TMJ And Bruxism: What’s The Difference?

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By understanding more about your oral health challenges, you can make the right choice when it comes time to assess your treatment options. As trusted oral health professionals, we’ve noticed that many of our patients confuse TMJ and bruxism. These two conditions are quite unique and so within this post, we’ll explain the differences between the two and the various treatment options available.

Bruxism Results from Teeth Grinding

Bruxism is one of the results of prolonged teeth grinding. It’s a condition that usually shows its symptoms when the patient is asleep. This is important because studies show that the force of a person biting down during their sleep is six times more powerful than if they grind their teeth while awake. It’s a leading factor behind many of the associated symptoms of bruxism. For example, when bruxism is allowed to continue unabated, the patient will experience worn enamel on their teeth, which can eventually lead to worn teeth and jaw bone issues.

TMJ Is a Jaw Disorder

TMJ or Temporomandibular Joint Disorder is a condition in which the patient suffers from inflammation of the joint in their jaw. Patients suffering from this condition might experience symptoms such as loss of hearing, morning headaches, clicking or popping sounds when they open their mouth wide, and difficulty chewing.

Treatment for Bruxism

Bruxism patients must work alongside a qualified oral health professional to understand the cause of their condition. A customized mouth guard to help prevent teeth grinding during the nighttime may be recommended. This mouthguard will be designed based on the patient’s mouth structure and can be fitted over a series of appointments. It may also be recommended that the patient cut down on activities causing stress, which can be the leading factor behind bruxism. Reducing caffeine intake and relaxing activities in the hours before bed can also help.

Treatment for TMJ

As with bruxism, the specialist might recommend a specially-fitted mouthguard to respond to the challenges of TMJ. The TMJ patient might also benefit from the use of pain relievers to minimize their jaw pain over the long-term. In addition, patients with TMJ are often prescribed exercise treatments to strengthen the jaw muscle and to help minimize any further deterioration as a result of the condition.

Our expert team is now ready to help bruxism patients and patients with TMJ address their most persistent symptoms with effective treatment. Call now to learn more!