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Are TMJ and Bruxism the Same?

Published on August 17th, 2020

Many patients often ask our dentist in West Loop and Bloomingdale if TMJ and bruxism are one in the same. While they both have an impact on your smile, they aren’t the same. TMJ disorder, also referred to as TMD, involves pain due to the improper functioning of the joints and muscles that attach the lower jaw to the skull. While bruxism may develop as the result of TMJ, bruxism can also make TMJ worse.

Defining Bruxiusm

Those who suffer from bruxism grind their teeth on a consistent basis without realizing it. The grinding typically occurs at night but may also occur during the day. Underlying stress is often a common factor in the development of bruxism. Our dentist in West Loop may suspect bruxism in patients if they notice abnormal wear and tear, significant enamel wear or overall tension or pain the jaw or ears. The specific cause of bruxism is difficult to pinpoint, but stress, anxiety or the misalignment of the teeth. Left untreated, bruxism can cause damage to the tooth enamel or even cause the loss of a tooth.

Defining TMJ Disorder

There is a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) that is similar to a sliding hinge in your mouth. This joint is responsible for connecting your jawbone to your skull. Common symptoms of TMJ disorder include pain in the ears, face or jaw, tension in the neck or shoulders, persistent headaches and teeth grinding.

Because the symptoms of bruxism and TMJ are so similar, patients are often concerned that they are suffering from both. While they are often related to one another, it’s important to schedule a reservation with our dentist in West Loop or Bloomingdale to ensure you get the treatment that you need. Contact us to get started!

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