The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) allows your bottom jaw to move. This means that every time you talk, chew or swallow you are using the TMJs on either side of your head. This is why the TMJ is one of the most frequently used and complex joints in the human body.
The TMJ affects many aspects of your body, particularly the musculoskeletal system. Some symptoms of TMD, or temporomandibular disorder, are:
- Jaw pain / pain in the TMJ
- Clicking of the TMJ
- Headaches, ear or eye aches
- Difficulty opening your mouth, sometimes known as lock jaw
- Pain or problems when chewing
- Sore neck muscles
- Tight shoulder muscles
- Wear on your teeth
- Mobility of your teeth
Temporomandibular disorder, or TMD, may be caused by:
- A bad bite caused by missing or poorly aligned teeth
- Clenching of the teeth
- Trauma to the TMJ
- Teeth grinding
- Emotional stress
Bruxism is the clenching or grinding your teeth. Most people are not even aware that they are doing this. Bruxism affects about 10% of the population including children and adults.
Some people only grind their teeth during sleep. This is called nocturnal bruxism or sleep-related bruxism. Others grind or clench their teeth during the daytime as well. Stress or anxiety are thought to be the cause.
Of all children who brux between the ages of 3 and 10, more than half will stop on their own by age 13.
In teenagers and adults, how long bruxism lasts depends on its cause. For example, bruxism can last for many years if it is related to stress that doesn't go away. However, if bruxism is being caused by a dental problem, it should stop when the teeth are repaired and realigned. Often this occurs within a few dental visits.
Call Brighter Smiles Dentistry today as we offer several types of appliances that manage bruxism, alleviating pain and discomfort associated with the condition.