Is bruxism the same as TMJ?
Bruxism, or the excessive grinding and clenching of your teeth, may be related to your TMD (temporomandibular joint disorder), though it is not the same thing.
Sometimes patients clench or grind their teeth without ever experiencing full-blown TMD, though it comes with its own risks. Bruxism can cause headaches and damage to your teeth by cracking them or wearing them down.
Often, an appliance is recommended to protect your teeth, just like with TMD. That way, while you are sleeping, your teeth are not pounding together, causing more damage. Because the appliance, or nightguard, is made from a softer material than your enamel, it provides enough cushion and support to protect your teeth. If you clench or grind your teeth, investment in a nightguard now could save you money in the end by helping you avoid expensive crowns and repairs to your damaged teeth.
Caffeine use, alcohol use and stress can all contribute to worsening bruxism. Cutting down on drinking cocktails and coffee is a good start. Learning to manage stress can help you in many ways, including reducing how much you grind your teeth.
If you wake up in the morning with a sore face, headache, or sensitive teeth, contact Dr. Sean Drower and we will schedule a TMD evaluation where we can discuss your symptoms and conditions regarding TMD and bruxism and get you feeling comfortable again.