TMJ, Bruxism and Occlusion

TMJ stands for tempromandibular joint. This jaw joint, when it malfunctions, is a source of pain and muscle tenderness. Bruxism is the nighttime grinding of teeth and clenching of the jaw and a major cause of joint malfunction and teeth wear. Symptoms of TMD (tempromandibular joint dysfunction) include joint and muscle tenderness, difficulty in opening, migraines and tension headaches.

Why should I seek treatment for bruxism?

Bruxism is a leading cause of gum recession, loose teeth and tooth fracture. The wear from bruxism can cause short, old-looking teeth. It is much better to prevent this excessive wear. Many patients will experience pain including headaches and difficulty opening and chewing.

Treatment Options

There is a variety of devices and treatment available at our office to help with treating bruxism. Options include full coverage flexible guards, or smaller NTI appliances. Often an occlusal adjustment to help even one’s bite can be performed.

Dr. Carpenter will examine you and select the best appliance/mouth guard for your situation. An interesting website discussing the relationship between headaches and bruxism is www.headacheprevention.com.

Dr. Carpenter has trained extensively with Dr. Peter Dawson in Florida and Dr. Frank Spear in Seattle, both leaders in the field of restorative dentistry, TMJ and occlusion.

For an interesting patient story which highlights the damage of bruxism and its solution, visit our blog.