When you wake up, do you feel terrific?
Or do you frequently have one of the following complaints?
- Tension Headaches
- Painful, aching jaw
- Stiff neckand shoulders
- Sore, sensitive teeth
If you suffer from any of these complaints listed above, you may have a condition that has been known by a number of names over the years: TMJ, TMD (Temporomandibular Disorder), MPD (Myofascial Pain Disorder), to name a few. Regardless of the name, they all cause the problems listed above, and they are all related to the same thing- clenching or grinding your teeth when you are sleeping.
Can clenching my teeth really cause all of these problems?
Yes! Some of the strongest muscles in your body are involved in clenching, and clenching while sleeping can cause these muscles to tense up 6-20 times more intensely than in people without these problems. This increased tension can cause migraines, morning headaches, jaw pain, and can even cause damage to surrounding joints, teeth, and other muscles.
These muscles, called the temporalis muscles, are located on the sides of your head and are used when you are closing your mouth or chewing. When these muscles tense up during clenching, they can create a tremendous amount of stress and tension for your jaw joints, your neck muscles, and even your teeth.
What does clenching my teeth have to do with these problems?
The high-intensity contractions of the powerful muscles become painful, like working out too hard at the gym, and the forces generated cause pain not only in these muscles, but in surrounding tissues, joints, and other muscles. By reducing the intensity of the clenching, you are minimizing the source of the pain--- in many cases, in just a few days!
How can I stop clenching?
During the daytime, you can often feel the tension in your jaws buildup, and can massage and stretch your jaw muscles to receive some relief. You can’t do that while you are sleeping. This is where we can help. Dr. Marlette can fabricate you a custom oral appliance that makes night-time clenching virtually impossible. After a few days or weeks, your clenching reflex starts to disappear. Migraine pain, morning headache pain, jaw and neck pain, and other related pain associated with this unconscious intense clenching usually begins to resolve and disappear.
Is your appliance the same as the soft nightguard that my regular dentist made for me? It didn’t work at all.
No, our dental appliances are different. Most nightguards or traditional flat-plane splints cover all of the teeth and give you a nice flat surface to bite down on. Studies show, however, that these devices can actually increase the intensity of your clenching, often to over twice that of your normal bite. This is especially true with soft nightguards. Since high-intensity clenching has been found to be the real cause of the problem, these devices only increase the problems. They can keep you from destroying your teeth, but they cannot reduce the clenching, and can therefore not reduce the pain.
Our oral appliances work by eliminating the ability of your back teeth to clench. By stopping the intense clenching, we stop the source of the pain. Migraines and TMJ pain disappear!
Dr. Marlette uses a variety of custom dental appliances to help you get relief from your pain. One of these is the NTI-tss appliance. This small, custom-made appliance has provided relief for thousands of TMJ pain and migraine sufferers just like you. In fact, it is the only dental appliance approved by the FDA for migraine treatment. Dr. Marlette also uses physical therapy, diet modification, and a variety of exercises to help you remain pain-free.
How soon can I expect relief of my pain?
Anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks-it varies from patient to patient. Many patients report significant relief after just one night. Others may take longer. Your highly-trained clenching muscles must unlearn their intense activity, and the time required for this is different from patient to patient.
Call Dental Sleep Medicine of Northern Kentucky today for an appointment. You don't have to live with your pain anymore.