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Bruxism is a characterized by the grinding or clenching of your teeth. The clenching or grinding is involuntary and typically occurs at night.
Prolonged, untreated bruxism can cause joint pain and leads to wear on the teeth resulting in damage and loss of tooth structure. Extreme loss of tooth structure causes the bite to collapse, and the temporomandibular joint is left to endue the damage which leads to TMJ disorder.
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint that connects your jaw to your skull. Normally, this joint offers smooth movements in the daily functions of opening and closing your mouth.
Painful TMJ disorders can occur if:
Symptoms of TMJ disorder include:
Treatment for bruxism or TMJ disorders facilitate in alleviating the cause and symptoms, but are not an actual cure. Successful treatment relies on patient compliance and communication with our office.
If you show signs of tooth damage caused by bruxism, the doctors at Capital Dental Group can fabricate a custom-fit night guard that protects your teeth through the night and helps your jaw relax. This night guard is made of comfortable plastic that covers your teeth, similar to a clear retainer. The night guard prevents your upper and lower teeth from touching so that nocturnal grinding or clenching is not possible and allows your jaw to relax through the night.
Other TMJ treatments include massaging the face/ jaw area, exercising your jaw, applying ice or heat, and eating soft foods. In extreme cases you may be referred to a specialist that may recommend physical therapy or corrective surgery.
Botulinum Toxin (Botox) is commonly known for its effects to smooth wrinkles. What botox essentially does is relax the muscle that it in injected into. Injecting botox into the masseter muscle (the mail teeth-grinding muscle) relieves jaw tension and pain.