Bruxism and TMJ Treatment

Waking up with headaches, sensitive teeth or migraine headaches can mean the presence of a nighttime teeth grinding habit called bruxism. Bruxism leads to a number of severe oral health conditions, not to mention that you might feel fatigued or worn out throughout the day because your jaw is working overtime.

Other signs that Dr Nick Malamas will look for when diagnosing bruxism:

  • Bite marks along the insides of cheeks
  • Muscle tension in the face, jaw and neck
  • Uneven wear patterns on teeth
  • Cracked, chipped or broken teeth
  • Bony growths beneath the tongue
  • Teeth movement and misalignment
  • Gum recession

Diagnosing Jaw Joint Disorders

When left untreated, bruxism often leads to TMJ, temporomandibular joint (jaw joint), disorders and deterioration of the joint condyles, causing the jaws to click, pop or lock when opening and closing the mouth, especially when chewing and yawning.

Signs of TMJ Dysfunction (TMD)

In addition to clicking and popping jaws, some patients report:

  • Headaches and migraines
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Neck, shoulder and back pain
  • Daytime fatigue
  • Sleep apnoea
  • Discomfort when chewing
  • Tension in the jaw, forehead and temples

Because the muscles become inflamed, the jaw is unable to sit comfortably in the joints and causes pain, swelling and deterioration. Relaxing the muscles can lead to improved comfort and function.

What Causes Teeth Grinding and TMD?

While the cause of teeth grinding and TMD cannot always be identified, some factors contribute to the development of these conditions.

  • Misaligned teeth
  • Orthodontic relapse
  • Growth and development disorders
  • Alcohol and tobacco use
  • Certain medications
  • Caffeine consumption
  • Stress and anxiety

We work closely with patients to manage lifestyle choices within their control to minimise teeth grinding. We also sometimes recommend a sleep analysis to rule out sleep apnoea, which is closely linked to teeth grinding. Relaxation exercises and stress management can also help.

Treatment of Bruxism and TMD

In addition to instructions for relaxing jaw joints and making lifestyle adjustments, a bruxism nightguard can protect teeth and help the jaw achieve ideal alignment to allow muscle inflammation to decrease. Nightguards also place a protective barrier between upper and lower teeth to prevent wear and fractures while you sleep.

A nightguard designed by Dr Malamas is superior to the store-bought varieties, as it is custom-designed. It has a smaller profile so it is more comfortable to wear and easier to breathe during sleep. Occasional adjustments and repairs to the oral appliance might be necessary to protect teeth.

Is Jaw Pain Keeping You Awake at Night?

We invite you to get in touch with Clifton Hill Dental to arrange a consultation with Dr Malamas. He will discuss your condition and treatment recommendations to protect your teeth and help you sleep comfortably.