When you wake up in the morning, what is the first thing you feel? If it’s pain in your jaw and mouth, you might be suffering from a condition called bruxism, or nighttime teeth grinding. This can severely damage your teeth and even injure your sensitive jaw joint, known as the TMJ (temporomandibular joint). Today, we’re going to discuss the signs and symptoms that you may have bruxism, and what you can do to get treatment.
The Signs of Bruxism
Bruxism is a very common issue, and according to the American Sleep Association, it affects about 10% of the U.S. population every night. Bruxism is usually brought on by stress, injury, or arthritis. It can also be the result or the cause of a condition that can affect the jaw called a temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMD. When a person has TMD, the muscles and joints of the jaw are strained and misaligned, and this can lead to a variety of issues including chronic pain.
Bruxism and TMD are two separate conditions, but they often occur in conjunction with each other. Signs that you might be dealing with them include:
- A stiff or sore jaw
- A jaw that constantly pops or clicks
- Worn down teeth
- Restless sleep
- Sensitive teeth
- Chronic head, neck, or shoulder pain
A misalignment of the jaw joints can even cause pain all the way down to your back! Fortunately, treatment is simple and easy to find. All you have to do is visit a dentist in your area.
How You Can Get Treatment
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, a dentist should be able to provide effective treatment. It will most likely consist of a custom-fitted, removable oral appliance. You’ll only need to wear it when you go to bed, and it’ll work by providing a protective cushion between your teeth so they can’t be damaged due to grinding. Also, if you’re dealing with TMD, it can gently shift the jaw so that the joints and muscles are in a more relaxed and natural position. This should help relieve any jaw-related pain, and in many cases, patients are able to stop wearing the appliance after a certain amount of time.
Don’t Suffer Anymore
Chronic pain can really affect your quality of life day to day, so if you’re currently dealing with a painful, clicking jaw and worn down teeth, be sure to contact a dentist in your area for help. They’ll be able to find the root cause of your problem, and before you know it, you’ll wake up in the mornings pain-free again.
About the Author
Dr. Mark Medaugh is a family, cosmetic, and reconstructive dentist based in Belchertown, MA. Throughout his career, he has helped hundreds of patients overcome their bruxism and TMD with comfortable, custom-made oral appliances. He currently practices at Valley Dentists of Belchertown, and he can be reached through his website or by phone at (413) 323-4335.