Bruxism and TMJ Disorder: What is the difference?

Bruxism and TMJ Disorder: What is the difference?

Cypress TX dentistBruxism and TMJ disorder are two oral health conditions that can coincide with one another. In many cases, a person’s TMJ disorder can be exacerbated by bruxism and vice versa. Bruxism is the act of habitually grinding or clenching one’s teeth. TMJ disorder involves the dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint, a joint that facilitates mouth movement. Both bruxism and TMJ disorder can produce orofacial discomfort and worn dentition. Our dentist can treat the effects of TMJ disorder and bruxism with restorations and custom nightguards that protect teeth. Following is some helpful information to better understand these common conditions.

The Basics on Bruxism

Bruxism normally begins as a response to stress, tension, and pain. Many people who brux their teeth suffer with chronic pain, anxiety, and excess stress. Unfortunately, bruxing one’s teeth and jaw becomes habitual over time. As bruxing becomes habitual, it will lead to oral health issues—especially weakened teeth and strained facial muscles and TMJs. Our dentist commonly addresses the effects of bruxism with restorations like crowns to rebuild teeth after they have been significantly worn down. After restorations are placed, our practice will recommend the use of a custom nightguard to protect teeth and restorations from future damage.

TMJ Disorder and its Effects on Well-being

TMJ disorder occurs when the temporomandibular joints affect one’s ability to move his or her mouth comfortably and/or effectively. Sometimes, TMJ disorder can cause the TMJ to “lock up”, therefore impeding mouth movement for various amounts of time. Patients with TMJ disorder commonly experience severe discomfort in the form of toothaches, facial pain, and frequent headaches. Like bruxism, TMJ disorder can lead to worn dentition and occlusal issues. Treating TMJ dysfunction might involve the use of oral appliance therapy at night (nightguards) and restorations to rebuild one’s bite.

If you notice that you grind and clench your teeth or have symptoms of TMJ disorder, we strongly encourage you to schedule a checkup at our practice. At your consultation, we will develop a treatment plan to help get your oral health back on track. Contact us at the office of Dr. Lori Logan today!

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