Even though bruxism and TMJ disorder are different medical conditions, they are related to each other, specifically in how they affect one’s overall bite pattern. While TMJ disorder is a dysfunction in the jaw affecting the muscles and joints, with bruxism one repeatedly grinds their teeth together by sliding their teeth back and forcing them over each other. This is accompanied by clenching the jaw tightly (but usually subconsciously or unaware) or in their sleep. This makes it challenging to try to stop doing on your own, and easy to ignore. But stopping is crucial because of the amount of force your bite expends when biting down – 250 pounds of force to be exact!
Why Are You Bruxing?
An abnormal bite and crooked or missing teeth can all be reasons for your bruxing habit. Probably the biggest reason people tend to brux stems from stress, which, as you can imagine, is fairly rampant right now from the ongoing global pandemic. You could be left with chronic bruxing leading to anxiety and depression, trouble sleeping, tension headaches, and even losing your hair (all reactions to stress). If this destructive habit goes on long enough, your teeth and jaw will pay the price. Tooth fractures from weakened tooth enamel are just one unhealthy outcome for chronic bruxism. So how do you know if you might be suffering from subconscious bruxing while you sleep?
Signs You Are Grinding and Clenching Your Teeth at Night
-Your teeth are worn, chipped or cracked
-Your face (and jaw muscles) hurt from being chronically tensed
-You have sensitive teeth that are hard to ignore
-Your jaw is dislocated, clicks and pops, or randomly locks up
-You have constant headaches
-You can see indentations on your tongue from your teeth
-You have damage to the inside of your cheeks from your teeth
-Your molars have smoothed areas on their tops, flattening the cusps and valleys out that are needed for the proper breakdown of food.
Factors Leading to Bruxism
Other factors leading to bruxism may come from your jaw joint’s misalignment and affecting their function, medications, diseases or syndromes, and even allergies. The most important thing about bruxism is that it needs to be addressed so you can prevent further damage to your jaw joints, teeth and gum health. So, how can we treat bruxism and TMJ disorder? One simple solution is wearing a custom-designed oral appliance while you sleep. This can help alleviate stress on your teeth, jaw and TMJs.
Ignoring the signs signaling that you have a bruxism habit will only worsen the problem. The deterioration of your smile and health will continue if corrective action is avoided. As with most health issues, treatment in the early stages of a problem is not only the most effective but also the least invasive and costly way to implement solutions. If you suspect you might be suffering from ongoing bruxism, we welcome you to reach out to our skilled team for help.
Don’t Delay, Call Today!
We can assess your teeth, mouth, and jaws to give you effective solutions like wearing a protective nightguard, undergoing orthodontic treatment to fix a bad bite, or behavioral therapy so you can learn how to rest your tongue, teeth, and lips correctly through biofeedback. Even stress management techniques can help! This might involve reading more, taking walks to expend nervous energy, enjoying a warm bath before you retire for the night, or changing your sleeping position. With our help, you don’t have to live with chronic bruxism and its outcomes.