Bruxism, commonly known as “teeth grinding,” and TMJ pain are closely related and may increase your risk for and even cause periodontal disease. Bruxism occurs subconsciously, typically at night while you are asleep; you may not even know you do it! But the effects of grinding, clenching, or grating your teeth can be felt the next day, especially in the morning. Because grinding and clenching put severe pressure on your teeth, they are susceptible to wearing down, fracturing, or loosening. The stress of bruxism also adversely affects your jaw joint. The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) acts as a hinge that connects your lower jaw to your skull and allows for chewing, talking, and opening wide at the dentist’s office. Prolonged grinding and gnashing associated with bruxism can cause significant paint in TMJ and permanently damage your teeth.
To treat bruxism and associated TMJ pain, Dr. Ginsberg may recommend an occlusal appliance to help relieve discomfort, prevent further damage, and to correct any damage to tooth alignment. An occlusal appliance is a custom-made bite splint or mouth guard designed to ease the trauma of teeth grinding and clenching. Depending on the severity of your bruxism, your appliance may consist of soft and flexible material aimed to cushion clenching or hard acrylic designed to prevent shifting and grinding.
To create the appliance, Dr. Ginsberg will simply take a pain-free impression of your bite and teeth, and construct a mouthpiece using the finest materials in his state-of-the-art laboratory.