A few years ago, I realized that I was thinking about dental care all wrong. Instead of listening carefully to my dentist and making the necessary changes, I assumed that he was ultimately responsible for making sure that my teeth stayed healthy. Unfortunately, I developed a few serious cavities because I failed to properly brush and floss my teeth, and I knew that it was my fault. I decided to start taking notes at my dental checkups and carefully abiding by the dentist's orders. The difference was almost miraculous. This blog is all about working with your dentist to improve your result.
If you have temporomandibular joint disorder, chances are you experience a fair amount of pain in the affected joint(s). Unfortunately for TMJ sufferers, people with this disorder are also likely to experience tooth grinding, as well. The pain and stiffness in the joint can sometimes cause surrounding muscles to become tense or misaligned, causing the afflicted person to grind their teeth as a result. This can not only add more discomfort to your life, but it can seriously harm your teeth. Read on to learn more about how to protect your teeth if you have TMJ.
Why You Need It
Grinding teeth doesn't just cause discomfort; it also permanently damages your teeth. Over time, teeth can effectively become shaved down, losing their exterior shell of enamel that protect them from the constant onslaught of bacteria, acids, and tooth decay. Without this strong protective layer, your teeth can also become cracked. It's very important that you find a way to help reduce the damage done to your teeth or diminish how often you grind your teeth.
What The Options Are
One potential option for reducing the amount of tooth grinding you do is to perform self massage on the afflicted muscles. If you're not sure what area is tense, try just gently rubbing the area around your temporomandibular joints on either side of your jaw. Alternatively, you can consult with a dentist, who will be able to tell you what parts of your jaw and neck are likely the culprit and need help.
Another common culprit behind grinding teeth is an excess of stress. Although temporomandibular joint may be ultimately responsible for your tooth grinding, stress can exacerbate it.
Tooth grinding can happen at any time, but it's especially common at night while you're asleep. Since you can't consciously stop yourself from grinding your teeth, you may be doing it while unconscious. As such, it's best to try and avoid all forms of stress prior to sleeping. If you have unresolved problems, try working them out or writing about them in a journal. Meditation is also a great option for relieving stress, and it may help you to become consciously aware of any tension or discomfort in your jaw or neck that's causing tooth grinding.
There isn't one way to guarantee that you won't ever grind your teeth, so the best thing you can do is to get a mouth guard. However, if you have TMJ, you should avoid store-bought mouth guards at all costs. Most store-bought mouth guards will include a warning to potential buyers that people with TMJ shouldn't buy them. This is because even the best store-bought mouth guards can potentially exacerbate TMJ, causing the jaw to lock or become very painful.
Instead, talk to your dentist about having a custom mouth guard made for you. Your dentist can assess where the stress is in your jaw and create a custom-formed mouth guard that won't cause any additional pressure on your jaw. As a result, your teeth will be completely protected from excess pressure and grinding, and your jaw won't hurt or be at risk of locking when you wake up.
Grinding your teeth can cause long-term damage to your oral health, but you shouldn't put the wellbeing of your jaw at risk in order to prevent harm to your teeth. Talk to your dentist about getting help for your teeth grinding right away. Click here for more info about this.