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Bruce M. MacNicol, DDS, MS, FRCD (C)
Michael T. Jackson, BA, DDS, MSc, FRCD (C)
Andrew P. Gater, HBSc, DDS, FRCD (C)
Mohammad Mokhtari, HBSc, DDS, FRCD (C)
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How Clenching and Grinding the Teeth Can Worsen TMJ Symptoms

Posted on 10/25/2015 by Bruce M MacNicol
A woman suffering from tmj pain, because she's grinding her teeth.Pain and discomfort in the jaw area are the primary symptoms of TMJ syndrome. There may be association clicking and pops of the jaw, headaches, and neck pain. It may be caused by an injury to the jaw that puts the joint out of place. However, one major cause of TMJ syndrome is the clenching and grinding of teeth, bruxism.

Bruxism can occur during the day, even unconsciously or at night (called night bruxism) puts extra pressure on the jaw muscles and joint. Mild bruxism commonly does not require treatment. However, serious or persistent bruxism can cause misalignment of the teeth, stress to the jaw bones and muscles, and headaches. It can even cause or worsen the symptoms of TMJ syndrome.

Causes of bruxism can vary from high emotions from stress or anger, abnormal alignment of upper and lower teeth, acid reflux. Most people are not aware they are gnashing and grinding their teeth unless someone points it out or their jaw becomes sore.

The risks of chronic bruxism is damage to the teeth and jaw, headaches, facial pain, and developing or worsening the symptoms of TMJ syndrome.

If you find yourself to be clenching and grinding your teeth a lot and experiencing pain if the face and neck area, it is probably time to seek help from your dentist or physician to determine the extent of the problem, the damage it has already done and possible treatment plans.

After testing to determine the cause of your bruxism, your dentist may recommend the use of teeth splints that keep the teeth separated to avoid damage or a mouth guard to avoid the clenching and grinding of your teeth. The mouth guard is a hard acrylic or can be a soft material fitted to your mouth and goes over your upper and lower teeth.

So if you are experiencing pain from TMJ, please contact us to check and make sure you are not clenching and grinding your teeth.
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