Bruxism, the habit of teeth grinding or clenching, affects millions of American adults and children. Bruxers, as people with the condition are called, often grind their teeth while they sleep. Many people never realize they have the condition until dental damage has occurs. Bruxers also experience aches in facial muscles. The greatest damage may concern your teeth: bruxism can provoke fracturing, shattering, and sensitivity caused by wearing down tooth enamel.
Bruxism may stem from misalignment of the temporomandibular joints, a condition known as TMJ dysfunction. The TMJs are the small joints that hold your jaw to your skull.
Some symptoms of TMJ dysfunction include:
Various treatments address bruxism and TMJ dysfunction. Most often, an oral appliance worn while sleeping prevents teeth from grinding, which relieves stressed jaw muscles and nerves. If extensive tooth wear has occurred, back teeth must be rebuilt with crowns to re-establish a healthy bite so that the jaws are held in proper position. Stress relief exercises and habit changes may also help ease bruxism and TMJ pain. Dr. DeFinnis will do a complete evaluation before recommending the most appropriate treatment.
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