TOOTH GRINDING AND TMJ TREATMENT

Grinding or clenching puts unnecessary pressure on teeth and jaws and can develop into a range of related oral health issues if left to progress. Find out more about bruxism, jaw pain and obstructive sleep apnoea.

Bruxism, TMJ and Sleep Apnoea

Teeth grinding, jaw pain and sleep problems can sometimes be related, so it’s important to know the warning signs.

Do you grind your teeth when you’re asleep or during the day? Involuntary teeth grinding or clenching is known as bruxism. This may be related to anxiety or stress, or it may have a physical cause, such as misaligned or uneven teeth. If bruxism isn’t treated, it can lead to problems such as your teeth wearing down or cracking and putting strain on the jaw joints (TMJ), it can also be a risk factor for obstructive sleep apnoea.

If you think you grind your teeth, have jaw pain or are worried about your sleep, talk to our dentists in Kelmscott. Call us on (08) 9495 7999 or book an appointment online.

Signs of Bruxism

You might not know that you grind your teeth at night unless someone hears and tells you, but there can be other signs to look out for. These include:

  • Flat, worn or damaged teeth
  • Painful or sensitive teeth
  • Pain or stiffness in the jaw
  • Headache, ear ache or face pain

What is TMJ Disorder?

The temporomandibular joints (TMJ) are the two joints at the sides of the jaw that allow the jaw to move. TMJ disorders (TMJD) may be caused by:

  • Teeth grinding or clenching putting strain on the joints
  • Crooked teeth or a misaligned bite
  • Injuries to the jaw or mouth
  • Arthritis and other joint conditions

Signs of TMJ Disorder

You might have a TMJ problem if you notice some of the following:

  • Clicking or popping sound when you open your mouth
  • Difficulty opening your mouth or jaw locking
  • Pain in your jaw, ear, head or face
  • Stiff shoulders
  • Hearing loss or dizziness

If you’re concerned that you might have TMJD or another jaw problem, call (08) 9495 7999 or contact us to arrange an appointment at our Kelmscott dental clinic.

Custom Mouthguards for Bruxism & TMJD

If our dentists diagnose bruxism or TMJD, we’ll explain all the treatment options that we think could benefit you. Depending on what’s causing your problem, treatments may include:

  • Wearing a custom mouthguard at night
  • Techniques for handling stress
  • Jaw exercises
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Teeth straightening to correct uneven teeth and/or misaligned bite
  • Crowns to repair damage
  • Jaw surgery (in severe cases)

Custom mouthguards for bruxism and TMJ stop your teeth from touching while you sleep. This can relieve the symptoms and may help to break the habit and stabilise your jaw after several months.

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea

Do you snore loudly or wake up choking or gasping in the night? You might have obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA). This sleep disorder is thought to affect 1 in 10 Australians. It happens when breathing is interrupted by the blocking of the airways.

If this happens many times every night, it can prevent you from getting a restful sleep. This can cause tiredness, headaches and over time can cause a number of health-related complications if left untreated.

Signs of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea

You might have obstructive sleep apnoea if:

  • You snore or breathe loudly during sleep
  • You wake up suddenly in the night
  • You have headaches in the morning
  • You feel tired or irritable during the day
  • You have trouble with memory or concentration

If you think you might have obstructive sleep apnoea or another sleep disorder, our dentists at Kelmscott Dental may be able to help. Call us on (08) 9495 7999 or contact us to find out how.

Custom Mouthguards for OSA

If our dentists think you might have obstructive sleep apnoea, we may refer you to a sleep specialist. They can study your symptoms and confirm a diagnosis along with recommending appropriate treatments. These may include:

  • Wearing a custom mouthguard prescribed by your dentist
  • Changing sleeping habits
  • Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP)
  • Surgery to remove the airway obstruction

Oral appliances for mild to moderate sleep apnoea are designed to hold the throat open and prevent it from being blocked. This could help you to breathe uninterrupted during sleep.

Book a Consultation

To schedule an appointment with our dentists or find out more about bruxism, TMJD or obstructive sleep apnoea, call Kelmscott Dental on (08) 9495 7999. You can also book online.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is bruxism?

Bruxism is the medical term for the grinding or clenching of teeth during sleep or while awake. Bruxism may have a physical cause, such as an uneven biting surface, or psychological causes, with some people grinding their teeth when they feel anxious or stressed.

How is bruxism treated?

Bruxism treatment depends on what’s causing the condition. Orthodontic work, crowns or fillings may correct an uneven biting surface, your dentist may provide you with a bite splint to wear over your teeth at night, or you may be referred to a therapist to help you manage stress and anxiety.

What is TMJ disorder?

TMJ disorders (TMD or TMJD) are problems affecting the temporomandibular joints (TMJ) that connect the jaw to the skull. TMJ disorder is often caused by bruxism, but it can have multiple causes including joint conditions such as arthritis or trauma to the jaw.

What can happen if I keep grinding my teeth?

Teeth grinding can put strain on your teeth and jaws. Over time, this can cause teeth to wear down unevenly, which could cause bite problems or TMJ disorder. Teeth that have been weakened by grinding may also feel more sensitive or be more vulnerable to damage.

Can obstructive sleep apnoea go away on its own?

Obstructive sleep apnoea can have many different causes. Sometimes, losing weight, changing your sleep posture or avoiding alcohol in the evening can make it less likely to happen, but the problem normally requires intervention from a dentist or sleep specialist.

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