TMJ, TMD, and Bruxism Treatment in Los Gatos, CA

Teeth grinding or clenching, which is also referred to as bruxism, affects many people, and it can have serious consequences. This unconscious habit usually takes place while people are sleeping, and they may not know they are doing it until a sleep partner points it out. Their dentist might also see undue wear on the teeth as well as bite marks on the insides of the cheeks. Some people suffer unexplained jaw, shoulder, and neck pain, which can be a sign that they are grinding their teeth.

Dr. Nicole Pagonis diagnoses and treats patients with this disorder, and she looks forward to helping you as well.

Diagnosing Bruxism

occlusal guard for bruxism | Dentist Los Gatos CAIf you come to our Los Gatos, CA dental office because you suspect a bruxism issue, Dr. Pagonis will look for the following signs:

  • Uneven wear on the teeth and dental restorations
  • Highly developed jaw muscles
  • Bite marks on the inside of the cheeks
  • Gum recession
  • Broken or chipped teeth
  • Craze (vertical) lines or cracks in the teeth

She will also ask you about headaches, migraines, facial soreness, and other pain.

Treating Bruxism in 95032

We might suggest a sleep study for some patients who come to our dental office with signs of bruxism because teeth grinding is often related to sleep apnea. Often treating the sleep apnea alleviates bruxism.

Sometimes relaxation techniques can help stop the chronic teeth grinding. We might also recommend an oral appliance to help protect the teeth from the pressure of the clenching and grinding.

We can create a custom nightguard to be worn while sleeping. These fit over the upper and lower teeth and create a barrier between the teeth, protecting from further damage.

TMD and TMJ

A lot of people use these acronyms interchangeably, but they actually refer to two different things. The TMJ is the joint that hinges the upper and lower jaws, enabling you to open and close your mouth. The full term is temporomandibular joint. TMD refers to the chronic conditions that develop as a result of the TMJ being inflamed.

Treating Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD)

Just as you might develop sore knees or pain in other joints, you can also develop inflammation in the jaw joint. It’s not all that surprising when you consider how often you use the TMJ for chewing, yawning, speaking, and laughing. Once it becomes inflamed, it is difficult to reduce the inflammation because it so seldom rests.

A night guard can also benefit patients with TMD because it can help put the jaw into proper occlusal position, often alleviating the chronic pain.

We Can Help Get Rid of Your Chronic Pain in Los Gatos

Contact Nicole Pagonis DDS for an evaluation to discuss a suspected bruxism habit or issues with the TMJ. Her experience and conscientious approach to dentistry will help you find solutions, so you eliminate your pain and protect your teeth. Call today to make an appointment.