Teeth grinding is a habit that can cause damage to your teeth, gums, and jaw joint. Also known as bruxism, grinding of the teeth affects the health and function of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). The temporomandibular joint is the joint that connects your lower jaw to your skull. Responsible for daily activities such as chewing, talking and yawning, the health of the TMJ is essential for your overall oral health. When patients habitually grind or clench their teeth, it can cause stress to the joint and the attached muscles, often creating discomfort, chronic pain, and can lead to TMJ disorders.
Dr. Ali Sarkarzadeh offers patients oral sleep appliance mouthguards as part of TMJ treatment. There is no definitive treatment for bruxism, but this doesn’t mean you can’t alleviate the symptoms. Mouthguards protect your teeth and jaw from damage caused by overnight teeth grinding. An oral sleep device is much like a custom fit sports mouthguard. Patients will wear their mouthguard while sleep to reposition the jaw into a more comfortable position. The oral sleep appliance is designed to prevent teeth from grinding. It also protects the teeth and jaws from developing complex TMD conditions.
Symptoms of Teeth Grinding
You may not be aware you are grinding or clenching your teeth. Patients commonly grind their teeth while they are sleeping or during times of stress. If you are experiencing chronic headaches, especially in the mornings or jaw pain, worn teeth, or broken teeth, it may be caused by nightly teeth grinding. You can look for teeth that have chips or flat spots; these are a good indication that you are grinding your teeth in your sleep. For some, the symptoms of teeth grinding can begin to affect their quality of life causing chronic jaw and facial pain.
Signs of teeth grinding include:
- Worn teeth
- Dull teeth, because of worn tooth enamel
- Sensitive teeth
- Jaw or facial pain, “tired jaws”
- A broken filling and/or dental crown
- A chronic earache without ear infection
- Chronic headaches
Schedule A Consultation
If you believe that you are grinding your teeth or clench your jaw, be sure to let Dr. Sarkarzadeh know during your next dental health exam. Stopping bruxism can help patients alleviate painful symptoms and protect the health of the teeth and gums. Contact our Rockville, MD dentist office, or request an appointment online. We welcome new patients from Rockville, Bethesda, Silver Spring, Chevy Chase, Aspen Hill, Rollins Park and all surrounding communities.