TMJ and Nightguards

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Life can be stressful. Am I right?

Our muscles tense up when we’re stressed.   We sometimes clench our fists.  More often, we clench our shoulder, neck, and jaw muscles.  When our jaw and neck muscles tighten, our teeth clench together.  This is one of the most common physical problems that we humans suffer from in the face of stress: tightening our jaw muscles and in turn, clenching or grinding our teeth. Dentists call it “bruxism”

Bruxism can result in tooth sensitivity, tooth wear, tooth fracture, abfraction (chipping of root enamel of teeth), and formation of tori (bony protrusions around the jawbone).  It can also extend the problem to the head and neck areas: it can trigger headaches, migraines, jaw, shoulder, upper back, and neck muscle pain, and irreversible jaw clicking/locking.  The pain can even radiate to the arms and the lower back. The body is connected, after all.

Excessive bruxism can age our face. When teeth wear down, the bite between our upper and lower teeth becomes closer, making our face look wider and making our nose move closer to our chin. The excess jaw muscle activity can also make the jaw look more square or enlarged.

Bruxism is very common – whether you brux during the day (e.g. while you’re working or driving) or during sleep.  Wearing an oral appliance can protect your teeth, the jaw joint (temporomandibular joint, or TMJ), and the jaw muscles, and reduce the stress applied on the neck and back muscles.  The oral appliance, whether thin or thicker, soft or hard, can be fabricated by your providers at Lumia Dental.