Teeth Grinding and TMD
A habit of teeth grinding (bruxism) is almost always connected to TMD (Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, also called TMJ). In some cases it is one of the causes of TMD and in other cases it is one of the many TMJ symptoms. Another TMJ symptom is jaw clenching and it happens along with teeth grinding; in fact you cannot grind your teeth unless you first clench your jaw.
If you grind your teeth habitually, even during sleep, you are putting great pressure on them and gradually causing premature wear and tear. Eventually one or more teeth will fracture.
Teeth Grinding as a TMD Symptom
When your bite is out of alignment, the jaw muscles try to re-align it by closing your mouth to its correct anatomical position. They cannot re-align it and become chronically stressed by the repeated attempts to do so. Inflammation sets in throughout the jaw area and discomfort becomes chronic.
Teeth grinding can be a response to the discomfort of a misaligned bite and inflamed jaw area. It may also increase misalignment and promote jaw clenching, which in turn, may promote more teeth grinding.
Teeth Grinding as a TMD Cause
The jaw joints are delicate. They are ball-and-socket joints that can move in three directions – which no other joints in the body can do. They move:
- Up and down
- Forward and back
To prevent pain, the cartilage pad needs to stay correctly positioned between the two bone surfaces. Chronic teeth grinding (sideways movement) can gradually push the lower jaw or the cartilage pad out of position, causing joint and bite misalignment.
Dr. Quigless offers customized treatment for TMD which may include use of a dental appliance to retrain the jaw muscles. These appliances are worn at night to prevent the jaws from clenching and the teeth from grinding. They resemble the Pure Power Mouthguard (PPM), also offered at our dental office, which is a sports device to protect the jaw and position it correctly while you play or compete in sports.
If you have a teeth grinding habit and would like to know more about how a neuromuscular dentist can help with facial pain and discomfort, please contact our dental office today for a personal consultation with Dr. Quigless.
8083 Manchester Rd.
St. Louis, MO 63144