uneven bite (malocclusion) – the teeth not being able to properly support the jaw.

When this condition is prolonged, the body begins to compensate by involving muscles in other areas – the neck, throat, upper and lower back and arms.
symptoms of tmd

  • head, neck or facial pain
  • trouble chewing
  • chronic headache
  • muscle ache
  • grinding or clenching
  • limited jaw movement
  • ringing, congested ears
  • clicking or popping joints
  • pain behind the eyes
  • unrestful sleep

Please be sure to inform us if you suffer from any of these symptoms, as it is a treatable condition.

Call (08) 8212 6335 today to discuss treatment for Bruxism and TMJ at our Adelaide CBD dental clinic.