As an orofacial and TMJ dentist, I spend a considerable amount of time with patients who grind or clench their teeth during the day and/or at night. Bruxism is the medical term to characterize grinding or clenching of the upper and lower jaw. Though we do not completely understand the etiology behind nocturnal bruxism (grinding or clenching at night) in all patients, we know that certain behaviors, medications and conditions may predispose an individual to nocturnal bruxism.
Patients often present complaining they have TMJ, but the truth is they are not using the correct terminology. TMJ is an acronym for the temporomandibular joint, and you don’t just have one, you have two! The TMJ is the joint that connects the mandible (lower jaw) to the skull or more precisely the temporal bone. Every person has a right and left TMJ. Often, when people say they have TMJ, they are incorrectly referring to temporomandibular mandibular joint disorder (TMD). TMD
TMJ related orofacial pain is extremely common and uncomfortable. Do you identify with these symptoms? 1) Waking up with headaches is a daily occurrence. 2) Your cheeks and temples are tender and sore. 3) Sometimes it is painful to close your mouth. 4) You can't even think about biting down on a bagel. 5) Your bite feels off and funny. 6) Your neck feels sore and sometimes the pain radiates to your back. 7) It hurts to yawn. 8) It hurts to talk. 9) It hurts to chew. 10) It hu
Yes! You read that correctly. Hold on, Hold on. I'm confused. Okay, let me explain. Like every area of your body, your face is lined by muscles, including the muscles that support and line your jaw. Specifically, the masseters are muscles in the face that are important in opening your jaw. If you exercise or over-work them, they will change in size and shape, just like if you work out your biceps. Using your masseters normally, like using your arms normally, will not affect
Interestingly, orofacial pain sufferers are predominantly women. Why? We don't completely understand, but one proposed theory relates to the hormone estrogen. Studies indicate that estrogen levels may be associated with varying levels of inflammation associated with the temporomandibular joints (TMJ). Additionally, female jaw muscles are more prone to injury and exhaustion as they actually receive less blood flow and thus less oxygen. So? What's the significance with less oxy