Ten million Americans suffer from the painful condition known as temporomandibular disorders (TMD). These disorders affect the facial muscles and or the jaw joint and can cause pain and other symptoms in the ears, neck face and head. Among common symptoms of TMD are: a clicking or popping sound in the jaw, aching facial pain or face fatigue, headaches and ear pain and stuffiness. In fact, many people are surprised to learn that people with TMD do not always suffer jaw pain. Instead misalignments of the jaw and bite can produce painful inflammation causing all the earlier mentioned issues. Cases of TMD are usually diagnosed by a dentist who may do disk manipulation to temporarily eliminate the pain or make a bite plate appliance to help with tooth grinding. About five per cent of sufferers may need surgery to get relief.
So what causes TMD? Even slight misalignments of the jaw can cause aching pain because of the constant movement of the jaw as we speak, chew and relax and tighten facial muscles. Another common cause of TMD is bruxism. This is when people grind their teeth while sleeping. Some people get only occasional pain from bruxism while others are chronic teeth-grinders which can cause long-term damage to teeth and gums.
So what can be done to deal with these painful side-effects of bruxism? Of course, you should work with your dentist who can evaluate your bite and the height and tooth positions and make whatever adjustments are needed to relieve discomfort. This may include grinding down a tooth or adding height with a crown. Your dentist may do disk manipulation or custom-make you a bite plate appliance.
In addition, you can relieve bruxism by finding ways to manage the stress that exacerbates teeth grinding. Relaxation tips such as massage therapy, biofeedback and hypnotherapy can be helpful. Hypnosis can be a valuable tool to provide relaxation and relieve the chronic stress. Manage your stress, relieve bruxism, BE WELL.