When Teeth-Grinding Causes Jaw Dysfunction

Over the course of our lives, we are often told the importance of excellent oral hygiene and the work that is put into achieving that perfect smile. Indeed, most of us fear the greatest threat to our grins is the development of disease and infection such as plaque and decay. For others, however, the biggest concern actually arises from a bite dysfunction that causes significant strain in the jaw. In today’s blog, your Northwest IN dentist will shed some light on how grinding your teeth at night really affects your oral health, including the development of TMJ disorder.

Unconscious Tension

For many individuals, waking up to a sore or tense jaw often is not given a second thought. Perhaps you slept the wrong way, or talk in your sleep causing a tired jaw. In reality, what is occurring is that you are unconsciously grinding your teeth. This phenomenon consists of rubbing your oral structures together as the lower mandible moves from side-to-side. What’s more, individuals who experience this happening often cannot control the duration or the intensity in which their bruxism occurs. While it may seem like it is not that big of a concern, the contrary says otherwise. Those who experience bruxism may suffer from extremely worn teeth and the increased chance of developing infection due to weakening their surfaces. You may also experience soreness, difficulty opening or closing the mouth, jaw-related headaches, and even the development of bigger concerns. If you suspect you grind your teeth at night, do not hesitate to contact our office.

Indicators You May Have TMJ Disorder

One of the biggest concerns that can arise from grinding include the development of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. TMJ disorder consists of a bite dysfunction in which one or both of the temporomandibular joints in which your lower jaw hinges become misaligned. When this occurs, your bite will attempt to regulate itself, causing a loud or painful popping or clicking to occur. Without proper treatment, you become at risk of significant damage occurring to your joints and tissues as well as functional problems with opening the mouth, biting or chewing, and overall pain. Because of this, it is always better to act sooner rather than later when it comes to seeking help.

What We Can do to Help

While reaching the point of painful TMJ disorder is nobody’s first choice, there are ways your dentist can assist you. For instance, a specialized sling appliance can be used to comfortably guide your lower jaw back in place and promote healthy healing. To combat the damage accrued from teeth-grinding, a custom-made mouth guard appliance can be utilized to protect the surfaces of your smile. For more information, contact our team today.

Learn More

Contact Healthy Smiles in Northwest IN by calling 219-938-2637 to learn more about staying on top of your oral health, even when concerns do not appear to be as threating as they are.