TMD and bruxism are conditions that have a negative effect on the proper functioning of the mouth and your overall oral health. Although both conditions are caused by different factors, a relationship exists between the two.

What is TMD?

The temporomandibular joint connects the jaw to the skull. TMD, also known as TMJ, occurs when the joint is damaged or injured and becomes very painful. Although the pain is localized, it can make opening and closing your mouth agonizing. TMD/TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint syndrome.

What is bruxism?

If you suffer from bruxism, that means you grind your teeth. The act of teeth grinding occurs when you mash and move your teeth together repeatedly. Some people grind their teeth while sleeping and are unaware that they suffer from bruxism. You can also grind and clench your teeth while awake. Grinding your teeth leads to improper jaw function and pain. Many people grind their teeth during stressful periods, and this causes the teeth’s enamel to wear down.

What are the similarities between the two conditions?

Bruxism can be caused by TMD and vice versa. Teeth grinding can cause TMD to worsen and contribute to the malfunctioning of the muscles and joints that connect the skull to the lower jaw.

What are the symptoms of each disorder?

The symptoms between TMD and bruxism overlap as both can lead to severe damage of the teeth and jaw.

The symptoms of bruxism are:

  • Chipped teeth
  • Teeth sensitivity
  • Extreme wear and tear
  • Tension and pain in the jaw and ears

The symptoms of TMD are:

  • Pain in the jaw, ears and face
  • Tension in the shoulders and neck
  • Headaches
  • Teeth grinding

What can be done to help?

You may not realize that you suffer from TMD or bruxism. Your dentist will be able to offer a diagnosis and treatment plan to ensure your teeth and jaw do not incur further damage. Your dentist may fit you for a bite guard or send you to a TMJ trained Dentist for treatment. You may also be given certain exercises to do at home like massaging your jaw and stretching the muscles. Surgery may be necessary for severe cases of TMD in people who cannot open their mouth fully and have trouble brushing their teeth, eating and talking.

If you feel that you grind your teeth or have jaw issues, contact us for more information.