People who grind their teeth can sometimes develop a serious problem with their jaw, which if left untreated, can adversely affect the teeth, gums and bone structures of the mouth.
One of the most common jaw disorders is related to a problem with the Temporomandibular joint, which connects your lower jaw to your skull, and allows your upper and lower jaw to open and close and facilitates chewing and speaking .
Tempromandibular Disorder (TMD)
You may have TMD if you are suffering from any one of these symptoms:
- Neck aches
- Numbness in your fingers or arms
- Facial pain
- Clicking or grating sound in the jaw joints
- Limited movement or locking of the jaw
- Congestion or stuffiness of the ears
- Worn chipping or cracked teeth
- Cracking, chipping or breaking dental restorations
- Pain or soreness around the jaw joints or ears
- Pain in teeth that seem to move around
- Unexplained loose teeth
Some treatments for TMD include muscle relaxants, aspirin, biofeedback, or wearing a small plastic appliance in the mouth during sleep.
Minor cases of TMD involve discomfort or pain in the jaw muscles. More serious conditions involve improperly aligned joints or dislocated jaws. The most extreme form of TMD involves an arthritic condition of the jaw joint. Traumatic injuries also can cause jaw dislocation.
In these cases, neuromuscular therapy or jaw surgery, may be required to correct the condition. Some jaw surgery can be performed arthroscopically.