Sleep Bruxism Treatment
Bruxism is a condition in which you clench or grind your teeth. Teeth grinding is not only loud and grating, but it can cause significant damage to the teeth. As the surfaces wear down, tooth structure is exposed to decay and infection. The disorder is also a comorbidity of sleep apnea, which in turn is associated with several underlying health conditions.
Ultimately, ignoring teeth grinding will lead to a decline in oral health. The teeth naturally wear down over time, but bruxism speeds up the process. Sufferers may wake up with a sore jaw without knowing the cause. Unless you are alerted to the issue by a partner or family member, bruxism is usually diagnosed as part of a sleep study or comprehensive dental exam.
Sleep bruxism and temporomandibular joint disorders are closely related, and they often co-occur. Chronic clenching or grinding of teeth, particularly during sleep, can exert excessive pressure on the temporomandibular joint and surrounding muscles, resulting in the condition referred to as TMJ Syndrome. Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ) can manifest with a range of symptoms, which can vary in severity from person to person. Common symptoms of TMJ include:
- Jaw Pain: This is often the most prominent symptom. It may be felt in one or both jaw joints and can range from mild discomfort to severe, sharp pain.
- Pain While Chewing: Discomfort or pain may be experienced while eating, especially when chewing tough or crunchy foods.
- Clicking or Popping Sounds: You may hear clicking, popping, or grating sounds when you open or close your mouth. This can be due to the movement of the TMJ disc within the joint.
- Locking of the Jaw: In some cases, the jaw may become temporarily “locked” in an open or closed position. This can be both painful and frightening.
- Limited Jaw Movement: Difficulty in opening your mouth fully or in moving your jaw from side to side.
- Headaches: TMJ disorders can cause headaches, particularly tension-type headaches that are felt around the temples or at the back of the head.
- Earaches or Ear Pain: Pain around the ear area, sometimes accompanied by a feeling of fullness or aching.
- Facial Pain: Discomfort or pain in the face, particularly around the jaw joint, cheeks, or temples.
- Tenderness in the Jaw Muscles: The muscles around the jaw joint may feel tender to touch.
- Toothaches: TMJ disorders can sometimes be mistaken for dental issues, leading to toothaches or tooth sensitivity.
If left untreated, Temporomandibular Joint Disorder can lead to a range of potential consequences, affecting both oral health and overall well-being. Persistent jaw pain, headaches, and facial discomfort can become chronic and significantly impact daily life causing difficulty chewing and speaking, soreness in the face and neck, or tinnitus ( ringing in the ear). Pain and discomfort from TMJ Syndrome can interfere with sleep quality, potentially leading to sleep disorders. Untreated TMJ can also lead to dental problems such as worn or damaged teeth, fractured fillings, and even tooth loss in severe cases.
It’s crucial to seek timely treatment for TMJ to prevent these potential consequences from occurring or worsening. Dr. Wayne G. Suway can provide a proper diagnosis and recommend appropriate treatment solutions tailored to your unique needs.
Teeth Grinding, Clenching and TMJ Relief
Stiffness in the jaw and damaged teeth can result in oral pain. Seeking relief from an expert dentist is therefore recommended. Dr. Suway of the Atlanta Sleep Apnea Treatment Center is a Diplomate of the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine (ABDSM), making him trained in the field of treating bruxism and temporomandibular joint disorders .
One potential solution is wearing a custom mouth guard while sleeping. The surfaces of the teeth are prevented from touching, which eliminates advanced wear. Dr. Suway can also explore the underlying causes of bruxism and TMJ disorder to provide a more permanent solution. In many cases, a misaligned jaw can cause the sufferer to grind teeth. Other possible causes include sleep apnea, weak facial muscles or crooked teeth.
You can rely on the team at the Atlanta Sleep Apnea Treatment Center to provide effective and affordable solutions. Do not allow grinding teeth or TMJ to disrupt sleep or destroy your smile. Contact our office if you would like to find out if you suffer from bruxism or temporomandibular joint disorder and pursue treatment under the care of Dr. Suway.