Understanding TMJ Disorder & Bruxism

TMJ DisorderDid you know that persistent headaches can be a symptom of TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) Disorder? This is a painful and frustrating issue that affects many people. It is particularly nefarious because it is difficult to identify unless you meet with a professional. To complicate matters further, this disorder is also tied to bruxism, which is another name for consistent — and often unconscious — teeth grinding. When left untreated, it can necessitate restorative or cosmetic repair. It is even trickier because the two issues can either be the cause or the symptom of the other. In today’s blog,  your Newhall, CA, dentist discusses both disorders and describes the ways that we can treat them. 

What Is Bruxism?

It is persistent teeth grinding that is marked by you being unaware that you are doing it. If it happens during the daytime, it is often linked to stress, anxiety, and other similar emotions. If it is mostly occurring while you are asleep, there’s a chance it is caused by TMJ Disorder, which is a misalignment of the jaw. Because those suffering from it often don’t know they are grinding and clenching their teeth, they don’t typ[ically realize something is amiss until their teeth have already suffered significant damage. In some cases, the grinding is so severe that it can wake up your partner in bed. If left untreated, you could require restorative procedures to fix the damage incurred.

Understanding TMJ Disorder

As noted, TMJ Disorder can cause persistent teeth grinding. To complicate matters further, bruxism can cause TMJ. This disorder consists of your joints that connect your lower jaw to the base of your skull becoming misaligned. This is particularly painful because these joints are almost always in use — they are part of chewing and talking — so they never really have ample time to heal on their own. The symptoms can be severe and include headaches, earaches, migraines, and jaw popping. In some cases, you can feel pain in your neck, shoulders, and lower back. 

Treatment Options

Both of these painful disorders have similar treatment options. For each, your dentist can craft you a custom-made mouthguard to wear while you are asleep. For bruxism, the night guard will prevent your teeth from grinding together. For TMJ Disorder, it will move your jaw into proper alignment, alleviating pain and stress on your jaw joints. Because these appliances are made specifically for your unique mouth, you will adjust to wearing them quickly, as it will be more comfortable than you likely expect.

Contact Us To Learn More About Bruxism And TMD

Whether you suffer from bruxism and TMJ Disorder or you have questions in general, we are here to help. You can schedule an appointment by calling your Newhall, CA, dentist, Dr. Tajik, at (661) 259-7760. We look forward to speaking with and meeting you soon.