325 E. 135th St. Kansas City, Mo. 64145

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TMJ Treatment / Teeth Grinding

Are you experiencing jaw pain? If so, we may be able to help you. The team at Dental Care Center of South Kansas City is specially trained to treat TMJ-related and bruxism problems. Below we have answered some of the questions we most commonly hear regarding our TMJ treatment and teeth grinding services. Please feel free to peruse them and contact our Kansas City dentist office with any additional questions or concerns you may have. We are here to help!

Symptoms of a TMJ Problem

Read Transcript

TMJ is an area that is probably one of the most intriguing to dentists, because there's so many factors that go into what would cause somebody to have what we call TMJ disorder, temporomandibular joint disorder, which is this joint right here. Probably after having been in dentistry as long as I have, the thing that I see that is more detrimental to a patient's temporomandibular joint health and their tooth health is clenching. What happens is when a person ... I'm going to use my hands here for a second. When a person comes together with their bite, ideally they like to mesh together like that. The truth of the matter is, is very few people do. What'll happen is people will hit here first, and then go into place.

That's normally not a big deal, but then at nighttime what ends up happening is your subconscious takes over, and if you've had any stresses going on, which everybody does in life, then what will happen is your subconscious takes over and takes those areas that hit first and tries to correct them. The way we'll try and correct them is, one, we'll either grind our teeth, or we'll clench our teeth. To give you an idea, a person that is normally clenching down can provide about 85 pounds per square inch on their bite. At nighttime, when the subconscious takes over and you're no longer able to override things, it can deliver over 700 pounds per square inch. We see a lot of teeth that are broken. A lot of times what we see is tremendous force as these muscles through here, the masseter muscles, pull, and they put tremendous stress on that TMJ joint. That's where we see a lot of the pain that occurs.

The thing that we have found that is best is to go after the source of what's causing that clenching and that grinding. You can't get rid of all those areas that people hit. I used to think I could go in and adjust them and I'd get it just right, and the problem you'd have is that two weeks later they come back, and they had a whole different set. What we finally realized is we can create appliances that take away that stimulus. Then we had the abilities to take away a lot of that force that's being generated that causes the disorder in the first place. That's the level that we'll take it at.

Then a lot of times it might also be a situation where a person has had something as simple as a filling that was too high, and that'll cause them to have a ... I had one in the other day, they had had a filling done at another practice about six months ago, and they said ever since then they've been waking up with headaches and migraines. I said, 'You never had this problem before?' 'No.' 'Okay, I bet you had this filling six months ago.' 'Yeah.' I said, 'Okay, let me go look at it.' I looked in, and there's this big, massive ... It just hitting too hard on that, so there again it's putting them in a stimulus. We were able to get rid of that, and I checked up on them about a week ago. The migraines have now dropped off to none, so that's a big influencer on things.

TMD, or temporomandibular joint disorder, is characterized by the dysfunction of the jaw joint, or TMJ, and the surrounding muscles and connective tissues. The result can be debilitating pain. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, please seek treatment for TMD:

  • Jaw pain
  • Neck pain
  • Earaches
  • Headaches
  • Migraines
  • Facial pain
  • Lockjaw
  • Popping or clicking jaw

We understand how uncomfortable and potentially debilitating some of these symptoms can be. Please contact our team for help.

Treating Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding, or bruxism, is the grinding or clenching of your teeth unknowingly. This can happen while at work or while you sleep. We can create a mouthguard for you that stops the grinding or clenching and protects your teeth from injury.

Treatment for Headaches and Migraines

Because headaches and migraines can be caused by TMD, they can often be treated with the same splint or mouthguard used for primary treatment. However, in some cases, we may recommend Botox injections. Botox can target muscles in the face to help them relax and alleviate pain. Talk to our team about specific ways we can treat your headaches or migraines.

Make an Appointment

Making an appointment with Dr. Stiver is easy. Simply contact our team directly to book your visit. You can call us at 816-399-5539 or use our online contact form to send us a message. To use the form, simply fill it out, click submit, and a member of our team will get back with you as soon as possible. No matter what method of contact you choose, we will be happy to help you find a suitable date and time for your visit.

Relief is just a phone call away. Don’t suffer through the discomfort any longer. We look forward to helping you.