Do you wake up in the morning with jaw pain or a headache? The cause behind this pain may be bruxism, also known as teeth grinding or clenching. While stress and anxiety are well-known causes of bruxism, there has been a lot of debate as to whether genes play a factor. In this blog post, Dr. Ivan Stein, a TMJ specialist in West Orange, New Jersey, discusses this topic in detail.
What Research Has Found
There is a growing amount of research that points to heredity playing a role in bruxism. One study published in the Journal of Oral Rehabilitation reviewed 10 previous studies that looked at the correlation between bruxism and genetics. Nine out of the 10 studies concluded that bruxism was partly genetically determined. In addition, research shows that as much as 50 percent of people who grind their teeth have a direct family member who also grinds their teeth. Although experts are quick to point out that more research is needed, they stress how important it is that patients with a family history of bruxism get their symptoms checked — and if necessary, get treatment.
How Serious Is Bruxism?
Although some people may dismiss bruxism as a harmless bad habit, the truth is that it can actually lead to a number of serious dental issues including fractured or loose teeth and tooth pain. Beyond your teeth, bruxism can cause the gums to recede due to pressure on the gum line. Clenching or grinding your teeth can also lead to jaw soreness, painful headaches and ear pain. All of these painful symptoms can interfere with everyday tasks including eating and speaking.
If you clench or grind your teeth, or suspect that you do, Dr. Stein encourages you to schedule an appointment. The trusted dentist and TMJ specialist can evaluate your symptoms and recommend an appropriate treatment. One popular form of treatment is oral appliance therapy. Designed similarly to a mouth guard, oral appliance devices are custom-made to fit each patient’s teeth and mouth. Not only do these devices help prevent teeth grinding and clenching at night, they also relieve pain caused by bruxism.
Schedule an Appointment with Our TMJ Specialist
Dr. Stein has helped hundreds of patients find relief from bruxism and TMJ disorder. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Stein, please call the Headache & TMJ Center of New Jersey at (855) TMJ-DOCS or (855) 865-3627 today.