Illustration of brunette woman cringing in pain and touching her jaw with a closeup of an inflamed TMJ

Is Bruxism Similar to TMJ Disorder?

November 28, 2022 11:25 pm

Bruxism is when you frequently grind or clench your teeth, usually as you sleep. This can cause worn tooth enamel, cracked teeth, tooth sensitivity, jaw and ear pain, headaches, and more.

You have one temporomandibular joint on either side of your face. TMJ disorder, or TMD, refers to any dysfunction with your jaw muscles and temporomandibular joints. Any problem with this joint and its supporting tissues will negatively affect your jaw movements. Symptoms can include jaw stiffness, jaw pain, clicking or popping when you open your mouth, ear pain, difficulty eating, and headaches.

Are bruxism and TMJ related?

Bruxism and TMJ dysfunction share many symptoms. While not everyone who grinds their teeth has TMJ issues and having TMJ issues doesn’t always mean you grind your teeth, the two conditions can be present at the same time. Frequent teeth grinding can damage, irritate, and misalign your jaw joints, contributing to TMJ issues. TMD can also make you more likely to grind your teeth, especially when you’re asleep.

How Is Bruxism Treated?

During the day, take note of when you grind your teeth and make a conscious choice to unclench your jaw. While asleep, you should wear a nightguard to protect your teeth from grinding damage and reduce jaw pain, stiffness, and headaches. Additionally, reducing your stress and utilizing relaxation techniques (like deep breathing, yoga, and other exercise) can help reduce the occurrence of teeth grinding during the day and at night.

Comprehensive Oral Healthcare at Magnolia Family Dental in Alvin, TX

Magnolia Family Dental offers a variety of dental services, including preventive dentistry, restorative dentistry, cosmetic treatments, children’s dentistry, and dental sedation. If you have questions about bruxism, TMJ disorder, or any other dental issue, please contact us today to set up an appointment with our team! We would be delighted to hear from you.

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Jaw image from Authority Dental under CC 2.0

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