TMJ and Bruxism

Chronic teeth-grinding can cause worn, damaged teeth as well as other health problems that can have far-reaching effects. Teeth-grinding, also called bruxism, can stem from a variety of causes, including unmanaged stress, certain medications, use of caffeine or alcohol, and even malocclusion (incorrect bite).

Left untreated, bruxism can cause the jaw muscles and the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) to become inflamed. This often leads to headaches, earaches, ringing in the ears, and facial pain that can disrupt daily life. We can offer solutions for teeth-grinding and jaw pain in our Springfield, OR dental clinic.

TMJ Disorders

If you experience clicking or popping, or if you struggle to open your mouth all the way because of pain in the TMJ, you might be suffering from temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD). When you have TMD, this means your jaw joint is not functioning normally.

Symptoms of Bruxism

This common sleep disorder is an unconscious habit for many people, and they are often unaware of it until they seek help because of pain or their dentist sees the signs.

  • Teeth-grinding or teeth-clenching, particularly at night while you are asleep. You may not notice you are doing it, but your sleep partner might hear it.
  • Teeth that have become worn down, chipped, fractured, or loosened from the force of teeth-grinding. Sometimes the grinding can be so severe that the deeper layers of the teeth are exposed.
  • Unexplained jaw pain or facial soreness.
  • Pain that feels like an earache.
  • Waking up with a headache.
  • Damage to the insides of your cheeks from the constant force of clenching the teeth.
  • Tired jaw muscles.
  • A jaw joint that feels “locked” and uncomfortable to open or close.

Treatment for Teeth-Grinding and TMD

Dr. Dan Stambaugh will assess your oral health and try to identify the reasons for your jaw pain. Sometimes adjusting the bite or existing restorations is enough to improve the comfort of your jaw.

If he sees the telltale signs of teeth-grinding, he may recommend the use of a nightguard. This oral appliance provides many people with relief from the symptoms of bruxism because it prevents the upper and lower teeth from grinding against each other. This can help the jaw muscles relax and reduce inflammation in the jaw joint.

If chronic stress from inadequate sleep or daily demands is an issue, Dr. Stambaugh can also advise you on relaxation techniques that can help minimize the teeth-grinding.

Contact Stambaugh Family Dental

If you are experiencing jaw pain or sensitive teeth, you might be grinding your teeth. Don’t let this unconscious habit ruin your quality of life. Contact our Eugene, OR dental office, and we can help you find a solution for teeth-grinding so you can live pain-free. Call us today!