Bruxism Caused By Social Anxiety

bruxismSome recent studies have shown that bruxism, teeth grinding, can be caused by anxiety experienced in social circumstances. Bruxism can cause tooth wear and even fractures in teeth as well as jaw pain.

Some people may be prone to biting their nails when faced with uncomfortable circumstances or in social situations that are out of their comfort zones. It is now found that many people suffer from teeth grinding in these same situations.  The research studied men and women who had suffered from social phobia.  Some were on medications to help with these disorders. Some were not.  And some did not suffer from social phobia.  The subjects underwent psychiatric and dental exams.

See the outcome of the research here: Nail biters, beware: Teeth grinding is next – Medical News Today.

How To Recognize TMJ Problem?

Our face has just one pair of joints; the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). It is a ball-and-socket type of joint. The ball part is formed by the condylar process of the mandible or the lower jaw. And the socket is formed by the temporal bone of the skull. This joint keeps the lower jaw linked to the skull. The proper anatomy and functioning of this joint is crucial as it is associated with an individual’s nutrition. The joint helps in vital functions like chewing and speech.

When there is pain or the functioning of the TMJ does not occur properly you may be having some problem that is known as TMD (Temporomandibular Joint Disorders). These problems should never be taken lightly and you should approach your dentist for the appropriate management.

The problem is to recognize if you are having TMD or is your pain due to some other problem. The symptoms of TMD are quite similar to those that you feel during an ear infection or a toothache. The usual symptoms of TMD include the following:

  • Clicking or popping sound when you try to open your mouth
  • Pain while opening your mouth even slightly
  • Pain on the cheeks, in the ear region or jaw muscles.

It has been seen that people going to an ENT specialist for earaches have been referred to a dentist as the problem may not be of the ear at all. The pain experience in TMD radiates to the ears making it impossible to recognize. Your dentist, with the help of his index finger and thumb, is able to palpate the area of the joint and diagnose if the problem is related to the TMJ or not.

Earlier the treatment modalities for TMD were quite different and aggressive. Treatment measures like orthodontics, teeth restorations or surgeries were required for the treatment of TMD. Today, the case is slightly different as there are many better options available for managing TMD. Conservative methods like mild stretching of involved muscles, application of heat or cold or alternate application of both of them, a shift to soft solids or liquid diet for some time and administration of painkillers or muscle relaxants. There are modalities like TENS that stimulate the nerves of the affected area. These physiotherapeutic procedures can be used in conjunction with the rest of them. Only if these methods fail to produce a positive result should one think of going for more aggressive treatment options.

Correct Posture to Avoid Frequent Headaches or Jaw Pain

correct posturePeople suffer from headaches and joint pain for various reasons. If you are someone that suffers from headaches or lower jaw pain, the cause could be in your facial muscles together with the ones close to the joint situated on both  sides of the head (the temporomandibular joint), which control the lower jaw’s movement. This muscular pain could be ultimately arising because of an imbalance in the position of the head on the spine due to either a curved or slumped posture. According to the dental experts, correct posture is important, yet few people are aware of how posture affects their oral health.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD)

In case you are among those people who suffer from headaches and pain in their lower jaw from time to time, your poor posture is likely to be the culprit. The AGD (Academy of General Dentistry), which dedicates itself to continuing dental education, suggests that you consult your dentist about this condition which is known as TMD (Temporomandibular Disorder).

Poor posture puts the spine in a position that strains the jaw joint. Any time people stoop or hunch over, the lower jaw tends to shift forward. This causes the upper and lower teeth to not fit together appropriately and the skull moves back on the spinal column. This will cause a change in the bite, with the teeth unable to occlude appropriately any longer. The misalignment of the teeth will occur since the jaw joint is now under additional stress. This movement then puts strain on muscles, joints and bones. If this is not treated in good time, it may create pain and inflammation in the muscles and joints the moment the mouth opens and closes.

An oral support or appliance can be made to help to align the teeth so that they can fit together appropriately in a position that does not cause much stress on the facial muscles and the temporomandibular joint. When the muscles are stabilized, there will be a decrease in the adverse impact of the improper posture.  The steadying splint is helpful in the prevention of continuing harm arising from the teeth coming together in an improperly aligned manner. This scenario can be likened to a custom foot orthotic which is fitted inside one shoe to help ease muscular fatigue and encourage enhanced posture by ensuring the proper position of the bones in the feet including ankles and knees.

If you do suffer from frequent headaches or jaw pain, don’t hesitate to contact your dentist. An oral appliance may be just the thing to help you with your pain. There are things you can do to improve posture as well, such as yoga.

Why Does My Jaw Click?

why is my jaw clickingIf you have had to ask the question “Why does my jaw click?”, you know that it often can be embarrassing, not to mention sometimes painful.  It may be due to a condition known as TMJ disorder.  TMJ are the temporomandibular joints which allow your jaws to move.  The disorder is caused when smooth operation of the joints wear down.  This disorder can also cause headaches and facial pain.

If you suffer from TMJ disorder, a treatment that may be recommended is to use a dental appliance called a splint.  This helps to position your jaws correctly so the pain is alleviated.

If you have clicking jaws, chronic headaches, neck pain or facial pain, you should visit the dentist to see how you can be helped.  To learn more about TMJ disorder read the full article here: Why Does My Jaw Click? | Your Dental Health Resource.