Jaw & Joint Pain

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Bruxism is the process whereby for a variety of different reasons people tend to generate excessive biting forces in either a vertical and/or horizontal direction. these forces which can be 10 x the magnitude of normal chewing forces result in significant wear and reduction in tooth height and fractures of the teeth. Treatment options are varied and include bite splints and techniques to protect the teeth.

See below for more information

A common source of oral and facial pain is the phenomenon known as bruxism (excessive grinding and/or clenching).

This condition presents in many different ways ranging from acute pain in the Temporal Mandibular joints, ears, pain in the muscles on the side of the jaw bones; headaches and neck aches, pain in the teeth. Often there is no pain at all but either you or the dentist might notice cracks in the teeth, shortening or chipping of the front teeth, and very commonly fractures of the cusps of the back teeth.

The pain may come and go or be constant and the intensity ranges from mild to severe. It can impact on work, family and social activities.

We are not entirely sure why some people clench or grind their teeth but it is thought to be an oral gratification habit which intensifies when we are stressed. Another viewpoint is that it is an unconscious attempt to position our mandibles (lower jaw bone) into a more forward position so as to open our airways better when we sleep.

There are many different types of bite splints but the two Types that we tend to recommend most at Dental loving care are the NTI {see attached brochure] or the Michigan Style splint.

Night guards or bite splints look similar to mouth guards but are made of a high impact acrylic as opposed to a rubber base.

They protect the teeth’s surfaces from further wear and absorb a large part of the stresses generated when the teeth clench. They also may relieve any pressure on the TMJ.

Mouth splints are usually worn at night and cover the upper or lower teeth. They may be used long term.

We custom make splints at Dental loving care and adjust to suit individual patients comfort.

In addition to splint therapy it is sometimes necessary to refer patients for physiotherapy or a relaxation program to help stop grinding and clenching.