SLEEP DISORDER: BRUXISM & TMJ DISORDER

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:

  • The disk moves out of proper alignment, typically caused by teeth grinding
  • Arthritis can damage the joint’s cartilage
  • The joint can be damaged by impact or jaw injury

Symptoms of TMJ disorder include:

  • Morning headache
  • Pain or tenderness in your jaw
  • Pain in temporomandibular joints
  • Difficulty when chewing
  • Facial fain or aching in or around the ear
  • Locking of the jaw joint
  • Small range of motion in your jaw

TREATMENT

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.

Night Guard

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.

Botox for TMJ

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.