Are you in the habit of clenching or grinding your teeth? There could be more than one explanation for it - one of them being bruxism. Bruxism is a condition that makes individuals gnash, grind, or clench their teeth. Some may do it unconsciously when they are awake, while others may grind or clench their teeth during sleep. Thus giving the name awake bruxism and sleep bruxism, respectively. Both the conditions are signs of an underlying problem.
For instance, sleep bruxism is known as a sleep-related movement disorder, meaning people with the condition are more likely to have sleep disorders like snoring or apnea. Although bruxism is a relatively common condition that doesn’t require treatment, some severe cases can lead to headaches, damaged teeth, and jaw problems such as Temporal Mandibular Joint (TMJ) disorder. In this blog, you will learn about the condition and the treatment for clenching and grinding caused by bruxism.
According to Mayoclinic, TMJ is like a hinge that connects your jawbone to the skull. Those suffering from a TMJ disorder will experience pain in the joint and in the muscles that control jaw movement. However, it is worth noting that TMJ disorder is temporary and can be relieved with self-managed care and non-surgical treatment.
To diagnose the condition, your dentist will first discuss the symptoms before examining your jaw. He or she will listen to and feel your jaw as you open and close your mouth, put pressure on points around your jaw that may cause pain or discomfort, and observe the movement of the jaw. To further cement a diagnosis, you may need to undergo dental X-rays, CT scans to provide detailed images of the bones in the joint, and MRI to determine any problems with the joint’s disk or surrounding soft tissue.
Treatment for TMJ disorders will involve muscle relaxants, pain relievers or anti-inflammatory drugs, and tricyclic antidepressants. For serious conditions, the dentist may prescribe physical therapy, jaw splints, or mouth guards.
If you have been told that you grind your teeth at night, or wake up with a sore jaw, or are aware that you grind your teeth while you’re awake, it is best to visit a dentist for an appropriate diagnosis and treatment.
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