Bruxism/TMD Treatments (Teeth Grinding) − Fairfax VA
Bruxism is one of the most common known sleep disorders. Chewing is a neuromuscular activity controlled by a subconscious process, but more highly controlled by the brain.
What is Bruxism?
- Bruxism is an oral parafunctional activity which commonly occurs with most people at some point in their lives.
- The two main characteristics of this condition are grinding the teeth and clenching of the jaw.
- These actions usually occur during a person’s sleeping hours, but occasionally they occur during the day.
Teeth Grinding Symptoms
During sleep, the subconscious process may become active while the higher control is inactive (asleep), resulting in bruxism. The most common symptoms are earaches and headaches, depression, eating disorders, anxiety, and chronic stress.
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Why should I seek treatment for Teeth Grinding?
- Gum Recession – Bruxism is a leading cause of gum recession and tooth loss. Grinding teeth can damage the soft tissue directly and lead to loose teeth and deep pockets where bacteria are able to colonize and decay the supporting bone.
- Facial Pain – Grinding can eventually shorten and blunt the teeth. This can lead to muscle pain in the myofascial region and, in severe cases, incapacitating headaches.
- Occlusal Trauma – The abnormal wear patterns on the occlusal (chewing) surfaces of the teeth can lead to fractures, which if left untreated, may require restorative treatment at a later time.
- Arthritis – In the most severe cases, bruxism can eventually lead to painful arthritis in the temporomandibular (TMJ) joints that allow the jaw to open and close smoothly.
Teeth Grinding Treatment Options
Though there is no one cure for bruxism, there are a variety of devices and services available from our office to help treat bruxism.
- Bruxism Mouth Guards – An acrylic mouthguard can be designed from teeth impressions to minimize the abrasive grinding action during normal sleep. Mouthguards are expected to be worn on a long-term basis to help prevent tooth damage.
- NTI-tss Device – This device only covers the front teeth and must be fitted at our office. The idea behind the NTI-tss is to prevent grinding the rear molars by limiting the contraction of the temporalis muscle in the jaw.
Once bruxing is under control, we can perform a variety of dental procedures to restore the pleasant aesthetic appearance to your smile.
What is TMD?
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a hinge that connects your jaw to the temporal bones of your skull, which are in front of each ear. It lets you move your jaw up and down and side to side, so you can talk, chew, and yawn. Problems with your jaw and the muscles in your face that control it are known as temporomandibular disorders (TMD).
The causes of TMD are unknown, but could arise from trauma to your jaw or joint (heavy blow or whiplash), grinding or clenching your teeth (bruxism), arthritis of the joint, or stress. Symptoms could include radiating pain in the face, jaw or neck; jaw muscle stiffness; limited movement or locking of the jaw; painful clicking, popping, or grating in the jaw joint during movement; or a change in your bite.
TMD Treatment Options
Most patients exhibit a relatively mild form of the disorder. Their symptoms improve or disappear within a few weeks or months. For others, the condition causes long-term, persistent and debilitating pain. This is more common in women than in men. Experts recommend using the most conservative and reversible treatments when possible, even for patients with persistent TMD. Treatment options could include: Self-care, Pain Medication or A Stabilization Splint.