Many patients don’t realize the damage and detriment that can be caused by both chronic and occasional clenching and grinding. The condition is sometimes difficult to diagnose since the symptoms are not always visible. To complicate the matter further, many patients have suffered with the condition for so long that they have come to consider it as normal.
Your dentist can help you to identify the signs and symptoms of clenching and grinding. There are a number of treatment options to prevent the condition from occurring, and there are also multiple treatment options to repair the damage that has already taken place.
The term, TMJ, refers to the jaw joint and the muscles that support it. This joint is responsible for the opening and closing of the mouth, as well as many of the muscles that are necessary for chewing and speaking. When the joint and muscles are over-worked, or when they fail to function normally, the condition is referred to as a TMJ disorder.
The condition is sometimes the result of repetitive clenching and grinding. As the joint and muscles are continually activated to bring the teeth together, stress and strain may occur, resulting in tissue damage and pain. Many patients are completely unaware that this repetitive motion is occurring at night, and most are unable to control the disorder without the professional help of a dentist.
After a night of constant clenching (also known as bruxing), it is common to wake up with a headache, neck pain, or tension and soreness at the jaw joint.
This condition can also occur in reverse. When the jaw joint is unable to function correctly, or when the teeth fail to fit together properly, both the joint and teeth can be subjected to excessive forces. The joint can become damaged, and the teeth suffer trauma as well. Failure to address the issue often results in fractured and worn enamel, broken restorations, bone loss, and gum recession.
It is important that you know that there is help for TMJ disorders. Even where there is no pain or discomfort, the irreversible damage can be avoided in order to protect your health.
To learn more about the treatment options for teeth grinding and clenching, contact the Irving office of Drs. Patel and Strickland today at 972-556-0600 to schedule an informative consultation.