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Approximately five percent of the world's populations are teeth grinders. Bruxism takes place when our mind is preoccupied and happens involuntarily, usually while we are sleeping. There are no known reasons why one may experience bruxism, but it is said it is often triggered by stress and anxiety and can take place when we are awake or asleep. At Lanier Valley Dentistry, we can help treat your bruxism with night guards or mouthguards.
Two Types of Bruxism
Bruxism is divided into two categories - awake bruxism and nocturnal bruxism. Diurnal, or awake bruxism, occurs when the patient is awake and involuntarily grinds their teeth. Nocturnal, or sleep bruxism, happens while the patient is asleep. Both types have the same effect on your oral health.
What Is the TMJ?
The TMJ, or temporomandibular joint, is the hinge that connects your jaw to your skull. It's responsible for opening and closing your mouth as well as moving it from side to side. If you experience pain in this area, it's likely due to TMJ dysfunction (TMD).
The pain associated with TMJ dysfunction can vary from person to person. It occurs when the muscles or joints of the TMJ are not working correctly. However, some of the most common symptoms include pain in the jaw, temples, or ears; popping or clicking noises when you move your jaw; headaches; and pressure or fullness in the ear. If you're experiencing any of these symptoms, it's important to seek treatment immediately!
How Are TMJ and Bruxism Related?
When you experience TMD, the muscles and joints of your jaw can become tired and irritated - which can lead to ear pain. The same is true for TMJ dysfunction that causes headaches. In addition, if the pressure in your head builds up from bruxism (teeth grinding), it may cause an ache in your ears as well as behind the eyes or even down into your neck and shoulders.
Treatment Options for Bruxism and TMJ Problems
Many times treatment is not required for bruxism in children as they outgrow their habits. However, if bruxism remains into adulthood, there are a few dental approaches that can aid in preventing any severe damages. TMJ and bruxism may require a combination of treatments to get relief. To find out what's causing your pain, schedule an appointment with us. We will perform a thorough exam followed by necessary x-rays or imaging tests. In most cases, you'll leave the office with a treatment plan designed specifically for your needs. The most common treatment for treating bruxism and TMJ is a personalized mouthguard that is made for you to wear at night. This will protect your mouth and jaw from further grinding, and the pain and damage that is caused by clenching your teeth.
If you are experiencing any pain in your jaw, temples, or ears, it is vital to see a dentist right away. At Lanier Valley Dentistry, our dentists are fully capable of diagnosing and treating bruxism and TMJ dysfunction, which can effectively eliminate your mouth, jaw, ear pain, and waking with headaches. Call us at (678) 802-8654, and we will be glad to assist.