Our team is committed to preventive dentistry, so we are always on the alert for symptoms that could lead to chronic difficulties like temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). This is a common problem that involves the joints used in chewing, swallowing, and talking. TMD can lead to localized symptoms or seemingly unrelated headaches and earaches. One of the first culprits we look for during regular examinations is bruxism.
Bruxism is the name for forceful grinding and/or clenching of your teeth. Grinding is usually noisy; clenching is silent. Either can create so much stress on the jaw joints that patients experience serious and even debilitating muscle spasms and pain, common symptoms of TMD.
Many individuals are unaware that they “brux,” so we look for telltale signs that include:
• worn-down teeth;
• sensitive teeth;
• chipped or broken teeth;
• cracked or loose restorations;
• scarring of the tongue and cheeks.
Although earlier attempts to cure bruxism have ranged from sound alarms, electrical stimulation, psychotherapy, hypnosis, and drugs, we can now recommend simple, effective dental solutions. Some act like a crutch to rest the jaw joints while others encourage a natural reflex that stops your jaw automatically to protect your teeth and jaw joints. With all the options available today, there is no reason to suffer with TMJ / TMD pain.