Holiday Hoopla and your Smile

dental care houston tx | Royal DentalThe holidays are here, whether we are ready or not! Truth be told, most people are ready for nightly showings of Elf and the scents of the season that waft through the mall. The holidays mean gathering with friends and family. This time of year means gift giving and carol-singing (even if only in the shower). It may also mean that we have even more to do, and that can mean more than a little stress. Because the holiday hoopla can be stressful, even in a good way, there is a chance that your body may respond to the added pressure by putting extra pressure on your teeth.

A look at Bruxism

Bruxism is how we describe jaw clenching and teeth grinding. Sometimes, the cause of these habits is related to the oral structure itself. In many cases, though, it is a natural byproduct of stress. If we do not find ways to relieve stress consciously, the body will do so unconsciously, and we don’t want that. Bruxism may cause the joints of the jaw to become incredibly overworked, to the point of dysfunction. The force of clenching has also been known to crack teeth. No one wants their holiday grin to reveal the signs of stress!

Relieving Stress Consciously

The holiday season gives us the opportunity to become more mindful about how we care for our own needs. Rest and relaxation are not things that can wait. The more we have to do each day, the more rest we need. To relieve stress, consider what works for you, not what any expert says is the “right way” to unwind. If yoga is not appealing to you, trying to hop into a hot yoga practice could be counterproductive. Moving the body naturally works out stressors, but that movement is up to you. It could be on the treadmill or on the dance floor, but it needs to be something you truly enjoy.

Because bruxism is a nighttime activity, one recommendation that we support is avoiding caffeine after a certain hour. Even avid coffee drinkers may find that their sleep is disrupted when they do not limit consumption to the early part of the day.

We wish our family of patients all the joys of the holiday season!

TMJ Treatment—Frequently Asked Questions

TMJ treatment in houston tx | Royal Dental TMJ treatment can relieve pain and prevent further oral health problems in the future. Get the answers to frequently asked questions below:

I’ve heard the terms TMJ and TMD used interchangeably—is there a difference?

The terms TMJ and TMD are sometimes used interchangeably because they are closely related, but there is a difference between the two terms.

TMJ stands for Temporomandibular Joint. This is the joint that connects the lower part of the jaw (or mandible) to the other parts of your head. The TMJ allows you to move your jaw up and down and from side to side. It makes it possible to eat, talk, and yawn.

TMD stands for Temporomandibular Joint Disorders—in other words: problems with the TMJ.

What types of TMD are there?

TMD includes a group of conditions that cause problems with the TMJ. Three types of TMD include:

  • Myofascial pain—discomfort and pain in the muscles near the jaw as well as the neck and shoulder muscles.
  • Injury to the joint that is caused when the joint is dislocated or the disc is displaced.
  • Degenerative disease caused by arthritis in the jaw joint.

What causes TMD?

TMD can be caused by injuries, arthritis, stress, and overuse of the muscles in the area.

What are common signs and symptoms of TMD?

Common signs and symptoms of TMD include:

  • Clicking or popping in the jaw when you chew or talk
  • Stiff or sore jaw muscles
  • Limited movement of the jaw (lockjaw)
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Chronic jaw pain
  • Neck, back, and shoulder pain or tension
  • Migraines and headaches
  • Having misaligned teeth

How is TMD treated?

If you’ve noticed any symptoms of TMD, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist. There are a variety of treatment options available depending on your individual problem. In some cases surgery is necessary, but in many cases, TMJ problems can be treated with physical therapy, stretching exercises, orthodontic correction, prescription medication, or a compress to relieve sore muscles. If you’d like to learn more about how TMJ problems are treated, schedule an appointment at Royal Dental.

What Does it Mean When My Jaw Clicks or Pops?

Jaw clicking or popping within itself may not be a sign of a problem. However, it it is accompanied by other signs such as jaw pain, tenderness, aching around your ears, or locking of the jaw, it may could be a sign of a TMJ disorder. If you experience any of these signs you should visit your dentist so they can determine if you have TMJ disorder though an exam, and determine the best course of treatment.

Jaw Popping and Clicking in houston tx at royal dental USA

Non-TMJ Related Causes

  • Jaw Injury, such as a strong blow on the jaw can sometimes result in jaw clicking or popping.
  • Malocclusion, which is a misalignment on the teeth, can also cause clicking or popping of the jaw. Most of the time, this can be corrected by a dentists.
  • Poorly Fitting Dentures can result in a malocclusion and cause jaw clicking or popping.
  • Bruxism, or teeth grinding, can cause stress on the jaw and surrounding muscles, which can result in jaw problems and jaw clicking or popping.

When to See Your Dentist

These are just some of the most common causes of jaw clicking or popping, however, there are various causes and they can all potentially contribute to more serious problems if left untreated. If you experience clicking of the jaw, especially if accompanied by other symptoms, such as pain or tenderness, please consult with your dentist.

At Royal Dental we care about your oral health and overall well-being. If you are having issues with jaw clicking and popping or pain, please feel free to contact us. We would be happy to evaluate your situation and provide you with information and treatment options when indicated.

How Can You Tell If You Have Been Grinding Your Teeth At Night?

The grinding of teeth, medically called Bruxism, can cause permanent damage to the enamel of your teeth. While sleeping the pressure of bruxing can be up to six times greater than when awake, approximately 250 pounds of force per square inch! People who grind and clench their teeth are referred to as bruxers and in many cases do you even realize the damage they are unintentionally causing to their teeth.

If not treated, the long term effects of Bruxism can lead to:

  • Damage to teeth.
  • Broken fillings.
  • Tooth sensitivity.
  • Jaw pain.
  • Difficulty in opening and closing the jaw.
  • Headaches.


How can you tell if you are grinding your teeth?

If you have been grinding your teeth there are some signs an symptoms that commonly appear. One of the primary signs that may indicate Bruxism is waking up with a sore jaw. If you wake frequently and wake up in the morning feeling tired this could also be an indication that you are unconsciously grind your teeth at night. However, there are many causes of disturbed sleep habits, so you will want to look for any of the additional signs and symptoms below.

Signs and symptoms of Bruxism:

  • Sore Jaw muscles, especially in the morning.
  • Discomfort around the ears when chewing or yawning.
  • Morning headaches.
  • Insomnia.
  • Rhythmic contractions of the jaw muscles.
  • Hot, cold sensitivity in the teeth.

Consulting with Your Dentist

If you suspect you may be grinding your teeth you need to visit your dentist. A dentist will be able to see if there are any tooth wear, a telltale sign of Bruxism. Your dentist can provide you with a mouth guard to wear when you sleep. This will prevent damage to your teeth and can also help to alleviate jaw pain. Don’t wait until the damage has been done, if you suspect you are grinding your teeth contact your dentist today!


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