TMJ Versus Bruxism
Bruxism is an unconscious activity which is performed involuntarily. It includes clenching, tapping or grinding our teeth. Many people indulge in it occasionally and face no harmful effects. We grind or clench our teeth sometimes in the day; however, we mostly do it during sleep. If this disorder is left unchecked or untreated for an extended period, it can result in a series of health problems. Bruxism can cause jaw pain, headache or earache, and it can severely damage teeth. Usually, during our sleep, we keep our jaws relaxed and teeth separated. While clenching teeth, a huge amount of pressure is exerted on the teeth and jaws by the muscles. If our jaws and teeth are also in motion and are gnashed together, the teeth may crack, chip or wear off.
How are TMJ and Bruxism different?
A very serious consequence of bruxism that has been unchecked and untreated for an extended period is temporomandibular joint inflammation or TMJ. This condition is quite painful and is caused by inflammation in the joint that connects the skull and the bottom jaw. At times, the tissue and muscles surrounding the joint also experience inflammation, enhancing the swelling and the pain.
As there may be other causes of TMJ as well, it is essential to consult the dentist to ensure if bruxism is the actual cause. If that is the case, then the dentist is supposed to find out the actual cause of bruxism and address it.
A remarkable, but temporary release from the TMJ pain as a result of bruxism is to use a high quality mouth guard. A Mouth guard would prevent exertion of any further pressure on the jaws and relieve you from the discomfort and pain.