Teeth Grinding, TMJ Trouble, and The Right Treatment
- November 1, 2016
You may have heard someone mention “having TMJ.” You may not realize what it is, much less if you could have a similar issue.
In this post, we will tell you more about TMJ disorders, their causes, and the treatment available at the dentist office of Robert I. Hlavac, D.D.S., in Concord, CA. We’re just a short drive if you live in Clayton, Walnut Creek, Pittsburg, or anywhere in between. We want to help.
To schedule a consultation with Dr. Hlavac, call 925-391-2718 or contact us online.
Why Come To A Dentist For TMJ Treatment
First and foremost, TMJ is an abbreviation for temporomandibular joint. You have two of these joints. You can feel them moving if you place your hands just below your ears and open and close your jaw.
The TMJ joint allows you to open and close your jaw. This helps with eating, speaking, and singing. It’s fair to say that your TMJ are important in your day-to-day life.
The symptoms of TMJ problems include:
☐ Jaw pain
☐ Trouble opening or closing your jaw
☐ Facial pains
☐ Neck and shoulder pain
☐ Frequent earaches
☐ Frequent headaches
Any of these issues could indicate a TMJ issue. Most people will have those issues at some point in their lives. Dr. Hlavac can help you determine if you have a TMJ disorder, which is a more persistent problem.
Dr. Hlavac graduated from UC Berkeley, then earned his D.D.S. at Creighton University. He completed a residency at the Los Angeles County/University of Southern California General Hospital before opening his own practice.
In his 25 years of practice, he also has continued his education with classes to stay up-to-date on the latest technology and techniques in modern dentistry.
While much of his focus is on helping our patients create and maintain beautiful smiles, Dr. Hlavac also wants our patients to be happy. Ending the pain of TMJ disorders certainly can help you feel happier.
To learn more, call 925-391-2718 for an appointment.
The Causes Of TMJ Disorders
The function of your jaw is dependent on your TMJ. Unfortunately, there are a variety of causes that can affect how well or how poorly your jaw works.
Your individual TMJ issues could be caused by one or more of the following:
▷ Injuries or illnesses
▷ Jaw or teeth alignment issues
▷ Teeth grinding*
* Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is one of the first things we will look for.
Dr. Hlavac can examine your teeth and check for signs of worn enamel that would indicate teeth clenching or grinding.
A typical bite can create 200 to 250 pounds of pressure. Researchers have found that people can generate 500 pounds of pressure or more when they grind their teeth together. That’s a lot of extra stress on your TMJ and on your teeth.
Adding to this issue is that many people are not aware that they are grinding their teeth. Many people this with issue actually grind or clench their teeth while they are sleeping. If you often have TMJ disorder symptoms in the morning, this may be why.
Treating TMJ Disorders At Home And At The Dentist
For minor TMJ issues, you may be able to take some steps at home to alleviate the pain you are experiencing.
First, try eating softer foods for a few days. These are easier to bite and chew and put less stress on your jaw. Second, applying moist heat can increase jaw mobility. Ice or cold packs can reduce swelling and numb pain.
These steps may provide temporary relief. If your symptoms continue or come back, Dr. Hlavac will be here to help.
Custom-made mouthguards are one of the most common treatments we can provide at our office. This is a great solution for people who clench and grind their teeth.
The mouthguard creates a barrier between your top and bottom rows of teeth, so you can’t grind them together. It also trains your jaw to rest in a slightly different position. This can alleviate the added stress on your TMJ and the surrounding muscles and ligaments.
Stop by to see us if you would like to learn more about how we could help.
Keep Your TMJ Feeling Good
Dr. Hlavac and our staff hate to see our patients in pain. We will do what we can to end your suffering, whether it’s due to a TMJ disorder, a toothache, or another oral health issue.