Palo Alto, CA
There are some dental disorders unrelated to bacteria or decay that can be destructive causing pain and discomfort. Bruxism is a subconscious yet potentially damaging condition that can be painful and expensive. TMJ dysfunction is a misalignment of the jaw joint, which can be congenital, the movement of teeth, or the result of an injury. If you are aware of the symptoms, there are steps we can recommend to prevent damage. Additionally, our staff at Palo Alto Oral Health, will look for symptoms during your oral exams. We can provide you with the tips, tools, and information to save you time in the chair as well as pain and expense.
Bruxism is an often temporary, but potentially highly destructive dental disorder. It is commonly known by the effects of grinding or the clenching of teeth while you sleep. Because bruxism is done subconsciously, patients are often unaware that they have it, but there are symptoms that both the patient and our office can look for.
Symptoms of bruxism include:
|Tension: You may wake feeling tightness or tension in your jaw. This can be from clenching your teeth for an extended period.
|Headache: Though there are many reasons a person may have a headache, patients with bruxism often wake with headaches from the tension of clenching.
|Tooth Pain: There can be multiple reasons for tooth pain, including fractures caused by clenching or sensitivity from grinding and exposing the dentin layer.
|Noise: Some patients have reported their partners hearing the noise of gnashing their teeth while they sleep.
|Fracture, Cracks and Breakage: Something that we look for during exams is the fracture, crack or breakage of your teeth. Clenching can cause anything from hairline cracks to full breakage of the teeth.
|Flattening: Grinding your teeth can wear them down. Much like sanding a surface, a patient who grinds their teeth can flatten the surface, losing their ridges for chewing.
TMJ is an abbreviation for temporomandibular joint, also known as your jaw joint. This joint is the hinge for your jaw, allowing it to open and close. This joint should be able to work effortlessly. TMJ dysfunction refers to the joint being out of alignment. The symptoms can vary greatly depending on the severity of the alignment issue. Misalignment can occur as the result of the congenital structure; this can often be corrected from orthodontia assistance. Misalignment can occur at any point due to the loss and then movement of teeth, or from an impact injury such as a car accident, fall, or act of violence.
A patient who experiences a misalignment may not be aware right away, but there are symptoms that you can look for, including:
|Jaw Joint Pain: You may experience pain or a tired feeling at your jaw joint.
|Facial Pain: Maybe less obvious, some patients may experience pain or tiredness in other areas of their face, including their cheekbones, brow, ear and even migraines.
|Popping or Clicking: The patient may feel a popping or clicking sensation in their joint.
|Inability or Open or Close: The patient may find that they are unable to fully open or close their mouth.
How We Can Help
If you are around Palo Alto and spot the symptoms of Bruxism or TMJ dysfunction, there are things we can do to help. The first goal is to provide the patient with relief. An oral splint can help. An oral splint is a dental device designed to alleviate the damage caused by bruxing and provide rest for a patient suffering from TMJ dysfunction. We can help stop additional damage and then assess if any restorations are needed from previous damage.