Bruxism and TMJ Therapy

Research shows that over 75 percent of people in the USA grind and clench their teeth (bruxism) while sleeping. Many times, this is the result of internalizing stress.

During the COVID pandemic, the stress levels of all citizens have gone up dramatically. The number of people with broken teeth who come into the dental office has increased significantly. Some reports estimate a ten-fold upsurge. Some of these teeth can be saved, but others have to need extraction.

We do not want to see our patients lose their teeth to bruxism—a treatable condition.  

Bruxism Treatment in Lansing, MI

Bruxism causes the following symptoms to different degrees:

  • Tooth wear
  • Cavities
  • Tooth breakage
  • Tooth loss
  • Jaw pain
  • Headaches
  • Neck pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • TMJ/TMD

Fortunately, Dr. Mark Johnston can see the telltale signs during a dental exam. This wear can be found on the biting surfaces of teeth and along the gum line. You may not fully understand how the tooth can lose enamel along the gumline, but it results from the tooth flexing due to the incredible forces generated during bruxism. This loss of enamel can cause tooth sensitivity to temperature changes, sweets, or just breathing in air and that air hitting the exposed tooth.

TMJ and Bruxism Treatment in Lansing, MI

A bite splint or night guard is a dental device that fits over one arch of the mouth (upper or lower but not both) and takes the pressure off the teeth. The pressure is distributed over a larger area on the hard plastic and not absorbed by the point of contact.

Think about the pressure of a woman wearing a four-inch high heel and how much pressure is on the ball of the foot. The bite splint levels out that point pressure to a broader area. This would be the same as a person getting up on water skis; their weight is distributed over a much larger area, allowing them to flow on top of the water.

An added benefit to using a bite splint is to allows your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) to fall into a rest position. Just like if you hurt your arm, they may put your arm into a splint or put your arm into a rest position. This is what the bite splint does.

If you have TMJ, it means the joint that anchors your jaw to your skull is not functioning as it should. You may notice a clicking sound in the jaw and pain similar to that associated with bruxism.

Schedule Your Bruxism and TMJ Evaluation with Your Dentist in Lansing, MI

Your compassionate dentist never wants to see you in pain or find your teeth at risk.

Our dentist treats these conditions everywhere, including Lansing, East Lansing, Haslett, Saint Johns, and Okemos.