Clenching is generally one of the symptoms of Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction.
The Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) is the joint that connects the lower jaw and skull, enabling you to open and close your mouth and chew from side to side. TMD (Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction) TMD, is the phrase given to complications with the jaw and the muscles responsible for controlling it.
A little more on clenching….
Most people clench their jaw when they are focusing on a domestic task like household chores, car maintenance or gardening. This is mostly harmless, but excessive clenching leads to severe chronic headaches, shoulder and neck pain or recurrent pain in the side of the face.
Treating clenching problems
It may be that your teeth need to be carefully adjusted so that your bite is corrected. By changing the direction and position of the slopes that guide your teeth together, the jaw can be repositioned.
Occlusal problems overall
When your teeth do not fit together correctly, this can cause problems for your teeth and gums as well as for the temporomandibular joint and muscles that control it. Occlusal problems are discernible in a number of ways including:
- Grinding, clicking and pain in your jaw joints – a ring or buzz in your ears/difficulty opening and closing your mouth without pain.
- Your teeth are out of line, worn or broken/fillings are fractured/crowns feel loose.
- Receding gums or loose teeth.
- Muscle spasm – if your jaw is in the wrong position, the muscles that move your jaw need to work harder and therefore become tired, causing spasms along with headaches and migraines. You may experience pain behind the eyes, sinus pain and neck and shoulder pain.
Are these problems common ?
25% of people may suffer from symptoms, which can start with hormonal changes or the menopause. Many people have some form of occlusal problem but go untreated as they adjust to being this way.