WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW...
TMJ dysfunction affects 1/8 Americans
Bruxism, commonly known as tooth grinding, and Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) dysfunction, can have significant effects on your oral health and overall well-being. This essay will discuss what TMJ dysfunction is, its prevalence, and the primary cause, which is stress. Additionally, we will explore various treatment alternatives, including massage, relaxation and de-stressing techniques, oral appliances like night guards or deprogrammers, and even Botox.
To start, let’s understand what bruxism and TMJ are. Bruxism is the habit of grinding or clenching your teeth, often unconsciously, usually during sleep or when concentrating and focused on work. TMJ dysfunction (TMJD), on the other hand, refers to an entire host of problems with the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ), which connects your jawbone to your skull. This joint allows you to open and close your mouth, chew, and speak. When it doesn’t work as it should, it can cause pain and discomfort in the head, neck, jaw and teeth.
Bruxism, or clenching and grinding, is the result of the chewing muscles overworking and causing damage to the joint and teeth. This destructive habit is the primary contributor to TMJ dysfunction, although other factors like arthritis, trauma and malignancies can also contribute to TMJ dysfunction.
TMJ dysfunction is more common than you might think. It affects millions of people worldwide, about 1 in 8 Americans, and the reasons for it can vary. One primary cause of TMJ dysfunction is stress. When we are stressed, we tend to clench our jaw and grind our teeth, which puts extra strain on the TMJ. Over time, this can lead to pain and dysfunction. It’s important to note that stress leads to Bruxism, and it isn’t the only cause of TMJ dysfunction, but it plays a significant role.
Because it’s a primary contributor, stress management is crucial in preventing and alleviating TMJ dysfunction. Relaxation techniques, like deep breathing, meditation, massage and yoga, can all help reduce stress and decrease jaw clenching. Establishing a good bedtime routine can also aid in stress reduction and promote better sleep. Adequate sleep is essential for overall health and can help lessen bruxism throughout the night.
To protect your teeth and jaw, oral appliances such as night guards can be incredibly effective. There are two main types of mouth guards that are used. A flat plane night guard is a custom-fitted device that you wear over your teeth during sleep. It acts as a cushion, absorbing the force of grinding and preventing damage to your teeth. A deprogrammer, is the other type of guard, is designed to prevent the back teeth from touching, which relaxes the jaw muscles and help reposition the jaw into a more comfortable alignment. Both of these devices can offer significant relief and protection.
Another amazingly effective treatment option is Botox. Botox as a medication is a muscle relaxant that can target muscles that go into spasm or overwork. Injections can be administered directly to the problem muscles to reduce their activity, which can relieve the pain associated with TMJ dysfunction, including chronic migraines. While it may sound unconventional, Botox has been a cure for chronic headaches for many people in our practice in Davie and Cooper City, completely eliminating the need for any more medication. The first step is a thorough evaluation to determine if your TMJD would benefit from Botox treatments. Botox results tend to last 4-6 months.
In conclusion, bruxism, TMJ dysfunction, and stress are closely interconnected. Stress often leads to tooth grinding and jaw clenching (bruxism), which can, in turn, cause TMJ dysfunction. It’s essential to recognize the impact of stress on our oral health and overall well-being. Preventive measures like relaxation techniques, bedtime routines, and the use of oral appliances can be highly effective in managing these issues. In lieu of eliminating our stress via the above referenced methods, Botox is an amazing solution for hundreds of patients in our practice. It provides months of relief after a simple 5 minute procedure.
If you feel like you might be suffering from TMJ dysfunction and would like to be evaluated, we invite you to call our office in Davie, Fl. At Semidey Dental, our doctors are trained in facial pain management and have received advanced TMJD training and Botox certification. We proudly serve the surrounding areas of Cooper City, Plantation, Weston and Ft. Lauderdale.
1 in 8
Americans have TMJ
Affects Women more than Men
Have clicking or popping
NEW FROM THE BLOG...
Check out our other mouth musings...
GET IN TOUCH...
If you have any questions, or are curious about a specific topic, send us a message.