TMJ and Bruxism Treatment in Pascoe Vale

Bruxism, or clenching and grinding the teeth, affects many people at some point during their lives. In some cases, it may come and go, while others may suffer from chronic teeth grinding. This can lead to damaged teeth, gum recession and jaw disorders such as TMD.

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Because this is an unconscious habit—most people tend to grind their teeth during the night while they are sleeping—it can be a difficult one to break. Often they are unaware they are doing it unless their sleep partner tells them or their dentist notices teeth that are unduly worn.

Bruxism, TMJ and TMD can negatively impact your quality of life—especially if you are experiencing chronic pain as a result. It’s crucial to seek treatment if you suspect you have any of these conditions because you may also be damaging your teeth. Our Pascoe Vale, VIC dental clinic diagnosis and treats many patients with this disorder, and we would love to help you as well.

We welcome your call, and we always have room in our schedule for new patients. We invite you to read below to find some of your more common questions answered about bruxism, TMJ and TMD.

How is bruxism diagnosed?

Dr Amir Kiaee evaluates patients for signs of teeth grinding as part of the comprehensive dentistry we provide at Lumino Smiles, your Pascoe Vale, VIC dental clinic.

Some common signs of bruxism include:

  • Uneven or premature wear to teeth and dentistry
  • Bite marks along the inside of the cheeks
  • Gum recession and abfractions (loss of tooth structure at the gumline)
  • Over-developed jaw muscles
  • Teeth sensitivity
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Facial soreness and pain
  • Bony growths beneath the tongue
  • Broken or chipped teeth

Bruxism can affect both adults and children, and it is often attributed to stress or anxiety. Other causes can include taking certain antidepressants, smoking, alcohol or caffeine consumption, sleep disorders and some neurological conditions. Some believe that it might also be an inherited tendency.

If Dr Amir identifies signs of a bruxism habit in our Glenroy, VIC patient, he will discuss options to resolve the problem and prevent damage to your teeth and jaw due to the excessive forces of clenching and grinding. This may include the use of a night guard, which is often the first step in lessening the effects of night-time teeth grinding.

What is the treatment for bruxism?

Patients we see who suffer from a bruxism habit at our Pascoe Vale, VIC dental clinic may decide to partake in a sleep study to identify the possible presence of sleep apnoea, as the two conditions are often related.

Effective sleep apnoea treatment often alleviates bruxism and may be the first line of treatment recommended by our Glenroy, VIC dentist, as it is a serious and life-threatening condition.

Sometimes relaxation techniques can help people stop grinding their teeth. Others find that an oral appliance can provide relief and help protect the teeth from experiencing further damage.

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What is oral appliance therapy?

To protect teeth and inhibit the damage caused by a bruxism habit, a customised night guard may be part of the treatment we recommend at our Glenroy, VIC dental surgery. Custom night guards, used in treating bruxism, fit over the upper or lower teeth to create a barrier between teeth.

If malocclusion—a bad bite in which the upper and lower teeth do not come together properly—is believed to be the culprit, orthodontic treatment might be recommended.

What are TMD and TMJ?

Many people are under the impression that TMD and TMJ mean the same thing. In reality, the TMJ refers to the joint that connects the lower and upper jaws: the temporomandibular joint. You can feel the joints moving yourself if you place your fingers just in front of your ears and open and close your mouth. It may be a small joint, but it can cause people big pain.

TMD refers to the disorders of the TMJ and stands for temporomandibular joint disorder. It doesn’t refer to just one thing, but rather it references a number of different painful disorders that result from a sore or inflamed TMJ.

If you are unsure or have questions, we invite you to contact Dr Amir at our Pascoe Vale, VIC dental clinic, and he can help you understand TMJ and TMD and how they might be affecting everyday pain.

Why is my TMJ causing me pain?

Like any joint in the body that aches with overuse, the TMJ is susceptible to the same. Because we are using the TMJ all day, every day—speaking, yawning, chewing, laughing and so on—it rarely gets a break. Once it becomes inflamed, it causes pain that gets little relief from being in a resting state because it so rarely rests.

What are some treatment options for TMJ/TMD disorders?

Your TMJ (temporomandibular joint) is the joint that hinges your upper and lower jaw. It controls chewing and speaking function.

With a long-term bruxism habit, the TMJ can become painful and slowly degenerate. A customised occlusal guard not only protects the teeth from a grinding habit, but also guides the jaw into an ideal orthopaedic position.

Some people, who might be experiencing problems with the TMJ because of a crooked jaw, may benefit from getting orthodontic treatment to better align the jaw. After needed orthodontic treatment at our Pascoe Vale, VIC dental clinic, the elimination of TMJ issues could be one added value side effect.

What are the signs of TMJ dysfunction?

Jaw pain in our Glenroy, VIC dental patients can develop rapidly or slowly progress over time. In addition to painful jaws and surrounding muscles, the following symptoms can also indicate a jaw disorder:

  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • Clicking or popping jaw joints
  • Jaw joints locking open or closed
  • Headaches or migraines that occur frequently
  • Inflamed and sore facial muscles
  • Degeneration of the condyle (rounded part of the joint)

In addition to a visual examination, both X-rays and 3-D imaging can contribute to an accurate diagnosis of jaw disorders. Dr Amir will recommend both diagnostics and treatment options on an individual basis with the singular goal of preventing damage and promoting improved oral health.

What should my first step be in getting treatment for bruxism or TMJ/TMD?

We encourage you to contact Lumino Smiles in Pascoe Vale, VIC to schedule a booking to discuss a suspected bruxism habit or issues with the TMJ.

If you suspect you grind your teeth during sleep or you have experienced jaw pain, we welcome you to contact our Pascoe Vale,VIC dental clinic to book an evaluation with Dr Amir. His experience, education and conscientious approach to dentistry will help you find solutions so you can enjoy greater comfort and a healthy smile. We offer both a convenient location and operation hours to make it as easy as possible for our Pascoe Vale, Hadfield and Glenroy, VIC area patients to get treatment.