Bruxism and TMJ Treatment

What Is Bruxism?

Bruxism is teeth grinding and clenching. While it most often occurs at night, it can happen unconsciously during the day, especially when under stress or feeling anxious. At night, you might be unaware that teeth grinding and clenching is occurring unless your partner mentions hearing the sound of gnashing teeth.

Other signs might include:

  • Bite marks inside the cheeks
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Jaw pain
  • Morning headaches
  • Migraine
  • Chipped teeth
  • Worn-down teeth
  • Teeth sheared straight across
  • Overdeveloped (boxy) jaw muscles
  • Ringing in the ears

If you have one or more of the following symptoms, it’s time to have a jaw evaluation with Dr. Helma Philips in our Midtown Manhattan dental office. 

Oral Appliance Therapy in Midtown

Restorative dentist, Dr. Philips, will diagnose the symptoms early and recommend the best appliance, a hard, custom nightguard, to prevent complications. A nightguard will help the jaw joints relax, whereas the over-the-counter boil and bite mouthguards may encourage already tired jaw muscles to work even harder. 

She will take impressions of your jaws and send them to a specialized orthotic lab that fabricates only custom-fitted nightguards. Two weeks later, Dr. Philips will fit your new appliance and will give you detailed instructions. 

How Common Is Teeth Grinding?

Teeth grinding and clenching affects most of the population. It can cause extreme and irreversible damage to teeth, and can cause TMD, also called TMJ, muscle inflammation and headaches.

While the complete cause of teeth grinding varies from person to person, some common risk factors include:

  • Stress
  • Nicotine and alcohol use
  • Certain medications
  • Imbalanced bite
  • Anxiety
  • Type-A personality
  • Hormonal changes

We can talk about behavior modifications to do at home in conjunction with your treatment.

Caring for Your Custom Nightguard

The nightguard we design in our Midtown dental office can last several years with proper home care. Patients should bring their nightguards to future dental visits. The nightguard will be professionally cleaned, and Dr. Philips will check it for wear and will advise when it needs to be replaced.

What Is TMJ or TMD?

You might often hear people say they have TMJ. TMJ refers to the temporomandibular jaw joints that allow you to open and close your mouth to chew, yawn and speak. TMD, or temporomandibular joint (jaw dysfunction). Some signs can indicate that your jaw joint is strained and not functioning properly.

  • Clicking, popping or grinding
  • Jaws that lock open or closed
  • Teeth don’t come together properly
  • Difficulty chewing certain foods

A jaw and bite exam with Dr. Philips will help uncover if a nightguard, also called a splint or occlusal guard, will help you protect your teeth and the integrity of your jaw joints.

Don’t Live with Jaw Pain

Contact Advent Dental in Midtown, NYC to learn more about custom nightguards and to determine if one is right for you.