Teeth grinding can become a serious problem if left untreated for a long period of time. Habitual grinding of the teeth, also known as bruxism, can damage your teeth – it can also negatively impact the movement of your jaw. The structural area most at risk is your TMJ.
TMJ stands for Temporomandibular Joint; the combined two joints near the front of the ears, where your lower and upper jaws come together. Persistent grinding and jaw clenching can severely damage this area by slipping the disc and cushioning cartilage, out of its normal position.
This can create tremendous pain in the mouth and may even cause your jaw to lock or make a clicking noise when closing. It can also be diagnosed with several other related symptoms:
- Neck or back pain
- Tinnitus (ear ringing)
- Constant dizziness
- Severe headaches
- General facial pain
Teeth grinding itself can be caused by stress, bad habits or a number of sleep disorders. If you grind your teeth regularly and notice any of the above symptoms, contact your dentist immediately. If left untreated, the TMJ can become increasingly painful, even requiring surgery at an advanced stage.
Our Teeth Grinding and TMJ Treatment and Procedures
Dr Anna can diagnose the source of the problem and assess the damage caused to the TMJ in your next appointment. If the area has become too impacted then surgery to repair your joint may be advised, otherwise a course of treatment will be recommended to stop the grinding itself.
We will also take into consideration your dental health and lifestyle, and work with you to create an individual plan to prevent further issues. Once the grinding is reduced, the pressure on your TMJ will ease and the uncomfortable feelings will begin melting away.
A regular treatment for teeth grinding is a dental splint or mouthguard made exclusively for your mouth that is worn at night. This protects your teeth when they need them most, and will alleviate much of the pain usually felt first thing in the morning.
Why Treat Teeth Grinding and TMJ?
- If your jaw becomes damaged, the pain will increase more and more until you are unable to chew, drink or swallow properly. The later you leave treatment, the worse this condition may get and surgery might be required to repair it.
- Teeth grinding can slowly wear your teeth down, creating chipping and breakage that can affect dental health and the overall look of your smile. Early intervention ensures your teeth are well protected and won’t need repairing in the future.
- Treatment can help to lower stress and prevent or lower headaches, regular jaw pain, and tightness in your neck.
If you have any questions related to teeth grinding, reach out to our dentists in Camberwell.