TMJ disorder (also referred to as TMD) and bruxism are two different conditions that can both have a negative effect on the proper functioning of the mouth and oral health. People that suffer from bruxism grind their teeth. TMJ disorder is a condition that involves pain and improper functioning of the muscles and joints that attach the lower jaw to the skull. Bruxism can be caused by TMD, but bruxism can in turn also cause or worsen TMD.
You suffer from bruxism when you unconsciously grind your teeth. This usually occurs at night, though some people also grind their teeth during the day, often during stressful periods. While you might be unaware of your grinding, your dentist should notice signs of bruxism during regular visits. Symptoms of bruxism include:
- Abnormal teeth wear and chipped teeth.
- Sensitive teeth caused by enamel wear.
- Pain and tension in the jaw and ears.
It’s difficult to diagnose the cause of bruxism, but often it is related to misalignment of the teeth, stress or anxiety. Bruxism is a serious disorder that can lead to severe damage to the teeth and enamel, constant pain in the jaw and ears and could even cause the loss of a tooth.
Symptoms of TMD are very similar to those of bruxism. They include:
- Pain in the jaw, ears or face.
- Pain or tension in neck or shoulders.
- Constant headaches.
- Teeth grinding.
Since both conditions have very similar symptoms and are often related, it is important to see a dentist who is trained in all aspects of TMJ disorder if you suffer from any of the TMD symptoms. The oral and maxillofacial surgeons at Austin Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery have vast experience with TMJ surgery and can help you out if your case of TMD requires surgery. Please contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment.