Jaw Muscle and Jaw Joint Dentistry

Clenching or grinding your teeth can cause problems not only for your teeth, but also your jaw muscles and jaw joints.

These habits are often subconscious and most patients that have the problem are not even aware of it!  Clenching / grinding can happen when you are asleep or awake, and is often exacerbated by stress.

The main jaw muscles affected by clenching / grinding are in your cheek and around your temple

When these muscles fatigue from this habit, they will become tender and ache and it is even thought to lead to headaches.  Other signs that you may be suffering from clenching/grinding include:

  • Your muscles getting sore during even short periods of keeping your mouth open at the dentist
  • The jaw joints, which are located immediately in front of your ears and open and close your lower jaw can also be affected with localised pain, restricted jaw opening and clicking and locking of the jaw joint
  • The teeth will also usually show signs of wearing along their edges that over the long term will shorten the teeth (to stumps in severe cases) and make the teeth more vulnerable to chipping and in severe cases will even cause the nerves in your teeth to die leading to toothache

Clenching and grinding is a very difficult habit to break and obviously cannot be controlled while you sleep.

Often your partner will hear you clenching / grinding to confirm the problem.  The treatment here is not to try to stop the habit because we can’t but to try to stop its impact.  We do this by making you an appliance called a “splint”. It is worn at night while your sleep on either your upper or lower teeth and acts as a shock absorber between your teeth to protect them from wearing and helps eliminate jaw muscle pain and usually also helps with jaw joint pain. Dr Delac has achieved radical long lasting improvements for patients who wear these splints nightly.