Bruxism’s Role in TMJ Disorder: Why This Nighttime Habit Could Be Destroying the Joint


Bruxism is a common condition that involves the grinding or clenching of the teeth. It usually occurs during sleep, but can also happen during the day. While it may not seem like a big deal, bruxism can cause a number of serious problems, including tooth damage, jaw pain, and headaches.

The exact cause of bruxism is not known, but it is thought to be related to stress and anxiety. Other factors that may contribute to bruxism include sleep disorders, misaligned teeth, and the use of certain medications.

Symptoms of bruxism include tooth sensitivity, jaw pain, headaches, and difficulty chewing. You may also notice that your teeth are worn down or flattened, or that you have chips or cracks on your teeth. If you have any of these symptoms, it’s important to talk to your dentist.

Treatment for bruxism usually involves a combination of approaches. This may include stress management techniques, such as meditation or exercise, to help reduce the grinding and clenching of the teeth. Your dentist may also recommend the use of a mouthguard or splint to protect your teeth from grinding and clenching during sleep.

In some cases, your dentist may recommend orthodontic treatment to correct misaligned teeth and improve your bite. This can help to prevent bruxism and reduce the risk of tooth damage and jaw pain.

Bruxism is also a major contributing factor to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder.

TMJ disorder is a condition that affects the joints that connect the lower jaw to the skull. These joints, known as the temporomandibular joints, allow the jaw to move up and down and side to side, allowing us to speak, chew, and yawn. When these joints become inflamed or damaged, it can cause pain, stiffness, and difficulty moving the jaw.

Bruxism can cause TMJ disorder by putting excess pressure on the temporomandibular joints. When you grind or clench your teeth, you put a lot of force on these joints, which can lead to inflammation, damage, and pain. Over time, this can cause TMJ disorder.

If you have bruxism and are experiencing symptoms of TMJ disorder, such as jaw pain, stiffness, and difficulty moving the jaw, it’s important to talk to your dentist. Your dentist can help to diagnose the problem and recommend treatment options.

Treatment for TMJ disorder may include the use of a mouthguard or splint to protect the teeth and temporomandibular joints from the effects of bruxism. Your dentist may also recommend medications to reduce inflammation and pain, or physical therapy to improve jaw mobility and function. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to repair or replace the damaged temporomandibular joints.

It’s important to treat bruxism and TMJ disorder promptly to prevent long-term problems and complications. With the right care and treatment, you can manage your symptoms and improve your oral health and overall well-being.

If you have bruxism, it’s important to take good care of your oral health. This means brushing and flossing regularly, using fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash, and visiting your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings. With the right treatment and care, you can manage your bruxism and protect your teeth and gums from damage.If you think you may be grinding your teeth in your sleep, or you are experiencing jaw, ear, face or neck pain, it may be a good idea to be evaluated for TMJ disorder. Call our office today at 858-538-8300 to schedule an appointment so we can help get to the bottom of your symptoms and help you find relief.