The Difference Between “TMJ” And Bruxism
“TMJ” and bruxism are two entirely different dental disorders that affect how the mouth functions. Because both disorders exhibit similar signs and symptoms, people can misdiagnose their condition. We often see patients who have done some research on the internet and end up confused about their jaw problems.
Keep in mind that the information provided is not meant to replace a visit to your dentist, but should help give you a better idea of the difference between Bruxism and TMJ.
Bruxism Vs. “TMJ”
What people often called “TMJ” is actually TMD. The TMJ- stands for TemporoMandibular Joint. It is the joint between your upper and lower jaw, which allows your jaw to move. Everyone has a TMJ–actually two! When someone experiences pain, clicking, popping, or difficulty moving their TMJ it is considered TMD or TemporoMandibular Disorder.
On the other hand, bruxism is a condition distinguished by teeth grinding or clenching. Many people who suffer from this disorder are often unaware that they are doing it, as the clenching and grinding often happens during sleep and are involuntary actions.
When the grinding and teeth clenching occurs for a long period of time, the individual may have symptoms similar to that of a person suffering from TMD. Pain, aching jaw muscles and difficulty moving the mouth may be experienced. The similarity in the symptoms is what gets people confused.
Because they are two distinct conditions, the treatments are different as well. The dentist will need to conduct a number of tests and examinations before making a diagnosis and prescribing a treatment. There is one minor treatment that can be used for both conditions; this involves the use of a night guard.
For TMD sufferers, a night guard helps take the pressure off the TMJ and deprograms the muscles of the jaw. Bruxism patients may also use a night guard to act as a barrier between the teeth on your upper and lower jaw. However, it is important to note that there are different types of night guards your Dublin, OH dentist may prescribe.
If you are suffering from TMJ, a regular mouth guard that you see online is not enough. A mouth guard designed specifically for TMJ includes a splint that raises the person’s bite and repositions the jaw. This may require several sessions with a dentist. As such, you will need to work closely with your dentist to get your condition diagnosed and treated properly.
If you are looking for a dentist in Dublin, Ohio who can diagnose and treat these issues contact us today to schedule a consultation. Dr. Rudi would be happy to answer any questions you may have when it comes to TMJ, bruxism, or oral hygiene in general.