Stop grinding the night away: invest in a splint today!
Are you or a loved one grinding teeth at night? Did you know that most cases of teeth grinding (80%) occur subconsciously during sleep?
If you answered yes to the above, you may we suffering from TMD. However don’t fret you are not alone. Here at New England Dental in Armidale we have helped a variety of patients by properly diagnosing, managing and treating TMD.
What is TMD?
Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD) causes serious pain and dysfunction in the jaw joint (Temporomandibular joint) that connects the upper jaw (maxilla) to the lower jaw (mandible). The muscles that encompass the jaw joint control the position and movement of the jaw. When the jaw joint is relaxed, balanced and functioning properly (giving us the ability to bite and chew, talk and yawn), the lower jaw glides smoothly moving up, down, and side-to-side. However, when the jaw is misaligned – where the jaw muscles, ligaments, discs and bones are not working as they should, this could potentially be a sign of TMD.
What are the symptoms of TMD?
As TMD has a variety of signs and symptoms which can also be related to other health issues, which can make it difficult to determine whether patient’s symptoms are directly related to their temporomandibular joint.
At New England Dental we conduct a thorough clinical examination of your jaw and mouth to diagnose your symptoms, taking a complete medical and dental history with appropriate X-rays. If needed, A CT scan may also be utilised to provide very detailed images of the bones involved in the joint and an MRI scan can show issues with the joint’s disk.
While we recommend visiting us for a professional diagnoses, if you have a combination of the following symptoms you may be suffering from TMD:
- Pain or strain behind the eyes.
- Headaches approximately 80% of patients with a TMJ disorder suffer from headaches.
- Spasm and/or tightening in the back of the neck, shoulders, or face.
- Neck pain and ear aches – 40% complain of facial pain or neck pain.
- Fullness of the ears, a sensation of clogged or muffled ears.
- Pain upon yawning, opening the mouth widely or chewing.
- Locked jaw or a sensation of your jaw feeling “stuck” for a moment.
- A change in the way the upper and lower teeth fit together ( your bite feels unconfutable).
- Crepitus popping or grating sounds in the joint.
- Dizziness, approximately 40% of TMD patients report dizziness or loss of balance.
How to treat TMD?
Patients can rest assured that there are certainly a variety of self-care techniques and non-invasive treatments which you can implement to dramatically reduce your symptoms.
As TMD can be caused by Bruxism (clenching of the jaw or grinding of the teeth) or stress, wearing a night guard, commonly known as a mouth splint can help control muscle tension and reduce the pain.
Wear a bite plate or splint to reduce the pain…
At your appointment here at New England Dental we will mould a custom-made splint to fit your mouth. The splint slips over the upper teeth and keeps them from grinding your lower teeth. Night guards are a great way for ‘bruxers’ to reduce health problems caused by clenching and grinding, but the benefits don’t stop there!
Wearing a night guard can also help:
- Improve breathing.
- Ease aching in neck and shoulders.
- Reduce headaches.
- Reduce tension in jaw muscles.
- Protect teeth and dental work from damage caused by clenching and grinding.
It is important to note that many of our patients here at New England Dental have had success with the use of a splint/night guard. One thing we can most certainly recommend to help reduce the pain is to avoid stressful situations which can cause teeth grinding—this can often trigger TMD symptoms.
While TMD is not life threatening it can most certainly cause you a lifetime of suffering. Through appropriate diagnosis and treatment, here at New England Dental Group in Armidale we make it our number one priority to ensure you are able to enjoy the quality of life you deserve by reducing your unnecessary pain and discomfort caused by TMD.