Do you wake up with morning headaches? During the day, do you find yourself clenching your jaw? You may be experiencing bruxism, or teeth clenching and grinding, when asleep. Bruxism is a common symptom of temporomandibular joint disorders or TMJ disorders. These bite disorders cause discomfort and pain in the jaw, face, and teeth. Many people may not realize they grind their teeth as it is often an unconscious behavior that occurs during sleep or stressful situations. Dr. Leonard Hess helps treat patients with teeth grinding and TMJ disorders in his Monroe, NC dental office.
What Causes Bruxism?
Bruxism often indicates a problem with the bite or tooth alignment. Crooked teeth and stress are contributing factors to developing bruxism. Patients who grind or clench their teeth often have uneven bites, such as an underbite or overbite. Tension or pressure in the facial muscles and temporomandibular joints which connect the jawbone to the skull create painful symptoms. Patients who clench and grind their teeth may also have frequent headaches, jaw, and facial pain, and discomfort when biting or chewing food.
How to Treat Teeth Grinding
Physical therapy is a great initial treatment option for bruxism. Exercising the jaw and facial muscles as well as the neck and shoulders can help alleviate pain caused by bruxism and TMJ disorders. Poor posture and muscle tension can exacerbate TMJ symptoms including bruxism.
Stress reduction may also be used in combination with occlusal appliances to treat bruxism. Nightguards are custom-fit oral appliances that cover the top or bottom arch of teeth. A nightguard can place the jaw in a more comfortable position and protect the natural teeth from chips, cracks, and wear. Wearing a custom-made nightguard keeps the teeth from grinding together and can prevent headaches and jaw tension.
Request a Dental Appointment Today
Does it hurt your jaw when you eat hard foods? Do you often notice yourself clenching your jaw? Receive treatment for bruxism and other symptoms of TMJ disorders today. If you are a new patient, please call 704.240.5045. Current patients 704.289.3161. You may also schedule a dental consultation with Dr. Hess on our website.