bruxismtmjBruxism is habitual teeth grinding or clenching. TMJ disorder is a condition relating to strain or imbalance of your jaw joints. Characterized by tooth sensitivity, excessive tooth wear, and neck and jaw pain, bruxism and TMJ disorder often go hand-in-hand and harm your oral and overall health. Both conditions are typically caused by a misaligned bite, or malocclusion, and the symptoms increase with stress or other dental problems.

Is treating bruxism or TMJ important?

Bruxism or TMJ treatment can improve your health by relieving the symptoms that affect your teeth, cause pain, and interfere with proper sleep. If left untreated, these conditions can lead to excessive tooth wear, which makes your teeth vulnerable to bacteria and decay. Constant grinding erodes the enamel, or protective outer layer of the teeth. Breaking down the tooth’s defenses makes it easy for a tooth to develop a cavity or become internally infected, both of which must be treated with restorative measures such as a filling or root canal treatment.

What are some treatments for bruxism?

Since nighttime is the most active time for bruxism, oral appliances can prevent the back teeth from touching during sleep and sending stimulus to the jaw joint to clench. Dr. Oliviero can work with you to determine the root cause of your bruxism and decide on the best treatment option for you. In some cases, orthodontic treatments, such as braces or Invisalign, may correct bruxism caused by malocclusion. Coping with the symptoms of bruxism may involve using toothpaste for sensitive teeth or receiving a fluoride treatment to alleviate some tooth sensitivity.

How can I alleviate the symptoms of TMJ disorder?

Dr. Oliviero can correct a misaligned bite with orthodontic treatments such as traditional braces or Invisalign clear braces. Reducing stress can also help relieve jaw clenching and neck and shoulder pain. You can practice relaxing the jaw while driving, while at the computer, or before going to sleep. A common treatment for TMJ disorder is an oral appliance worn during sleep, which also helps treat bruxism. If an oral appliance is right for your situation, Dr. Oliviero will make an exact mold of your mouth so that the appliance can be constructed to fit your mouth perfectly and offer optimal protection for your teeth and jaws.