Treatment for Bruxism and TMJ in Evansville IN
Do you wake up with jaw pain or headaches? You may suffer from bruxism, or ongoing clenching and grinding of your teeth.
When left untreated, bruxism can lead to long-term jaw problems also known as TMJ, or TMJD – temporomandibular joint dysfunction. The term TMJD is a broad description of jaw joint disorders that can lead to a host of painful symptoms.
Symptoms of TMJD and Bruxism
While symptoms of TMJD or bruxism can vary, they can include any of the following:
- Jaw pain
- Sensitive teeth
- Clicking, popping, or locking of jaw joints
- Teeth that do not come together correctly
- Facial pain
- Shoulder or neck pain
- Ringing in the ears
Many patients experience some symptoms at one time or another and often report that symptoms worsen with time. When left untreated, TMJD and bruxism can lead to degeneration of the jaw joints, tooth wear, broken teeth, and severe pain.
What Causes TMJD and Bruxism?
In some cases, you may grind your teeth because of a poor bite relationship between your upper and lower teeth, because of stress, or because of an accident or trauma. Even alcohol, certain medications, and drugs can worsen a teeth-grinding habit. Some people can pinpoint when their symptoms started, while others never find the cause of their jaw pain or teeth grinding.
Treatment for TMJ and Bruxism
We start by evaluating your joints to determine the best course of action to get you the greatest relief!
For many patients, we can start with occlusal splint therapy. Splints fit over your upper or lower teeth and create a barrier that prevents damage due to clenching and grinding. We can also adjust the splint to allow your jaw joints to seat in a comfortable position.
This ideal orthopedic position of your jaw joints promotes release in your muscles and allows symptoms to subside. For many patients, relief begins quickly, often in the first couple of weeks of splint therapy.
You may need periodic adjustments to your splint to promote jaw relaxation and because a teeth grinding habit can grind away at your splint.
Another possible treatment for TMJD and bruxism is a procedure called occlusal equilibration. This procedure makes tiny hairline adjustments to the surfaces of your teeth to allow your teeth to come together correctly. These adjustments will not put your oral health at risk, but can help improve your bite.
Finally, patients with severe malocclusion (a bad bite) may benefit from orthodontic treatment to enjoy a comfortable bite in the future. A splint can accompany both occlusal equilibration and patients who need additional protection beyond orthodontics.
If You Have Jaw Pain or Headaches, Call Us!
Our Evansville, IN team looks forward to helping you enjoy improved quality of life with relief from teeth grinding and jaw pain. Contact us today to schedule an exam with Dr. Chris Meunier and take the first step toward greater comfort!