TMJ & Bruxism

TMJ or TMPD as is more correctly termed is a condition that affects the jaw joints which are called the temporomandibular joints. These joints move the lower jaw and can become inflamed and painful when put under too much pressure. Bruxism is a condition where the sufferer grinds or clenches their teeth, usually during sleep, and this can place the teeth, gums, jaws and jaw joints under a lot of pressure and which may cause TMJ or other unpleasant symptoms which can include:

  • Persistent headaches
  • Discomfort or difficulty chewing
  • Facial pain
  • Your jaw may click or make a popping sound when you open or close your mouth

In addition, you might have tooth pain or notice your teeth look shorter than before or that they are chipped due to clenching and grinding.

Diagnosing and Treating TMJ & Bruxism

These conditions can be diagnosed and treated at either of our dental practices in Swansea and Lake Haven. Our dentists will gently examine your teeth and jaws before recommending treatment. This is usually involves prescribing a custom-designed mouth splint that is worn while sleeping. It works through putting the jaw into a more relaxed position and preventing the teeth from contacting so your jaw joints have a chance to heal. Treatment also prevents further damage to your teeth and gums.

We usually recommend a lower cost thermoplastic splint initially, as some people do not benefit from wearing a splint, or find that they cannot sleep with one in. We are unusual in that we can make these splints in house at a very competitive price, so there is less of a cost hurdle in trying this treatment modality.

In patients with a proven bruxing problem or a long history of splint wear, we will often recommend a hard acrylic custom made splint. These are more expensive than our thermoplastic splints but last much longer in a person who grinds their teeth frequently.