TMJ Vs. Bruxism
Although TMJ and bruxism are both disorders that involve the jaw, there are certain key differences between them. It is important to determine what these are. In this way, you can form an accurate picture of your complaint and seek appropriate treatment.
A bruxism habit is one in which the sufferer clenches and grinds their teeth. This is often an involuntary action that occurs during sleep. Many people have mild episodes of bruxism at times, without serious consequences. However, if a bruxism habit remains untreated over an extended time period, problems may arise.
Bruxism often creates headaches, earache and jaw pain. In extreme cases, it can severely damage the teeth. In our normal sleep state, we tend to keep the teeth slightly separated, with relaxed jaws. If you habitually clench your teeth during sleep, however, you place your jaws under pressure, which strains the muscles and affects dental alignment. Additionally, if you gnash or grind your teeth together, it is very easy to crack or chip them.
What are the main differences between TMJ and bruxism?
TMJ is often a consequence of untreated bruxism. It is a painful condition in which the temporomandibular joint in the jaw becomes inflamed. If left untreated, swelling and discomfort may spread to the surrounding tissues and muscles.
Bruxism is not the only cause of TMJ, so if you suffer from this disorder, please consult your dentist. If it has indeed been brought on by bruxism, mouth guards provide effective temporary relief. They keep the upper and lower rows of teeth separated, preventing further pressure on the jaw and allowing it time to heal. It is important to treat your TMJ under medical or dental supervision, however, to prevent misalignment and occlusal trauma.