Are you waking up each day with jaw or neck pain or headaches? You might be unconsciously grinding your teeth while you sleep. Known as bruxism, teeth-grinding is a fairly common condition, but most people are unaware they are even doing it. Usually, their sleep partner alerts them, or their dentist observes that their teeth are damaged or worn.

Another cause of chronic headaches or jaw pain could be from a temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). This is commonly referred to as TMJ because it refers to the joint between the upper and lower jaws that allow the mouth to open and close. When this joint becomes inflamed, it can cause numerous problems.

You don’t have to live with the pain caused by these conditions. Getting an accurate TMJ or bruxism diagnosis at Ricardo Suarez, DDS can mean treatment that will end your suffering for good and let you return to your regular routine. Contact our West Covina, CA dental office so we can help find solutions to your TMJ or teeth grinding problems.

Signs of Teeth Grinding and Clenching

Since bruxism is an unconscious habit, people don’t know they are grinding or clenching their teeth. Most people who do it are usually asleep or focused on a task at the time. Sometimes the grinding or clenching can be so loud, it wakes up their sleep partner.

Signs and symptoms might include:

  • Worn teeth that become fractured, chipped, or loose
  • Tooth enamel that is so worn that the deeper layers of the tooth are exposed
  • Tooth pain and sensitivity
  • Sore jaw muscles
  • Difficulty opening and closing the mouth
  • Chronic pain in the jaw, neck, ears, or head
  • Headaches or earaches
  • Disrupted sleep

Signs of TMJ Disorders

TMJ disorder symptoms can vary widely, but they often include the following:

  • A feeling like the jaw joint is locked, making it tough to chew, speak, or yawn
  • A clicking sound in the jaw joint
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Pain in the neck, shoulders, or ears
  • Teeth grinding and clenching
  • Being unable to bite down properly

Solutions for TMJ and Bruxism

Finding a way to relieve your symptoms starts with a thorough dental examination along with x-rays to determine whether the TMJ is inflamed. At our West Covina, CA dental office, Dr. Suarez will also do a thorough medical history to help discover the root cause of the pain in order to guide treatment options. Proper diagnosis is essential to reduce pain.

Patients are often surprised at how easily their chronic pain can be eliminated with simple lifestyle changes that might include relaxation techniques and jaw massage. For some patients, they find that wearing a custom nightguard while sleeping can prevent the teeth grinding, which gets rid of their chronic pain. A bite adjustment is another option because when the upper and lower jaws meet correctly, this can eliminate the pressure on the joint.

Call Ricardo Suarez, DDS, to find out more about treatment for TMJ and bruxism that can end your pain for good.