Your oral cavity includes more than just your teeth and gums. It is also composed of supportive tissues like ligaments, joints, and muscles, which allow you to open and close your mouth, and to move your jaw from side to side. When you experience disorders like TMJ disorder and bruxism that compromise the health of these tissues, you may experience discomfort.
What is TMJ Disorder?
You have two TMJs (temporomandibular joints), one located on either side of your head. Commonly referred to as your jaw joints, these are the points at which your jaw connects to the rest of your cranium. TMJs allow you to open and close your mouth and to move your jaw from side to side. When one or both joints fail to function to their full potential, you may suffer from a variety of uncomfortable side effects. While doctors are unable to point to a single underlying cause, injury to the jaw joint, stress, the grinding and clenching of bruxism, and other factors may contribute to the following symptoms:
- Sore, tender jaw joints
- Painful chewing
- A jaw that locks, pops, or makes clicking sounds
- Discomfort surrounding your jaw joints in areas like your face, neck, and shoulders
- Earaches and headaches
What is Bruxism?
Bruxism is a disorder characterized by grinding or clenching your teeth. In most cases, patients are unaware that they engage in this habit, which often occurs during sleep. Grinding your teeth places pressure on your jaw joints and may result in physical tooth damage and uncomfortable symptoms, such as:
- Worn tooth surfaces
- Tooth sensitivity
- Tooth breaks or fractures
- TMJ discomfort
How are They Treated?
We may treat both TMJ and bruxism with oral appliance therapy. You will wear a night guard each night while you sleep, the design of which will be based on your particular disorder:
- Bruxism: We may provide you with an oral appliance that places a comfortable buffer between your upper and lower teeth, preventing contact and subsequent grinding or clenching.
- TMJ Disorder: You may wear a device that gently shifts the placement of your jaw, which will allow your TMJs to rest while you sleep, rather than enduring continued tension.
Schedule a Consultation About TMJ and Bruxism Treatment With Us
Our TMJ and bruxism treatments are designed to help patients suffering from discomfort due to jaw-stress disorders. For more information, please contact one of our Riverside Dental Group offices. We have locations in Corona, Moreno Valley, Riverside, and Temecula.