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TMJ


Woman holding jaw due to TMJ pain
TMJ is a short term that is used to refer to a condition known as a temporomandibular joint disorder. You may also hear it referred to as TMJ disorder or TMD. This condition affects every movement of your mouth and can cause a substantial amount of pain. There are many different issues that can lead to TMJ, one of the most common being bruxism. If you are dealing with TMJ and bruxism, Peninsula Center of Cosmetic Dentistry can help.

Understanding Bruxism


Those with bruxism clench or grind their teeth. This is done unconsciously. Some people grind and clench during the day. Many more do so at night. While bruxism frequently occurs due to stress, others may experience this condition because of the way their teeth are aligned, they are taking a specific type of medication, they have a specific medical condition, they smoke, or they consume alcohol or caffeine too close to bedtime. Most people are unaware that they even have bruxism until they start to notice symptoms like jaw pain and headaches, particularly upon waking up.

How Does Bruxism Lead to TMJ?


Untreated bruxism can lead to TMJ. The continued grinding and clenching can cause severe wear on not just your teeth and your jaw. Eventually, it can lead to experiencing pain in your temporomandibular joints. Severe bruxism can impact your bite, which can put unnecessary stress on these joints, leading to irritation, inflammation, and a significant amount of pain. You may begin to find it difficult to eat, talk, or even simply move your jaw in any way.

Does Everyone with Bruxism Develop TMJ?


Not everyone with bruxism will develop TMJ. While bruxism is a major contributing factor, getting bruxism under control can help to alleviate your pain before it becomes worse and affects the joints. At the same time, it is also possible to develop TMJ without having bruxism. TMJ can be caused by other issues such as facial trauma or arthritis. 


What Can I Do to Prevent TMJ if I Have Bruxism?


If you have bruxism, it is important that you get treatment as soon as possible. The sooner you get treatment, the sooner you can alleviate the symptoms. Treatment will also help to protect your teeth, your jawbone, and your temporomandibular joints. This then helps to prevent the development of TMJ.

However, just how is bruxism treated? There are a few different options depending upon what has caused your bruxism in the first place. You can help to treat bruxism by reducing your stress, quitting smoking, or avoiding alcohol or caffeine. A night guard can help to absorb the forces exerted on your jaw while you sleep. Botox is becoming a more popular solution for putting a stop to grinding and clenching. For those with crooked teeth or misaligned jaws, orthodontic treatment may be necessary. In more serious cases of bruxism, you may be recommended a surgical procedure. These same treatments may also be employed if you are already dealing with TMJ. To determine the best course of action for you, it is important that you schedule an appointment as soon as possible.

Mouthguards for Bruxism


We recommend mouthguards for anyone, children and adults, involved with physical activities that put them at risk for injury or trauma. This includes contact sports such as ice hockey, football, soccer, basketball, boxing, field hockey, and lacrosse. We may also recommend a mouthguard if you participate in recreational activities like skateboarding, mountain biking, and rollerblading. Even those who participate in gymnastics could benefit from wearing a mouthguard.

In general, mouthguards are used to cover the upper teeth. However, may recommend a mouthguard for the lower teeth as well, specifically if you wear braces or another fixed appliance. Your custom-fit mouthguard should be comfortable, durable, and resistant to tears. A good mouthguard is also easy to clean and does not affect your breathing or speech.
Learn more about types of mouthguards.

Botox for TMJ


Botox, or Botulinum Toxin, is often used for its anti-aging properties. An injection will temporarily disable the muscles in the face by blocking the nerves responsible for contractions. Targeting these muscles can temporarily eliminate wrinkles.

The same basic concept applies to Botox treatment for the TMJ. Botox can alleviate jaw tension by blocking the nerves that control the muscles of your TMJ. Often, these muscles are being clenched unconsciously, which is one of the leading causes of TMD. Botox can also eliminate headaches caused by bruxism (teeth grinding), and severe cases of lockjaw.
Learn more about botox for TMJ.

If you are dealing with bruxism, or bruxism related TMJ, getting treatment can help to alleviate your pain, making oral functions much simpler. For more information, call Peninsula Center of Cosmetic Dentistry at (650) 949-3376 today.
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