TMJ Disorder and Bruxism
Headaches and Tooth Damage
Are you waking up with pain in your ears, neck, or head and can find no discernible cause? Do your jaws constantly ache? Are your teeth worn down or broken? If so, your symptoms may be caused by TMJ disorder or bruxism, two conditions that often go hand in hand and can be treated with care and precision by your Erlanger family dentist Dr. Sand Wall.
TMJ disorder occurs when the jaw joints do not function properly. These joints, also known as temporomandibular joints or TMJs, are responsible for every movement your mouth makes. When the TMJs become imbalanced, injured, or strained, the surrounding muscles and nerves work overtime to compensate, which can cause chronic pain. TMJ disorder can have several causal factors, including teeth grinding (bruxism), bad oral habits such as nail biting, jaw injury, misaligned teeth and jaws, and bad posture. Symptoms of TMJ disorder include headaches, ear pain, difficulty biting and chewing, clicking or popping in the jaws, and an inability to open your mouth wide.
Bruxism can both cause TMJ dysfunction and become a side effect of it. Characterized by clenching or grinding the teeth, usually during sleep, bruxism is often caused by stress and anxiety. Having imbalanced TMJs, crooked teeth, or a misaligned bite can also cause you to grind your teeth. Many patients often do not know that they have bruxism until a loved one notices the teeth grinding and points it out to them. Left untreated, bruxism can damage and even loosen teeth, as well as lead to gum disease and jawbone damage.
Treatments for TMJ Disorder and Bruxism
TMJ dysfunction and bruxism can often be treated by your northern Kentucky dentist with the use of custom splints or nightguards. Consisting of acrylic mouthpieces that fit over the teeth, these custom-made appliances can help hold your jaw in the correct position and actually retrain it to stay that way. Oral appliances can also help lessen the forces of bruxism to prevent wear and breakage of your teeth. Dr. Sand Wall can also administer Botox to certain jaw muscles, which will relax them so that you temporarily stop grinding and clenching your teeth involuntarily. Botox lasts for about three months, so you may need to return for additional treatments if your bruxism continues. If your teeth are already worn down or broken from bruxism, Dr. Sand Wall can repair and build up your tooth structure using natural-looking white restorations that match your surrounding teeth perfectly. If your problems are caused by crooked teeth or a misaligned bite, she will refer you to an orthodontist to help treat the root cause of your condition.
For personalized general and cosmetic dental care in northern Kentucky, contact Dr. Darlene Sand Wall today to schedule an appointment. Located in Erlanger, we serve patients from all surrounding areas, including Cincinnati, Crestview Hills, Edgewood, Fort Mitchell, Florence, Union, Independence, and Taylor Mill.