The Connection Between Bruxism and Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ)
Bruxism is the natural tendency to grind your teeth, mainly during sleeping or times of stress. This condition is actually very common and can possibly be caused by physical, psychological, and genetic factors. However, no matter the cause of the condition, the symptoms and risks are still the same. People who suffer form bruxism experience overall facial pain, damaged teeth, headache, a grinding sound at night, and popping the temporomandibular joint.
The temporomandibular joint holds the upper and lower parts of your jaw together and permits smooth movement of opening and closing your jaw. When an individual suffers from TMJ, they will experience pain on this joint and may have difficulty moving their jaw. TMJ and Bruxism both have very similar symptoms and are both caused by various factors however, TMJ can be a result of untreated bruxism.
When it comes to treating bruxism to prevent TMJ in the future, one of the most common forms of treatment are bruxism appliances, more commonly known as night guards. A night guard is a clear piece of plastic shaped to fit on top of your teeth which prevents the teeth from scraping together while you sleep. This allows for the joint and muscles of the jaw to relax and removes the grinding sound while sleeping. If you already have been diagnosed with TMJ disorder, there are various treatments which can be done to help. Some options are nightguards, muscles relaxants, and going to various specialist such as a chiropractor or a dentist specialized in treating TMJ.