the O'Brien Family & Cosmetic Dentistry in Rockville, Maryland
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The Crux of Bruxism
Some patients react to stress by grinding their teeth unconsciously during the day or, more commonly, while sleeping. The constant pressure and motion can harm teeth, as well as muscles and tissues in and around the jaw. The condition, known as bruxism, can be remedied with a nightguard.

The Facts About Clenching & Grinding
Common symptoms of bruxism include a sore jaw, headaches, or earaches. Causes vary, but may include stress, anxiety, tension, misaligned teeth, posture, diet, sleeping habits, and other factors. Bruxism is most prevalent in women and generally found in about one-third of the population.

Individuals who react to stress with anger, pain, frustration, aggression, or competition are most commonly affected. People with bruxism may have other biting habits, such as biting fingernails, pencils, lips, or the insides of their cheeks.

Constant clenching and grinding of the teeth can cause not only the aforementioned symptoms, but it may also contribute to TMJ (temporomandibular joint) dysfunction, which has a long list of side effects associated with pain in the head and neck. Teeth rubbing together consistently will result in surface wear over time, which will cause dental problems. Insomnia, eating disorders, and depression can result from bruxism if left untreated.

A Solid Solution
How can you stop an unconscious habit? A thorough evaluation will allow us to check your teeth, tissues, and muscles. If we determine that you suffer from bruxism, we'll create an orthodontic appliance, also called a nightguard or splint, to prevent grinding and clenching. Many types of nightguards exist, and patients react differently to the various styles. If one appliance does not work, another may. In many cases, simply wearing a nightguard will eliminate the problem. However, if the condition persists, we can prescribe alternative therapies to correct the issue.

Some practices that can relieve symptoms of bruxism include stress and anxiety management, focused facial relaxation, massage and stretching of face and neck muscles, applying ice or wet (moist) heat, proper rest, eating soft foods, and hydrating the body. If your teeth were damaged because of bruxism, or if we find TMJ to be a factor, our team will repair and treat you to provide complete relief.

TMJ Therapy

If you suffer from chronic headaches, migraines, or facial pain, you may have a common condition known as TMJ disorder. TMJ disorder is a neuromuscular condition that results from misaligned jaw joints.  Dr. O’Brien can alleviate TMJ-related pain with a custom mouthguard.

Temporomandibular joints w ork with muscles, nerves, and tissues to ensure the mouth opens and closes smoothly. The joints are highly sensitive to physical and emotional stress, and even a slight change in your habits could throw the whole system off balance. If you notice a change in your bite or increased headaches, it could be the result of TMJ disorder.

Symptoms of TMJ disorder range from mild to severe and may include:

  • Jaw clicking or popping
  • Teeth grinding
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Neck, back, or facial pain
  • Sensitive, worn, or cracked teeth

Our doctors can relieve symptoms of TMJ disorder and restore your mouth and jaw function with a custom mouthguard. The mouthguard will be designed to hold your jaw in its optimal position. Over time, the mouthguard will realign the jaw joints, relieving chronic facial tension and restoring your bite.
In addition to a mouthguardDr. O’Brien may suggest other non-surgical therapies like facial massage or tooth rebuilding. Treatment times vary from patient to patient, but most people begin to notice a difference in about three months.

To learn more about TMJ therapy and tension-relieving mouthguards, call our office for details or to reserve your appointment today!

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Contact Information

Phone: 410-882-5552
Fax: 443-268-0466
4416 Fitch Avenue, Nottingham, Maryland 21236

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