What is bruxism, and is it making my TMJ worse?
Bruxism is the clinical term for clenching, gnashing teeth and gums. It’s a terrible habit, but it’s more than that. Bruxism is a chronic condition that affects the young and old alike; stress can lead to extra tension carried in the jaw and face, which can then lead to the occasional grinding that becomes bruxism. Do you have an uneven bite? This could be causing you to grind your teeth at night while you’re completely unaware.
Dulles VA dental patients who suffer from bruxism are prone to headaches, ear ache, stiffness, loose or shifting teeth, facial myalgia, inflamed or receding gums, and:
Bruxism can worsen the effects of Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction.
TMJ sufferers know to stay away from chewy or sticky foods; they don’t chew on pens (another terrible habit), and they understand that the best way to self manage their condition is to refrain from behavior that could potentially aggravate or overwork the joint and muscles.
Bruxism is, or should be among those behaviors avoided. It’s little talked about, but this practice of grinding and clenching, known as bruxing, places a great deal of stress on the temporomandibular joint and muscles, just like the taffy you gave up eons ago. Some patients even end up with limited jaw mobility.
This is all a little overwhelming, but you should understand you’re not alone. Bruxism is incredibly common; in fact, as many as one in three people will brux in their lifetime. And there are a few things you can do to help: Reduce stress. Drink more water. Make a conscious effort to relax the muscles of your face and jaw throughout the day. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, which can increase bodily tension.
Schedule an appointment with your Dulles VA dentist today to discuss how bruxism and how to stop it.
The experienced dentists and staff at Loudon Dental Associates are committed to working closely with each patient to discover the cause and alleviate the symptoms of bruxism associated with TMJ in order to maintain healthy, beautiful, comfortable smiles.