Bruxism and TMJ Treatment in Avondale, Auckland
Most patients will experience periodic teeth grinding, called bruxism, at some point in their lives. Occasional bruxism can come from changes in medication, caffeine consumption, alcohol or even stress. When bruxism becomes a chronic problem, it puts your smile and health at risk.
Both adults and children can develop a teeth grinding habit. Unless someone tells you that you grind your teeth during sleep, you might not be aware of the problem. Common signs include:
- Sensitive teeth
- Bite marks on the insides of the cheeks
- Bony growths (tori) beneath the tongue
At Avondale Dental Centre, we will alert you immediately if we see the signs of teeth grinding.
Chronic bruxism may cause wear to teeth, fractures and painful jaw joints, a condition known as temporomandibular joint dysfunction or TMD. Your TMJs (temporomandibular joints – the joints where your jaws connect) can pop, lock or create a grinding sound when they are not functioning properly.
We generally treat bruxism with a custom nightguard that places a barrier between the upper and lower teeth, protecting them from damaging each other during sleep.
We may also recommend muscle relaxation exercises and lifestyle changes to reduce clenching and grinding.
Jaw Pain Treatment (TMD) and Headaches
When jaw joints do not function properly, it has a dramatic impact on your quality of life. TMD makes it uncomfortable to chew certain foods, and yawning can feel like risky behaviour. TMD is not limited to just joint pain; it can also cause a host of other symptoms that cause pain and discomfort:
- Jaw pain
- Joint clicking, popping or locking
- Facial soreness
- Headaches and migraines
- Sensitive teeth
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Worn or cracked teeth
- Shoulder, neck or back pain
- Overdevelopment of jaw muscles
Sometimes TMD develops because of a bruxism habit; other times it can come from malocclusion, or the teeth not coming together correctly.
Malocclusion may be subtle. Even if your teeth look straight, the peaks and valleys of the teeth may not quite match up, which can cause the entire jaw system to compensate.
TMD Treatment and Therapy
Addressing TMD requires determining the cause of the jaw dysfunction and solving the main issue. In some cases, a bruxism splint will be enough to reduce symptoms and allow painful muscles to relax.
Additional treatment includes:
Orthodontics – A misaligned bite can sometimes be corrected with orthodontics. Aligning teeth correctly reduces pain in the muscles and allows the joints to seat properly. We provide orthodontic treatment for children, teens and adults with discreet options such as Invisalign for our older teen and adult patients.
Bite balancing – Known as occlusal equilibration, bite balancing involves making tiny adjustments to the surfaces of dental crowns, fillings or natural teeth to allow teeth to come together properly.
Don’t Live with Jaw Pain
Our compassionate Avondale dentists, Dr Najar, Dr Crum and Dr Nekrutenk, are here to help you enjoy an improved quality of life with TMD and bruxism treatment. We welcome you to contact us to arrange an evaluation.