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TMJ and Bruxism Problems


Your temporomandibular joints, or TMJ, are two essential joints in your mouth. Located on each side of your mouth where the mandible meets the skull, these joints allow you to open and close your mouth so that you can eat, speak, and so much more. When healthy, these joints function without you noticing them. However, if they become irritated and inflamed, you may be faced with serious discomfort and other complications. This is a condition known as TMJ disorder, and a major cause is bruxism. Nicholas W. Feldman, DDS, MBA can help.

TMJ Disorder


TMJ disorder is a term that refers to any number of issues that affect the health and functioning of your temporomandibular joints. The joints are affected by irritation and inflammation, which make eating, speaking, and even just moving your mouth difficult and painful. In some cases, the pain can be so excruciating, moving your mouth can feel impossible. One of these issues that can lead to TMJ disorder is bruxism.

What is Bruxism?


Grinding and clenching your teeth is a condition known as bruxism. This condition can affect you at any time of day, although it is more common at night. This is because while you are sleeping, you are unaware that you are grinding and clenching your teeth, and also unable to control it.

One of the most common causes of bruxism is stress. Stress causes your muscles, including those in your face and jaw, to become tense. This tension can force your jaws together, placing incredible pressure on your teeth, your jaw, and your TMJ. Other causes of bruxism include:
•  Misaligned teeth.
•  Lifestyle habits like smoking and drinking.
•  Certain types of prescription medications as well as certain illegal drugs.
•  Caffeine.

What are the Symptoms of Bruxism and TMJ Disorder?


There are many different symptoms that can point toward bruxism and TMJ disorder.
•  Pain in your jaw and TMJ.
•  Facial pain.
•  Swelling in your face and jaw.
•  Excessive tooth wear.
•  Pain, and difficulty, eating and speaking.
•  Clicking, popping, and grinding sensations in your jaw and TMJ.
•  Temporary lockjaw.
•  Chronic headaches and earaches.

In many instances, the symptoms of bruxism and TMJ do not appear all at once. They also may not seem all that serious when the condition first begins. The symptoms gradually worsen over time.

Diagnosing the Cause of Your Discomfort


When your jaw and TMJ are making it difficult to perform even the most basic functions, it is time to schedule an appointment. During your appointment, we perform a thorough examination of your mouth. We assess your teeth and jaws for alignment. Your teeth are looked over for wear patterns and signs of damage. X-rays are also taken. These images allow us to assess the condition of your jawbone and your joints. Once we have determined the cause of your pain, we are then able to formulate an effective treatment plan to restore your quality of life.

How are TMJ Disorder and Bruxism Treated?


There are many treatment options available for bruxism and TMJ disorder. The exact treatment you receive depends upon the cause of your condition. Treatments include:
•  A night guard. This is a custom-made oral appliance that is worn in your mouth while you sleep. It functions to absorb the impact of grinding and clenching, preventing pressure on your jaws and TMJ.
•  Botox injections. Botox works to weaken the muscles that cause grinding and clenching, which helps to stop the issue and alleviate your pain.
•  Orthodontic treatment, including braces and clear aligners. Straightening your teeth can stop grinding and clenching, putting an end to bruxism.
•  Oral surgery. In cases of severe bruxism and TMJ disorder, surgery may be required.

With the right treatment, we can help to alleviate your pain and restore your quality of life. Call Nicholas W. Feldman, DDS, MBA at (907) 802-4519 today for more information and to schedule your appointment.
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Nicholas W. Feldman, DDS, MBA
405 W 36th Ave #101
Anchorage, AK 99503


Call (907) 802-4519
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