Teeth grinding: More than just a bad habit, it’s a dental concern

Teeth grinding: More than just a bad habit, it’s a dental concern

TMJ HenricoTeeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is an annoying habit, especially for the person’s spouse or partner whose sleep may be interrupted by the noise. However, bruxism also presents a concern for the patient’s oral health. It’s important to get treatment for this condition if you have it.

Often bruxism is caused by stress, and patients may respond to stress management techniques. However, stress is not the sole cause of teeth grinding.

Bruxism can actually be the symptom of a disorder of your temporomandibular joint (your jaw). If your bruxism is related to TMJ, that problem may need to be addressed in order for you to stop grinding your teeth.

An oral surgeon can assess your case to determine if a TMJ disorder is causing your bruxism. The surgeon will take x-rays of your jaw to see if you have any structural defects in your jaw that may be contributing to your problem.

The jaw is a complex joint, comprised of many components, and any one of these can go off-kilter and cause TMJ pain and other symptoms of TMJ disorders. Your oral surgeon will use the information gathered in your exam to pinpoint the specific issues that are problematic in your case.

After the cause of the TMJ disorder has been diagnosed, the surgeon can then recommend the appropriate treatment. For some patients that may mean wearing a special mouthguard or splint during sleep. For others, surgical interventions may be needed to correct any deficiencies in the jaw. The surgeon will thoroughly educate you on the treatment options so that you can make an informed decision.

When the TMJ disorder is addressed, the teeth grinding, along with other symptoms, should cease.

Bruxism can cause significant damage to your teeth and jeopardize your dental health. If you have noticed signs of this condition, such as unusual wear and tear on your teeth or soreness in the muscles surrounding your jaw, schedule an evaluation at our office to diagnose the cause of the condition as well as identify effective treatment options.