Some patients will come, they'll complain, 'Hey this ... my jaw pops a little bit or I get some headaches. ' So, a lot of times I can be an interference. I can be an interference where jaw moves one way and it's hitting a tooth awkwardly or straight down. You hear about TMJ, TMD issues, a lot of times that's driven by that interference. In our office, we have something called a T-scan or Tech scan where it's literally how many times, if you ever been to a dentist you get a new crown, they put a carbon paper between your teeth or a filling, you tap tap on it, leaves a little blue mark and we grind it down. If it's a TMJ or TMD issue and there's really ... even if you sometimes get a new crown, all of sudden you start having these problems, that blue mark on those teeth only does one thing, it shows that it marks there, it doesn't show the intensity that it's marking there. With this T-scan it's hooked to the computer, it's got a software program we put in the mouth. You tap your teeth together, slide them back and forth, and it's gonna show me where the intensity is. It's amazing sometimes all the intensity may be on the left side of the mouth, make a few adjustments ... bingo, the pains gone, the teeth are landing differently and you can eliminate that TMJ, TMD issue. Some patients will have a hot tooth, that we call it, where every time they bite on that tooth, it hurts. It may not be cracked, it may just be simply the way they're hitting it. That's a equilibration, you just mark it, find out the intensity, and make those adjustments. Sometimes teeth will wear differently, now you're putting stress on another tooth, simply just make a little adjustment. Usually very minimal, painless, and you can do away with a lot of those problems.
Do you grind your teeth in your sleep? Telltale signs that you may do so include:
- An aching jaw
- Chronic headaches
In addition to these painful symptoms, chronic teeth grinding can damage your teeth.
League City, TX dentist Dr. J. Derek Tieken and our capable team can provide a special test for bruxism – the medical term for teeth grinding or clenching. The test measures how much you clench or grind your teeth. If you suffer from bruxism, we can relieve your pain and save your teeth by providing you with a custom-made night guard.
Think you might have bruxism? Call Tieken Smiles Dentistry at 281-942-6615.
Teeth Grinding and TMJ
Your temporomandibular joint (or TMJ) is the scientific name for the joint that connects your jawbone to your skull. A number of factors, including tooth grinding, can cause a TMJ disorder (TMD). Some symptoms include:
- An aching jaw
- Difficulty or pain while chewing
- Locking of your joint, making it tough to open or close your mouth
- A clicking sound or grating sensation when you open your mouth
A Custom Night Guard Can Help
Wearing a custom night guard relieves the pressure being put on your TMJ and gives it a chance to heal. Headache sufferers also can get relief by wearing a night guard, since tooth grinding can cause chronic headaches.
For headaches, we might also suggest orthodontics to correct any bite issues contributing to TMJ.
Repairing Teeth Grinding Damage
Over time, teeth grinding wears down your teeth. Grinding can even crack, break, or loosen teeth. Fortunately, our cosmetic dentistry and restorative dentistry services can repair your teeth, restoring their appearance and function. We may use:
- Dental veneers. These thin porcelain “shells” are custom made to fit over the entire front surface of your teeth, strengthening and beautifying them. They can be used to repair minor cracks or chips, and they can also make ground-down teeth look longer.
- Dental crowns. For more severe cracks or breaks, a porcelain dental crown covers your whole tooth, fortifying it against further damage.
As a member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, Dr. Tieken has proven expertise in cosmetic dentistry. You can trust him to fix your teeth!