TMJ/Bruxism Therapy in Harker Heights
The Facts About Bruxism
Bruxism, the unconscious grinding and clenching of teeth, affects millions of US adults and children. This typically occurs during sleep, and while bruxism may seem like a harmless bad habit, a number of oral and overall health concerns may arise as a direct result of bruxism including:
- Chipped, cracked, or worn teeth
- Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ/TMD)
- Daytime fatigue or exhaustion
- Chronic morning headaches, earaches, or neck pain
Additionally, bruxism is often an early indicator of other sleep disorders like snoring or sleep apnea. In some cases, bruxism occurs as a result of stress and go away on its own, but for those who are constant teeth grinders, we may recommend treatment to prevent potential damage.
There is no one cause of bruxism, and many patients live for years not knowing they are teeth grinders. In most instances, patients discover they grind their teeth because a bed partner tells them or because their teeth show signs of damage typically caused by bruxism. In many cases, patients who consistently grind their teeth without treatment are highly likely to develop TMJ disorder. The constant straining of the TMJ joints leads to painful strain, limited jaw mobility, and discomfort while chewing and speaking.
A Solid Solution
Bruxism typically occurs during sleep, and changing the behavior can be difficult. If our evaluation determines you are grinding teeth and have developed signs of TMJ disorder, we will recommend a nightguard. These personalized oral appliances are comfortable and flexible, allowing patients to speak, drink, and breathe while wearing. Nightguards protect teeth by creating a barrier between the upper and lower arch to prevent clenching and straining during sleep.
There are a number of different styles of nightguard available. We’re happy to show patients their options, and in many cases, there are even over-the-counter appliances. Once we find the right mouthguard to protect your smile, we can correct any of the other dental damage that may have resulted.