Beating the Daily Grind: TMJ Therapy in Dallas and Highland Park
Constant friction on metal gears causes them to wear down, crack, and break. The same physics occur in our mouths. While tooth enamel is the strongest substance in the human body, daily clenching and grinding of teeth can cause significant damage — and pain.
I’m Dr. Brock Lynn, a general dentist and Periodontist in Dallas. If you suffer from nagging headaches or migraines, recurring earaches, jaw pain, or aching teeth, you may be a bruxer — a person who grinds and clenches his teeth habitually. The pain you’re experiencing could stem from TMJ disorder.
TMJ stands for temporomandibular joints, the two joints that hold your jaw to your skull. Consistent bruxing can lead to TMJ disorder, a painful but treatable problem. When you grind your teeth, the muscles and nerves around your jaw joints become stressed. This causes moderate to excruciating pain in the head, neck, shoulders, mouth, jaws, and ears.
At your dental visit, I’ll examine your teeth for signs of wear and stress fractures caused by teeth grinding. I’ll also check your jaw joints for misalignment. While bruxism can cause TMJ disorder, the opposite is true. TMJ disorder can contribute to bruxism. Yes, it is a vicious cycle.
The good news is, modern TMJ therapy is non-invasive and often effective. If I determine that you have TMJ disorder or bruxism, I’ll recommend an oral appliance to wear while you sleep. (Most people grind their teeth at night.)
Many variations of the appliance are available, and I’ll choose the right one for your situation. A TMJ appliance will hold your jaws in proper position while you sleep so that your muscles and nerves can rest. Over time, jaw muscles may naturally reprogram to hold the jaw in proper position. Sometimes they don’t reprogram, in which case, the patient wears the TMJ or appliance indefinitely.
If you don’t yet have TMJ disorder, but you do grind your teeth, I’ll prescribe an oral appliance to eliminate grinding and clenching. It won’t reposition your jaw. This preventive measure will, however, stop you from grinding, preserve your teeth, and it could save you from developing TMJ disorder.
As for correcting the damage to worn or cracked teeth, once you no longer grind your teeth, I will provide restorative crowns as necessary.
Call Lynn Dental Care in Dallas to schedule an appointment. We serve patients of all ages from across the DFW metroplex. My team and I look forward to meeting you, listening to your issues, and helping you live a healthy, high-quality life.