Smart Solutions for Frustrating Dental Problems

Bruxism (teeth grinding) and TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder) are both serious dental issues that can cause additional complications for a patient the longer they’re allowed to persist.

If you’re worried that you may be experiencing these problems, it’s important to consult with a professional immediately.

These issues, if left untreated or unaddressed, can cause severe dental damage over time. That’s why it’s so important to get the treatment you need as soon as possible.

Bruxism and TMJ Disorder

What causes you to grind your teeth? Quite a lot of things, as it turns out!

Diet, a lack of exercise or even stress can all cause you to grind your teeth at night. And while teeth grinding may initially seem like a harmless quirk, it’s actually quite serious.

When you grind your teeth, you can cause fractures in them, wear down the enamel or even crack them open entirely.

Teeth grinding opens you up to the potential for extensive dental work, in addition to the pain associated with having damaged teeth.

Bruxism can even lead to TMJ disorder (often just referred to as TMJ). TMJ is caused when your jaw is misaligned, leading to intense pain and stiffness.

Grinding your teeth can cause your jaw to become misaligned over time, either exacerbating existing TMJ or causing it.

How Do You Treat TMJ Disorder?

If you experience bruxism or TMJ, both disorders need to be treated. Without bruxism treatment, TMJ will get worse. Conversely, treating TMJ often means treating bruxism directly.

Start By Consulting Your Dentist

Bruxism and TMJ are both serious issues that worsen over time. A dentist will be able to go over your situation, to both assess how serious the problem is and begin treating it.

Since bruxism and TMJ are often treated with a physical apparatus and medication, your dentist will be needed to provide treatment.

Some stretching exercises and habits can reduce bruxism and TMJ, but they shouldn’t be relied on for the bulk of your treatment.

Night Guards

Night guards can reduce the impact of teeth grinding while also repositioning your jaw, much like braces are designed to reposition and fix the alignment of your teeth over time.

Sometimes you may also need braces or teeth alignment in order to help with the alignment of your jaw.


There are multiple medications that are used during the treatment of TMJ and bruxism. Pain relievers, antidepressants, and muscle relaxants are used both to alleviate TMJ itself as well as the impact of TMJ on your body.

Muscle relaxants can keep you from having a “locked jaw,” while pain relievers will make you more comfortable until the situation has been completely addressed.

Relaxation Techniques

Muscle relaxation is critical for TMJ.

Stress, anxiety and depression can all make TMJ worse, but it’s also an issue with raw muscle tension. Relaxation techniques such as stretching can help alleviate some of the discomfort associated with TMJ, while general relaxation techniques can aid with both bruxism and the TMJ itself.

How Do You Treat Bruxism?

Treating bruxism often directly relates to the cause of bruxism itself. Bruxism can be caused by a lack of exercise, general stress, anxiety and poor diet.

There are also some medications that can cause teeth grinding as a side effect. Luckily, many of the treatments for bruxism also correspond with treatments for TMJ.

Wearing a mouth guard at night will protect your teeth from the grinding, clenching and potential cracks and fractures.

Meanwhile, a combination of medication and healthier habits may reduce your propensity to grind your teeth. Additional exercise, a lack of caffeine and reduced alcohol may all reduce or eliminate teeth grinding.

Some people even have a genetic predisposition towards grinding their teeth or having a jaw that is misaligned. Treating a number of different causes and symptoms may be necessary.

Address Symptoms Before They Get Worse

If left unaddressed, bruxism and TMJ can lead to some tremendously stressful and painful issues. Bruxism will wear down teeth, eventually causing additional cavities or even invisible fractures. If a tooth is badly damaged enough, it may need a root canal or an extraction.

You may not realize that your teeth are as badly damaged as they are until the bruxism causes the teeth to crack. Not only is this sudden and inconvenient, but it’s also exceptionally painful.

TMJ, if unaddressed, will get steadily worse over time and can lead to issues opening one’s mouth and speaking properly.

As TMJ gets worse, it becomes difficult for an individual to open their mouth at all. And because bruxism and TMJ feed into each other, both of them will make the other worse.

Are you ready to start treating your bruxism or TMJ? If you even suspect that you’re grinding your teeth at night, it’s important to consult with your dentist.

They will be able to inspect your teeth for damage and examine any teeth grinding causes that could apply to you. To make an appointment today, contact Highbury Park.