Grinding & TMJ


Night Grinding and TMJ Pain Treated by Antelope Creek Family Dentistry

Serving Lincoln, Lancaster County and Nebraska
Silent Destruction of Your Teeth


  • Do you experience frequent dull headaches?
  • Do you have constant sore jaws?
  • Is your tooth enamel worn down?
  • Have you had fractured, flattened or chipped teeth?
  • Do you experience chronic facial pain?
  • Is there a tightness in your jaw muscles causing you jaw pain?

If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, you could be grinding your teeth. Teeth grinding, or bruxism, is the habit of grinding, gnashing or clenching the teeth. Occasional teeth grinding is not harmful. However, severe teeth grinding that occurs on a daily basis can lead to tooth fracture or loss. Other health complications as a result of severe and frequent teeth grinding include jaw disorders and headaches.

While some people unconsciously clench their teeth during the day, teeth grinding most often occurs during sleep. This means most people are unaware that they are grinding their teeth.

Although doctors do not completely understand what causes teeth grinding, possible causes include, stress, anxiety or the misalignment of the upper and lower teeth. Both children and adults can experience teeth grinding.

During regular dental exams, Drs. Svoboda, Treat and Hedlund can check for the physical signs of teeth grinding. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms, please call us. If you notice that your child is grinding his/her teeth or is displaying any of the symptoms, please inform us at their next appointment.

In most cases, no treatment may be necessary. Most children simply “outgrow” the condition, and many adults do not experience the severe teeth grinding that requires therapy.

If the problem becomes severe, we can fit you with a customized night guard to prevent further damage to your teeth. If stress is to blame, you need to find a way to relax.

TMJ Pain

The “Temporomandibular Joint,” more commonly referred to as the “jaw joint,” assists in the basic opening and closing movements of the jaw. Unfortunately, this joint is a common area for recurring pain. Although conventional wisdom suggests that “popping” sounds in the jaw indicates a TMJ dysfunction, this is not always true. Many times, your jaw is functioning properly even if a “popping” sound is present when chewing or talking.

We offer a TMJ exam that evaluates the joint tissue in the “hinge” of the jaw. Possible problems include swelling, deterioration of the joint tissue or damaged joint tissue, which cushions the jaw bones during the opening and closing movement of the mouth. Common pain relievers and cold compresses can provide temporary relief for most cases of TMJ.

For more serious cases of TMJ, we will recommend alternate treatments. Often, we will suggest using a mouthguard to relieve teeth grinding. In some cases, we will instruct you to use orthodontic appliances or retainers to alleviate discomfort or redirect positioning of the TMJ joint. For the most severe cases of TMJ, we may recommend certain invasive procedures.