Man with jaw pain caused by bruxism

Alleviate Bruxism With a Custom Mouth Guard

Do you constantly wake up with headaches, sore teeth, or jaw pain? You may be suffering from bruxism. A custom mouth guard could help alleviate your symptoms and improve your overall quality of life. Your teeth and all your oral and maxillofacial structures are designed to work together harmoniously for optimal oral health. When one element is not functioning as it should, it can cause a domino effect of issues. Preventative care is key for a long-lasting and healthy smile. At Platinum Dental Care near Bathurst and Lawrence, our doctors offer a wide array of dental services. Today, we will explore bruxism and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, and discuss how a custom oral appliance can help reduce the symptoms associated with these conditions.

About Bruxism

Bruxism is a condition in which someone clenches or grinds his or her teeth. While bruxism is most common during sleep, it can happen at any point during the waking hours as well, particularly under stressful circumstances. Grinding or clenching places excessive pressure on the teeth, gums, and surrounding tissues. If left untreated, bruxism can lead to severe tooth erosion, in which the surfaces of the teeth become worn down. This can cause significant changes to the bite, ultimately leading to TMJ issues.

Symptoms Of Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding can manifest in numerous ways. You may suffer from bruxism if you notice:

  •  You wake up during the night with a clenched jaw
  •  Flat, broken, or mobile teeth
  •  Enamel erosion
  •  Tooth sensitivity or pain
  •  Lockjaw
  • Soreness in the jaw or orofacial structures
  • Headaches
  • You chew the inside of your cheeks

There is no single known cause of bruxism. However, some of the most common risk factors include:

  • Stress or anxiety
  • Certain medications
  • A genetic predisposition

About TMJ Disorder

Bruxism and TMJ disorder can occur as two separate conditions, and they often do. However, the two can sometimes go hand in hand, depending on the situation. For example, if the teeth have eroded due to bruxism, it can result in problems with the TMJ. Any malady of the TMJ is referred to as temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). This occurs anytime the jaw joints are in an abnormal position, or when the articular disc that cushions the joint becomes displaced or eroded.

TMD Symptoms

anatomy of jaw and TMJ pain

The signs of TMD can be vast and varied. For example, you may experience:

  • Difficulty chewing
  • Orofacial aches and pains
  • Tenderness in the jaw, face, neck, or shoulders
  • Earaches
  • Headaches

We know that TMD is the result of a displaced or eroded articular disc, as mentioned above. However, what causes this to occur in the first place? Some common risk factors include:

  • Jaw trauma or injury
  • Chronic bruxism
  • Arthritis
  • Connective tissue disorders

How Does a Custom Mouth Guard Work?

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, ask your dentist if a custom oral appliance could work for you. These mouth guards fit over the teeth and keep the upper and lower jaws slightly separated. In some cases, the appliance can even place the lower jaw in a more favourable position. This will not only cushion the teeth, but it will also alleviate the discomfort associated with jaw problems.

To fabricate a custom mouth guard, your dentist will simply take impressions of your teeth and send them to our trusted dental lab. There, a skilled lab technician will craft your new appliance. We will see you in our office to make sure the guard fits well, and give you detailed instructions on how long to wear it. Many of our patients have reduced their pain significantly with this conservative treatment option.

Book Your Jaw Pain and TMD Treatment In Toronto

To find out if you are a candidate for a custom mouth guard, schedule a consultation at our Toronto, ON dental practice.