Clenching and Grinding
Many patients grind their teeth at night. Or clench during the day. The encompassing term is bruxism, and it can be very painful and damaging. The name of the jaw joint, the TMJ or temporomandibular joint, is often used to identify jaw pain. It is discrepancies and changes in this joint, along with the patient’s bite, that may predispose someone to bruxism. Treatment of TMJ issues has changed vastly over the years, and is now much less invasive. A lot of the discomfort can arise from over activity in the muscles. A custom fit bruxing guard (also called a night guard, but some people need to wear it occasionally during the day) helps these muscles to relax. Minor changes in the bite can also decrease the trigger to grind. It is a complicated subject, but one we are familiar with. Untreated bruxing can cause headaches, generalized tooth sensitivity, extreme wear and gum recession, and it should be addressed.