Archive for the ‘TMJ Dentist’ Category

What Causes Teeth Grinding?

Posted on: September 16th, 2018 by Sam Khammar

What Are The Causes of Teeth Grinding?

Teeth grinding, or Bruxism is the term for describing teeth grinding when you are not chewing. The teeth brush against each other with the forward, backward, or sideways movement of the jaw. In most cases, the person is not aware of the activity.

Teeth clenching happens when a person keeps their teeth against each other with clenched muscles without jaw movement. It is common to see people grinding or clenching their teeth during the daytime, but most cases of bruxism occur when the person is sleeping. Sleep-related bruxism is problematic because it is more difficult to manage. It is a common sleep disorder and considered unmindful neuromuscular activity.

Effects of Teeth Grinding

Continually grinding the teeth degrades teeth structure and may cause them to become stunted, fractured, or blunted. This effect of clenching is a result of repeated pressure on the tissues, muscles, and the structures surrounding the jaw. Grinding the teeth against each other may cause:

  • Temporomandibular joint dysfunction
  • Myofascial muscle ache
  • Headaches
  • Arthritis of the temporomandibular joint
  • Sore Gums
  • The clicking of jaw joints
  • Loose, sensitive, or broken teeth
  • Jaw pain and stiffness

The person may also experience an earache, partially because the temporomandibular joint structure is near the ear canal. Referral pain may also occur, where the person experiences pain in a different area from its origin. Other possible signs are depression, insomnia, anxiety, and eating disorders. The noise may also disturb people sleeping close by. In extreme cases, teeth grinding may damage the occlusal top of the teeth, especially the molars. This may aid temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome.

Possible Causes of Bruxism

Although it is hard to pinpoint the primary cause of bruxism, multiple factors may contribute to the situation. Kids often grind their teeth after their first teeth erupt, and when developing permanent teeth. The act typically stops when their permanent teeth have fully developed.

Stress also contributes to clenching and grinding, especially when the person is experiencing anxiety, anger, or trying to concentrate. Studies have shown an increase in heart rate and brain activity before teeth grinding starts, which means the central nervous system is also a contributor. Missing or crooked teeth may also lead to teeth grinding, mostly caused by irritation. The side effects of some medications such as amphetamines, antipsychotics, and antidepressants may include teeth grinding. Bruxism may be a result of neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease or Huntington’s disease.

That is not all…

Some experts believe teeth grinding may also be due to an abnormal bite when the teeth do not align correctly when closing the jaw. An occlusal discrepancy is a term to describe teeth misalignment. However, this theory has no scientific backing. Other contributing factors are alcohol consumption, sleep apnea, snoring, and fatigue. In some people, the facial muscles spasm during sleep. In kids, bruxism may be their reaction to teething pain or dissatisfaction. Kids with ADD/ADHD may also grind their teeth.

Final Note

Teeth grinding is common among kids and rarer in adults, especially those above 65 years. The dentist may recommend mouth guard, splint, or jaw alignment to curb bruxism.

Request a dental appointment here: https://www.samkhammardds.com or call Sam Khammar DDS at (609) 242-3464 for an appointment in our Forked River dental office.


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Important TMJ FAQ’s

Posted on: May 16th, 2018 by Sam Khammar

The temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, is one of the most important and sensitive joints in the human body. The TMJ connects the jaw and temporal bones of your skull.  You can feel it moving if you put your fingers on the jaw in front of your ears. It helps to move the jaw sideways and up and down.

What Is TMJ syndrome?

TMJ is a sensitive joint that can sustain damage due to any injury or disease. The damages will lead to pain in the joint and surrounding areas. The pain and stiffness in the joint are known as TMJ syndrome.

What are the causes?

The causes of TMJ disorder may result from excessive nail biting, gum chewing, degenerative joint diseases, trauma/injury to the mouth, poor posture, stress, teeth grinding or rheumatoid arthritis.

Who is at risk?

TMJ disorder is a common problem that occurs mostly between the ages of 20 to 40; women are 4 times more prone to this syndrome.

What are the symptoms of TMJ disorder?

There are a lot of symptoms of TMJ disorder from stiffness, headaches, dizziness, ear ache, clicking sounds when eating and talking, difficulty in chewing, popping sound in the ear, sore jaw muscles, or pain in the temple, neck or shoulder.

What is the treatment for TMJ?

While TMJ is quite easy to treat through home remedies, people need to seek professional medical treatments if home remedies are ineffective. In extreme cases a joint replacement surgery might be the solution of TMJ disorder.

What are the home remedies for TMJ?

Home remedies can treat normal cases of TMJ easily, the home remedies include,

  • Applying cold packs or heat pack to the affected joint

  • Relaxation techniques such as massage can also release stress

  • Eating soft foods will prevent further stress build up

  • Aroma therapy or massage of some essential oils like lavender can also relax muscles and provide pain relief

What are medical treatments of TMJ syndrome?

Medical treatments for TMJ include physiotherapy, splint therapy, pain relieving medication, and arthroscopy. In rare cases, joint replacement surgery may be the treatment of choice.

What is splint therapy?

A splint is a mouth guard or a bite guard that one wears over teeth to prevent grinding, clenching of the jaw and other movements that can set off TMJ. The splint can be soft or hard after we customize it for the patient's needs.

When the patient wears the splint, it relaxes the muscles in the mouth and also prevents teeth from other side effects of grinding. The splint supports the bite in the most favorable position to release tension in the jaw.

In which cases surgery is required?

In severe cases of TMJ, surgery might be necessary. There are two types of surgeries:

TMJ arthroscopy is a minor invasive surgery that can take place in a dental clinic. The recovery time is only one week.

Sometimes a total joint replacement is necessary as the last resort for treating TMJ syndrome. An oral surgeon will carry out this surgery that may require four to six weeks to heal.

Request a TMJ dental appointment here: https://www.samkhammardds.com or call Sam Khammar DDS at (609) 242-3464 for an appointment in our Forked River dental office.


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