Bruxism & TMJ Problems
San Jose, CA
Here at South Valley Oral and Facial Surgery, we offer an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment option for bruxism and temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ). If you experience frequent grinding or clenching of the teeth, then you may be having a condition called bruxism, which may lead to TMJ disorder. Bruxism and TMJ problems can adversely affect your general health and quality of life. Come see our team of experts so we can help provide you with a solution to these dental problems before they exacerbate.
What is Bruxism?
Bruxism is the scientific term that refers to the unconscious grinding of teeth or clenching of the jaw. While most people experience bruxism when sleeping, some experience the condition while awake. The risk factors for bruxism vary and include stress, genetics, and medical or mental health disorders like night terrors, dementia, epilepsy, and Parkinson’s disease. Detecting bruxism can be elusive until you start experiencing symptoms like headaches, jaw or facial pain, and damage to your teeth.
What is TMJ?
TMJ disorder refers to a painful condition characterized by the misalignment of the jaw joint. TMJ disorder can be as a result of various factors such as physical and emotional stress, ear infections, and bruxism.
Even though clenching the jaw and grinding of the teeth do not necessarily lead to TMJ, some cases of bruxism aggravate an existing TMJ condition or cause the development of TMJ. Severe bruxism can cause a gradual pushing of teeth out of their normal position leading to the formation of a misaligned bite. Jaw misalignment can be caused by the muscles trying to force the teeth together, which can lead to the development of TMJ disorder.
Treatment of TMJ and Bruxism Problems
Our team of experts provides various options to manage TMJ and bruxism problems. The treatment process begins with an accurate diagnosis of your problem, which informs the right treatment option. The diagnosis will be based on the assessment of both your dental and medical history, together with a clinical examination. Our team examines tooth wear, movement of teeth, and your bite through methods such as ordering plaster molds of your teeth and X-rays. We recommend conservative treatment methods for bruxism and TMJ disorder as caution is necessary to prevent a permanent negative on your teeth.
Our team often recommends occlusal splint therapy for treating bruxism. The method involves the use of mouthguards to relieve pressure from the teeth and jaw joints. Other treatment options include physiotherapy, application of heat packs, cosmetic injections, and stress management. We use surgery as a last resort. It is important to let your teeth and jaw rest to prevent the side effects of prolonged cases of teeth grinding. Our team recommends eating soft foods such as a protein shake and bananas in order to minimize chewing and to allow your jaw to have adequate rest.
The most critical step to solving your bruxism problem and preventing it from developing into TMJ disorder is to schedule an appointment for a complete dental examination. For more information about bruxism and TMJ disorder, call the experienced professionals here at South Valley Oral and Facial Surgery at San Jose - (408) 479-9449, Gilroy - (408) 479-8788 or Los Banos - (209) 826-4312 today!