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TMJ & Teeth Grinding

tmj-shutterstock_149579294Chiropractic care can help reduce and eliminate the causes of tooth grinding. Tooth grinding – also known as TMD or TMJ, and more formally known as temporomandibular joint in medical circles – is when someone grinds their teeth together consciously or unconsciously (such as in their sleep) out of anger, frustration or other emotional reasons.

TMD can cause jaw aches, toothaches, wear down the enamel of teeth, and even split the tooth in half down to the root. It can also contribute to headaches, neck and shoulder aches and ruin our health.

TMD is often the result of “injury to the jaw, the temporomandibular joint, or the muscles of the head and neck – such as a from a heavy blow or whiplash…” It can also come from:

  • Grinding or clenching the teeth, which puts a lot of pressure on the TMJ
  • Dislocation of the soft cushion or disc between the ball and socket
  • Presence of osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis in the TMJ
  • Stress, which can cause a person to tighten facial and jaw muscles or clench the teeth (via WebMD).

A common way to stop the effects of TMD is for dentists to create mouth-guards. The patient will then sleep with the guard in their mouth, blocking the teeth from grinding against each other. While this can be effective, it does not reach the source of the problem.

Then how can chiropractic help?

Poor posture is definitely one of the reasons why so many people suffer from this problem. When we slump or slouch in chairs or couches for hours at a time without realizing it, we put our bodies at risk. This habit can strain the muscles and connective tissues of the cervical spine in the neck while also promoting vertebral misalignments that can pinch nerves. An auto accident or other trauma can cause similar damage and tension in the cervical region, and this damage can manifest itself as jaw pain, migraine headache symptoms, neck stiffness and other debilitating issues.

Since chiropractic care is about re-aligning the spine, chiropractic can help get rid of the painful symptoms of TMD along with the reason why we grind our teeth in the first place.