Glen Lake Dental
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How Dentists Diagnose and Treat TMJ and Bruxism

May 30, 2021
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Posted By: Glen Lake Dental
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TMJ is the common term used to describe temporomandibular joint dysfunction—sometimes referenced as TMD. The term refers to an abnormality or malfunction of the joint that joins the jaw to the skull.

Bruxism, on the other hand, is the act of grinding and clenching the teeth, especially during sleep.

In some cases, these disorders are linked.

Fortunately, certain dentists, including Dr. Danielle Leonardi, your dentist in Goffstown, NH, are trained to treat both conditions to restore function, ease pain, and save smiles.

 

About TMJ

 

What Is TMJ?

TMJ means your jaw joint, meant to move freely and purposefully, is not functioning properly. Left untreated, TMJ can have a significant impact on your well-being. Your dentist or healthcare professional can diagnose TMJ and provide treatment to restore jaw joint health.

Symptoms of TMJ, include one or more of the following:

  • Headaches, neckaches, shoulder pain
  • Jaw and face pain
  • Clicking sounds in the jaw joint
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Locked jaw
  • Worn teeth, in some cases

The Team at Glen Lake Dental recommends treating this condition sooner rather than later. Early intervention can mean less invasive treatments, less pain, and lowered risks of more severe complications related to tooth loss, especially when TMJ is linked to bruxism.

TMJ Causes

In many situations, the cause of TMJ is not immediately obvious, but it has been linked to arthritis, jaw joint injury, bruxism, anxiety, and defects present at birth.

TMJ Treatment in Goffstown, NH

Your Goffstown dentist can assess your symptoms or TMJ and create a treatment plan customized to your unique case. Your assessment will include a head, neck, and jaw joint exam. We will also take x-rays to get a closer look at your jaw joints.

Typically, your dentist, Dr. Leonardi, creates a custom oral appliance to ease the pain associated with TMJ. We may also recommend jaw joint exercises to expedite your recovery. In severe cases, your dentist may recommend you for surgical intervention, but this is not common.

Our goal is to relieve pain and help your jaw joint heal and function properly.

 

About Bruxism

 

What Is Bruxism?

The grinding and clenching associated with bruxism usually occurs while you are sleeping, making it hard to notice that you have the condition. However, there are specific signs that you will notice over time. Remember, you do not have to have all of these symptoms to be diagnosed with bruxism.

Symptoms of bruxism may include:

  • Headaches, neckaches, shoulder pain
  • Jaw, gum, ear, and face pain
  • Tight jaw muscles
  • Worn teeth
  • Tooth fractures
  • Loose teeth
  • Increase in cavities

Your dentist can easily spot the telltale signs of bruxism during a comprehensive evaluation.

Bruxism Causes

The cause is not always clear, but bruxism may be linked to:

  • Stress
  • Age
  • Medication
  • Smoking
  • Lifestyle
  • Genetics
  • GERD
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Dementia
  • Sleep disorders
  • Jaw joint dysfunction

Bruxism Treatment in Goffstown, NHman sitting in cafe smiling l goffstown dentist

Typically, teeth grinding is nocturnal and happens when you are asleep. This means the best time to treat the condition is during the night. Your dentist in Goffstown, NH can create a custom nightguard made of comfortable plastic. This device gently separates your jaw during the night. It is an inexpensive solution that is non-invasive, and it allows your jaw joint time to recover.  

Bruxism and Restoring Damaged Teeth

Untreated bruxism can leave you with severe wear, fractures, and even tooth loss. In some cases, after successful treatment for this condition, you may consider restoring your smile.

At Glen Lake Dental in Goffstown, NH, we love helping patients restore their smiles following successful bruxism treatment.

For fractured or worn teeth, your dentist may recommend dental crowns to save these teeth from further wear and the need for extraction. We also offer tooth-colored fillings and dental bonding (concealing chips and cracks with composite resin).

If you have lost some of your teeth to bruxism, we also offer tooth replacement, including dental bridges and dental implants.

A dental bridge is a restoring tooth situated between dental crowns. We cap healthy teeth on either side of the smile gap, allowing the restoring tooth to then close this gap.

A dental implant is a replacement tooth root that is capped with a dental crown after healing and jawbone integration. When it comes to a natural restoration, dental implants are most like healthy adult teeth.  

Following bruxism treatment, your dentist can evaluate your smile and make recommendations based on your specific needs and smile goals.

TMJ and Bruxism Treatment in Goffstown, NH

Left untreated, TMJ and bruxism can hinder life quality and even cost you your smile. Dr. Leonardi and her team want nothing more than to reestablish function, eliminate your pain, and restore your smile and jaw joint health.

If you have symptoms of TMJ or bruxism, we encourage you to contact our dental office to schedule an evaluation. We’re also happy to answer any questions that you may have about our treatments.

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