TMJ and Bruxism Erie, PA

Woman with Jaw Pain | Lake Erie Dental

Do you experience severe headaches or neck or shoulder pain in the morning despite going to bed at a reasonable hour? Are you noticing that your teeth are wearing down and becoming sensitive? If so, you might be dealing with TMJ or bruxism.

TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder) and bruxism (teeth grinding or clenching) can be painful dental conditions that negatively impact your quality of life. Everything in our body is connected, so injury and infection in one area can create stress or discomfort in another area.

Dr. Kevin Sambuchino and his Erie, PA dental staff can help you address your TMJ and bruxism pain by using advanced dental technology and reliable methods. TMJ can be so severe that it can limit how wide you can open your mouth, which means that daily and necessary activities like brushing, flossing, and chewing can be painful and challenging.

Call Lake Erie Dental if you think you might be suffering from a TMJ disorder, or you suspect you grind your teeth. Dr. Kevin Sambuchino can talk to you about ways to relieve your symptoms for good.

What Is TMD?

People may use the terms TMJ and TMD interchangeably, but they refer to different conditions. TMJ refers to your jaw joint pain, while TMD means your jaw joint is not functioning the way it should.

Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) involve complications with your joints, jaw and facial muscles, jaw bone, and nerves. All components are part of a complex and delicate process that works together to allow you to bite, chew, talk, and open your mouth. Any issue with these parts is referred to as TMD. 

What Is TMJ?

The temporomandibular joints TMJ is like a sliding hinge that connects your upper and lower jaw, enabling it to move in various directions. A healthy TMJ is flexible, enabling people to speak, chew, and yawn without discomfort. When the joint becomes misaligned or inflamed, this can restrict movement or make movement painful.

If you are suffering from jaw joint pain or pain near your oral cavity, you should schedule an appointment with us at Lake Erie Dental. 

The first thing Dr. Sambuchino will do during your evaluation is to ask about your symptoms, any medications or supplements you might be taking, and whether you are under a lot of stress. He will examine the TMJ and listen to it as it opens and closes. Often there is a clicking sound that accompanies TMJ disorders. He may also order a set of x-rays to get a better view of the joint. If you have a TMJ disorder, treatment can begin immediately, and symptoms should ease up soon after.

Common Symptoms of TMJ

There are many different ways TMJ can present, but if you notice that any of the following apply to you, please give Lake Erie Dental a call today.

  • Severe pain in your jaw joint that ripples out to your neck, shoulders, temples, and ears
  • Clicks or pops any time you open your mouth
  • Pain during biting and chewing
  • Consistent morning headaches
  • Jaw locks whenever you open your mouth

Dr. Sambuchino is highly experienced in treating TMJ and TMD disorders. Using modern dental technology like our 3-D Cone-Beam CT Scan, we can quickly diagnose TMJ and other dental disorders.

Our 3-D Cone-Beam CT Scan takes instant three-dimensional scans of your entire oral cavity, including your teeth, gums, soft tissues, nerves, and jaw bone. Dr. Sambuchino can also use the CT scanner to precisely place dental implants, perform dental extractions and diagnose other oral health issues. 

Are you in pain whenever you yawn, bite down, or open your mouth? Do you have severe headaches that don’t seem to have any reasonable explanation? Call your Erie dentist today at (814) 864-7511 to schedule a TMJ appointment with Dr. Sambuchino.

How We Treat TMJ

When you come to Lake Erie Dental for your TMJ appointment with Dr. Sambuchino, we will take a look at your symptoms and use dental technology to take high-quality images of your mouth and surrounding areas to see if there is any damage or injury to your jaw joint. Once we determine how severe the disorder is, we can come up with a dependable treatment plan.

Treating TMJ can involve multiple approaches that heal your discomfort and attack your symptoms. We may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication and pain relievers to help with treating TMJ.

If you are experiencing swelling or constant pain, you can apply heat and ice directly to your jaw hinge to temporarily relieve discomfort. We may recommend nightguards, or oral splints, as a non-surgical treatment while you sleep. The oral splint is placed in your mouth and prevents your teeth from touching, which disperses any pressure in your jaw joint and allows inflammation to heal. Many patients report that nightguards can lessen symptoms and relieve pain. Surgery may be an option for severe conditions that cannot be treated with oral splints. 

What Is Bruxism?

Bruxism is an oral health condition that includes grinding or clenching your teeth. Erie patients can clench their teeth during the day without being aware of what they are doing.

Many people grind and clench their teeth while sleeping. They are usually unaware they are doing it until they start to wake up with sore jaw muscles and a headache. Bruxism during your sleep is often connected to other sleep conditions, like sleep apnea. Left unchecked, teeth grinding can wear down the teeth and cause them to become loose. Eventually, bruxism has the potential to destroy the jawbone, teeth, and gums. It can also lead to TMJ issues.

Common symptoms for bruxism include:

  • Grinding your teeth
  • Broken or chipped teeth
  • Tooth pain
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Sore jaw, face, or neck
  • Unable to sleep
  • Earaches Older TMJ Patients | Lake Erie Dental
  • Headaches
  • Worn down enamel

If you are not sure if you suffer from bruxism, your Erie dentist can make an accurate diagnosis by looking at the state of your teeth.

How Is Bruxism Treated?

Dr. Sambuchino can recommend the appropriate treatment for your bruxism based on its cause. Some of the solutions to bruxism include:

  • Wearing an appliance similar to a mouthguard while sleeping. This will prevent your upper and lower teeth from grinding together.
  • Learning ways you can relax on a day-to-day basis. Bruxism is often the result of stress, and eliminating the source of stress can often stop the habit. We might also recommend counseling.
  • Reducing high spots in your mouth that might be preventing your teeth from coming together properly. An uneven bite can cause there to be an overt amount of pressure on some of your teeth.

Get Treatment for TMJ Disorders and Bruxism

You don’t have to live with pain every day.

Call Lake Erie Dental to make an appointment for an examination today to find out if you are suffering from a TMJ disorder or bruxism! There is no reason to live with constant dental discomfort.

Many times, discomfort can be a sign of underlying oral health issues that will only get worse. Any time you experience dental pain, give us a call immediately so we can treat problems while they are in the early stages.