- Long Island City, NY 11101.
Are you unconsciously clenching your jaw throughout the day or is it just at night time? That would be the reason why you're experiencing a lot of jaw tension!
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What is teeth or jaw clenching?
Clenching is when you forcefully squeeze your teeth together via your jaw muscles. It is an isometric action that causes a lot of tension or pressure to your teeth and surrounding chewing muscles. This results in fatigue and jaw pain from the overuse of the muscles.
What causes the clenching?
People definitely don't do this just for fun since the end result is not pleasant. Most often this type of behavior is induced by stress. Some people stress eat and others take kickboxing classes, but in some cases they take it out on their teeth. Basically it is a form of venting.
What is the treatment for it?
There is a three pronged approach to treating it but the first should be to schedule a consultation with any one of our LIC dentists. Next, the three things we should do are:
Make you a mouth guard
Manual therapy to treat the offending jaw muscles
Discuss de-stressing and lifestyle changes
I've heard of the mouth guards but what is this manual therapy?
Most dental offices will make you an occlusal splint or night guard but will stop right there. We believe just doing that is not the most effective strategy. You should combine that with physical manual therapy of the muscles. When you clench your jaw a lot, the clenching muscles will get very sore from the overuse. These poor muscles will develop trigger points and muscle knots within them. There will be times where you will feel pain not from the clenching itself but rather from the muscles having a spasm.
This creates a sort of positive re-enforcement cycle for jaw pain. Stress causes you to clench and clenching causes muscle knots that spasm and cause you even more pain. You need to break the cycle.
We will teach you how to locate and obliterate the trigger points in your four chewing muscles.