Keyway Wear Patterns Test

Is teeth grinding causing your TMJ problems?

To find the answer, try this test

tmj-test-keyway-wear-patternsBring your teeth together so that your upper front teeth meet  your lower front teeth edge to edge. If there is a place where they form a tight fitting match, it’s an indication that you have worn them together by grinding them.

The significance of this test is that front tooth grinding occurs only when the bite of the back teeth is strained. Front tooth grinding is a sign that your jaw muscles and joints are trying to move forward from that strained position.

You may not be aware you are doing it

Most people are not aware this grinding is occurring.  That’s because your jaw’s subtle movements take place in the subconscious, on the same level as blinking and swallowing. You could be grinding all day, but you’ll be unaware of it unless you stop to think about it. You could be damaging your teeth without even knowing you are doing it.

This could explain the snap, crackle, pop

When your back teeth meet in a strained position, your jaw muscles must work harder than they are meant to when you bite.  Also known as malocclusion an unhealthy can compress the delicate tissues of your temporomandibular joints (TMJ) – your jaw joints.

As these soft tissues lose their cushioning power, you may begin to hear clicking or popping sounds in your TMJ. Your body instinctively tries to prevent the strain and compression of your lower jaw by moving itself forward so that it rests with your lower front teeth teeth touching the uppers. Over time, this movement can begin to wear down your front teeth. OUCH.

With treatment, you can stop the grinding

By treating your unhealthy bite, you can stop the wear and tear on your front teeth. TMJ treatment can also help alleviate the painful symptoms that often come hand-in-hand with a TMJ disorder – such as headaches, ear pain, or aching muscles in your neck, shoulders or back.

If you would like to learn more, contact your dentist