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                                                                                              Prevention and relief
Grinding or Clenching Teeth

TMJ is an acronym for Temporomandibular joint (jaw joint), a joint that slides and rotates just in front of your ear. Mastication (chewing) muscles connect the lower jaw to the skull, allowing you to move your jaw and chew, swallow, speck and communicate.

TMJ problems (Temporomandibular Disorder, TMD) can affect children and adults, and affects more women than men. The condition is often cyclical.

Certain tasks, either mental (stress) or physical (strain), can cause or aggravate TMD. Other reasons can be lost or crooked teeth, overbite, malocclusion (teeth fit together poorly), head or neck injuries including whiplash. Most discomfort is caused from overuse of the muscles, specifically clenching or grinding the teeth (Bruxism) that generally occurs during sleep.

Children often grind their teeth when teeth are erupting. This is not uncommon, nor is it a problem if it is mild. However, more severe cases can lead to a malocclusion that often requires Orthodontics to avoid developing TMJ problems.

TMD symptoms

  • Clenching or grinding teeth

  • Aggravation of your periodontal disease.

  • Sensitive teeth when no dental problems can be found

  • Worn spots (attrition), malocclusion, brittle teeth that require crowns

  • Noise (clicking, popping, crunching) when opening or closing the mouth

  • Reduced opening or locking of the jaw

  • Pain or tenderness in the jaw or face muscles

  • Frequent temporal (side) headaches

  • Earaches or ringing in the ears (tinnitus)

  • Pain or soreness around the jaw joints, especially when eating

  • Noise that sometimes disrupts your partner's sleep

Treatment of TMD

  • Replace missing teeth or correcting a bad bite (the way your teeth come together).

  • Physical therapy, posture training

  • Practicing stress management and relaxation techniques.

  • Eating soft foods and avoiding chewing gum may help relax the muscles.

  • Taking pain relievers and using ice and hot packs

  • Breaking bad habits (thumbsucking, tongue thrusting, habitual biting on objects or fingernails, mouth breathing)

  • Control clenching or grinding during the day

  • At night, use a nightguard, a custom-fitted maxillary small mouthpiece, which helps reposition the mouth to ease strain on the jaw and teeth, alleviate symptoms and prevent further damage. Treating with a nightguard at the initial stage is very cost effective compared to not treating the problem and risking damaged teeth followed by with crowns, bridges or dentures.

In order to determine the best course of treatment, an accurate diagnosis is important.
Consult with Dr. Hoffmeyer to determine if you are suffering from TMJ Syndrome and weather it is affecting your periodontal condition.


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