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You may have heard your Highland Park, MN TMJ Dentistry team use the term “bruxism” and wonder what they are referring to. Simply put, it is grinding or clenching of the teeth and jaw. Patients who have TMJ disorder usually develop methods for avoiding the pain associated with TMJ. They may avoid chewy or sticky foods that they know will aggravate the discomfort in their sensitive jaws.

But there are some habits that they can develop that they are not even aware of. These can really make their TMJ symptoms more pronounced and cause significant discomfort. Here are some basic facts about bruxism, and how it impacts TMJ disorder.

What is bruxism?

The first step is to understand exactly what bruxism is and why it plays such a big part in dental health. Bruxism is a chronic condition that can affect patients of all ages. Patients with bruxism grind and clench their teeth for a number of different reasons.

When someone is stressed they often carry excess tension in the jaw, face, and neck muscles. This often leads to dental grinding and clenching of the jaw. If your bite is uneven, you may grind your teeth in your sleep without being aware that you are doing so.

How does bruxism affect TMJD?

Patients with TMJD often find that their symptoms are made worse by bruxism. This is because bruxism, or bruxing, puts great stress on the temporomandibular joint and jaw muscles. You may find that you have a stiff, painful jaw, or that your jaw is making clicking sounds. Some patients even end up with limited jaw mobility. If you’ve already been diagnosed with TMJ problems or bruxism, speak to your doctor about how you can avoid painful complications.

If you suffer with TMJD or believe that you may be grinding or clenching your teeth, contact the Highland Park, MN TMJ Dentistry office to schedule a consultation. We will work closely with you to develop a treatment plan to alleviate symptoms and maintain a healthy and comfortable smile.  

TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder) is a known cause of face, jaw and head pain. But TMJ also can be the cause of neck aches as well as headaches and shoulder and arm pain. Our St. Paul, MN TMJ Dentistry practice uses state-of-the-art techniques to pinpoint the causes of TMJ, ensuring that we have all the information we need to develop the best TMJ treatment plan for you.

When the temporomandibular joint is subjected to excessive pressure, it can cause painful symptoms like headaches, tooth and neck pain. Damage caused by both decay and trauma can cause your teeth to have uneven surfaces creating an unbalanced bite, which can also cause stress to the TMJ. If your TMD symptoms are caused by an improper bite, the use of an FDA approved dental device may help alleviate the pain you are experiencing.

TMJ Causes
The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research have identified three classifications of causes for TMJ disorders:
  • Myofascial pain in muscles that control your jaws, or in the neck and shoulder muscles
  • Internal joint injury, for example dislocated jaw or physical injury to any part of the jaw
  • Degenerative joint disease in the jaw joint including osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis

Highland Park, MN TMJ Dentistry begins with a thorough examination of your teeth and jaw. We will then ask questions about your medical history and lifestyle, all of which will help us create a customized treatment plan to work towards alleviating your TMJ symptoms.

Depending on the severity and underlying cause of your TMJ symptoms, other treatment approaches may be suggested. For instance, orthodontic treatment may be necessary to correct a misaligned bite. If your TMD symptoms arise from grinding your teeth at night, a solution as simple as a mouth guard can be used while you sleep to keep teeth separated.

Tempro-Mandibular Joint Dysfunction Syndrome (TMJ) is a common condition affecting a wide variety of people. TMJ is characterized by severe headaches, jaw pain of varying degrees, grinding teeth, and an intermittent ringing in the ears. The vast majority of sufferers are unaware that the root cause of these problems is something that can be effectively treated at Highland Park St. Paul TMJ Dentistry.

Reasons for treating TMJ

The symptoms of TMJ are debilitating and can greatly interfere with everyday life. TMJ sufferers report that symptoms become more severe during periods of stress. Serious symptoms of the condition can lead to neck pain and dizziness.

Commonly TMJ is caused by the misalignment of the teeth, or “bad bite”. If you’re suffering from TMJ you may be unaware of the fact that it is a dentist is able to realign or adjust teeth without the need for painful or expensive surgeries. The process of realignment will put an end to headaches, jaw pain and dizziness.

Grinding teeth (or bruxism) is a common symptom of TMJ, most often occurring during sleep. Left untreated, bruxism can erode the tooth structure, leading to complicated dental problems down the road.

What does treating TMJ involve?

The dentist will examine your jaw and test your bite, take x-rays, and review your history in order to make diagnosis the exact problem and develop a treatment plan. A custom-molded bite guard can be created that will stop teeth grinding during the night.
Another option is to reshape the teeth to get rid of the bad bite completely. This process is also referred to as “realignment.” The purpose of this realignment is to alleviate TMJ symptoms and may also improve the cosmetic appearance of your teeth as well. As the name implies, realignment involves an adjustment of the bite, which may be at the heart of the TMJ symptoms.

A realignment may require new restorations and adjustment of the natural teeth. The procedure is not painful and has been proven to be successful in numerous cases at St. Paul TMJ Dental Office. Contact our office for a free consultation to discuss your symptoms and treatment options.

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