Bruxism, TMJ Disorders, and the Daily Grind

Teeth grinding in Polk City IA

Bruxism: Not a flattering look

Do you often find yourself clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth in frustration? Does your spouse complain about the sound of your teeth grinding during sleep? Dr. Ryan Hussong, a general dentist who treats teeth grinding in Polk City, IA, tells patients that the habit isn’t all that uncommon. It is, however, very destructive. Over time, grinding damages your teeth and contributes to disorders of the temporomandibular joints, or TMDs. At Cornerstone Dental, we know how disruptive these problems can be, and how severely they affect your quality of life.

Common Symptoms of TMJ Disorders

Because TMDs produce symptoms similar to multiple conditions, many of our patients visit multiple specialists before coming to Cornerstone Dental. After multiple incorrect diagnoses, they feel frustration and anxiety. If you experience any of these symptoms, you may have a TMJ disorder:

  • Pain in the jaws, face, or neck
  • Pain in the shoulders and lower back
  • Chronic earaches
  • Migraines
  • Popping, clicking, or grinding sounds with movement of the jaws
  • Difficulty fully opening and closing your mouth

The combination of bruxism and TMJ disorders creates a dangerous, highly uncomfortable situation that affects your entire body. After your teeth lose their shape to grinding, your bite no longer holds its optimal position. This affects the joints in your jaws, stimulating nerves and muscles. During sleep, the problem becomes even more severe as you grind and clench. You awaken with stiffness, soreness, and fatigue that sometimes worsens throughout the day.

Stars With Bruxism and TMJ Disorders

George Clooney, the two-time winner of People magazine’s “Sexist Man Alive” honor, reportedly ground his teeth so badly that they became noticeably shorter. His dentist restored his smile with veneers, which helped to restore balance to his bite. A protective mouthguard worn at night protects the teeth, preventing further damage from teeth grinding.

In February 2012, country singer Leann Rimes underwent multiple surgical procedures after suffering from severe headaches and jaw pain caused by TMD. However, Dr. Hussong notes that Rimes’ case is the exception, not the rule. Only a small percentage of patients presenting with TMJ disorders require surgery, and the rest find relief from mouthpieces and other conservative, non-invasive forms of treatment. Restorative dentistry, jaw alignment, or a combination of the two methods is generally sufficient to address the problem.

Tired of gritting and grinding? If you experience TMJ/TMD symptoms, contact our Polk City dentist office at 515-984-6001 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Ryan Hussong. We serve patients living in Alkeny, Ames, Grimes, Urbandale, and surrounding communities. For the latest dental and TMJ news, follow Cornerstone Dental on Facebook.