Spokane Valley, WA
Both temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) and bruxism are fairly common, with millions of Americans struggling from both issues. However, while the symptoms of both TMJ and bruxism may seem similar, these are actually fairly unique conditions. If you suspect that you may be suffering from either one of these conditions, at Coulter Family Dentistry we can help you determine if you have TMJ or bruxism, and, if so, get you started on treatment for it.
What Exactly Is TMJ? Have you ever opened your mouth, whether it was to yawn or take a bite of dinner, and heard a loud popping sound in your jaw? If you have, then there is a good chance that you may be struggling with temporomandibular jaw dysfunction (TMJ). Common symptoms of TMJ can include popping and clicking in your jaw, pain and stiffness, changes in the way your upper and lower teeth fit together, and even chronic pain in your neck, jaw, and shoulders.
Is Bruxism Different Than TMJ? Many people believe that TMJ and bruxism are interchangeable, but they are actually quite different. Unlike TMJ, which is a disorder of the jaw, bruxism is defined by grinding or clenching your teeth or jaw. Symptoms of bruxism also vary, but can include pain in your face and jaw, headaches, neck aches, and even earaches. You may have also been told by your partner that you chew or grind your teeth at night. Please note that while bruxism often does occur at nighttime, when you are sleeping, it can also occur during the day.
The Relationship Between TMJ and Bruxism Both TMJ and bruxism share fairly common root causes. For instance, poor jaw alignment can lead to both TMJ and bruxism. Furthermore, chronic bruxism can cause complications in your temporomandibular joint. This can lead to bruxism for some people. They also share similar symptoms, which can lead to confusion as to which condition you may have. Headaches, jaw pain, and stiffness in your neck and shoulders are often common symptoms in both TMJ and bruxism, which can make it a challenge for you to determine which condition you may have.
Treatment for TMJ and Bruxism Fortunately, there are many treatment options available to those of you who suffer from either TMJ or bruxism. Common treatments may include a custom fitted mouthguard, which can help with both TMJ and bruxism. These may be worn either in the daytime or at night, when you are sleeping, depending on your own unique case. We may also advise medication to help address the pain, such as over-the-counter pain relievers. Please note that it is fairly important to get treatment for these issues, for if they remain untreated, they can lead to lasting damage to your temporomandibular joint and your teeth.
If you suspect that you may have either TMJ or bruxism, it is important to seek out treatment for it right away. The sooner you address your issues, the sooner you can get lasting relief. To learn more about TMJ and bruxism and how Coulter Family Dentistry can help you, please give us a call at 509-209-8747 today.