Teeth Grinding, TMJ Issues, and Night Guard

Some of us know a "joint" to be like a "ball-in-a-socket" where there is a nook where the ball shaped object sits in and can roll around in it. 

The TMJ is also a joint and is a part of our head and neck. It is made up mainly of the upper jaw, lower jaw, articular discs (like cartilage), and joint fluid. It is like our knee joint and shoulder joint, but is able to do a different movement called "translation" during wide opening. This is when the lower jaw portion of the joint (the ball) slides out of the upper jaw portion of the join (the socket). Obviously, a dislocated knee or shoulder is not good. But the lower jaw slipping out of and back into the joint space is just a regular occurrence to the TMJ when you open your mouth wide and close. If you place your fingers directly in front of your ear slightly above our earlobe area, and open wide, then close, you can feel this happening .

One thing that can happen, though, is the jaw getting stuck and unable to sink back into the joint space after opening wide. If you have ever experienced this, this could mean you have TMD - TemporoMandibular Dysfunction - and it is important to seek a Dentist for help. Another symptom to look out for is any clicking/popping/or grinding noises or feeling in that area. This could mean degeneration of the discs/cartilage due a grinding or clenching habit of the teeth, or just an imbalance in the way your teeth come together. You should seek professional help with the Dentist to consult further about the problem. 
 

Author
Dr. Hyun S. Bang, D.D.S. Doctor of Dental Surgery Loma Linda University 2008

You Might Also Enjoy...

Straight Teeth Are Healthy Teeth: Why Alignment Matters

When your teeth are crooked or your bite is out of balance, your smile and self-confidence suffer — as does your dental health. Straightening your teeth makes you more attractive and prevents decay, damage, and pain caused by misaligned teeth.

The Dangers of Untreated Gum Disease

Gum disease can go from bad to worse very quickly if it’s not treated, leaving you with long-lasting complications that range from tooth loss to potentially contributing to dementia.

What your Sleep Dentist Sees

One of the first things I see that alerts me that my patient may have Sleep Apnea is Bruxism. This may or may not be related to Sleep Apnea. But there are other signs besides signs of teeth grinding and clenching. See the below.