If you catch yourself clenching or grinding your teeth, it’s likely you have a condition called bruxism. This can be caused by crooked teeth, a misaligned bite, or just heavy stress or anxiety. But how can you stop this habit? At Stewart Dental Group, your dentist in Charlotte, NC, solutions are offered to stop this troubling problem.
Bruxism and TMJ Disorders
While many people lump them together, bruxism and TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders are two separate things. However, they do have many similar symptoms, so it can be hard to differentiate between the two. Bruxism and TMJ disorders share the following symptoms:
- Jaw and facial pain
- Worn, broken, or loose teeth
- Tooth sensitivity
- Headaches, often chronic ones
- Troubles with lockjaw or chewing
For TMJ disorders, you also may notice clicking and popping in your jaw. You may also have some problems moving your jaw or putting it in certain positions.
Bruxism is the act of clenching and grinding your teeth. This can be caused by TMJ disorders, or be a leading cause of your TMJ disorder. TMJ disorders go a bit further, meaning that the muscles and joints that connect your jaw to your skull aren’t working properly, causing pain.
Oral Appliance Treatment
Oral appliance treatment is a reliable option for both bruxism and TMJ disorders. They’re similar to mouthguards, preventing you from clenching or grinding your teeth together. These can be worn at night or during particular situations where you know you’ll find yourself undergoing a lot of stress.
These appliances are made by your Charlotte, North Carolina dentist taking a complete mold of your teeth. A dental appliance is then made based on that mold, ensuring you have a snug, comfortable fit. This means that all of your teeth are covered from any further wear. It also takes the pressure off of the jaw and helps your bite align the way it’s supposed to be.
Other Treatment Options
Not all patients may be able to deal with wearing an oral appliance, even when they’re super thin. For this, and for mild cases of TMJ disorders especially, there are exercises and other things you can do during your daily life. These at-home options may be able to help you:
- Making sure you’re relaxing your jaw and facial muscles
- Doing exercises for your jaw
- Sleeping on your side
- Wrapping an ice pack in a clean cloth to rest on your jaw
- Eating soft foods to give your jaw a rest
Even with the oral appliance, these treatment techniques can be used. This can help you get as much relief as possible from your teeth grinding issues. While there is no clear cure, alleviating the symptoms can make you feel like you never had issues in the first place.
Your Dentist in Charlotte, North Carolina
At Stewart Dental Group, we’re determined to help you be free of pain from teeth grinding and clenching. To get started, call us today or schedule an appointment online!