young man suffering from jaw pain due to TMJ issues or teeth grindingAre you seeking solutions for teeth grinding in Denver? Did you know that bruxism and TMJ disorder share several of the same symptoms? These two conditions can exist separately or in conjunction with one another. Therefore, it is important to understand the differences between the two so you can receive proper care and treatment. Today, our team at Metropolitan Dental Care will explore the similarities and differences between these two issues and discuss treatment options for both.

About Bruxism

Bruxism is a condition characterized by teeth grinding or clenching. While most patients brux subconsciously while sleeping, some find they involuntarily clench or grind their teeth during the daytime, especially when they are stressed. Bruxism can cause several unfortunate symptoms, including:

  • Enamel erosion characterized by flattened or worn teeth
  • Chips or fractures
  • Tooth mobility
  • Increased sensitivity
  • Facial, neck, or jaw pain
  • Lockjaw
  • Radiating pain toward the ear
  • Headaches
  • Cheek bite
  • Interrupted sleep

About TMJ Disorder

TMJ disorder is a condition affecting one or both jaw joints. The disc that cushions each joint can become displaced or eroded, leading to a number of painful issues. TMJ problems can be caused by several different factors, ranging from arthritis, heredity, or traumatic jaw injury. This disorder can lead to painful symptoms such as:

  • Tenderness or pain in the jaw muscles
  • Toothaches
  • Orofacial pain
  • Radiating pain around the ear
  • Lockjaw
  • Jaw joint pain
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Teeth grinding or clenching

Bruxism and TMJ Disorder: Which Causes Which?

As you can see, these two conditions present many of the same warning signs. So, does bruxism cause TMJ disorder, or does TMJ disorder cause bruxism? The answer is yes to both. Complications from TMJ disorder can lead to changes in your bite. As a result, you may begin to grind your teeth at night when it wasn’t a problem before. Conversely, bruxism can cause wear and tear on the teeth. Over time, this alters your occlusion. As a result, your jaws overcompensate for the changes, leading to TMJ pain.

If you are one of the unfortunate individuals who suffers from both bruxism and TMJ disorder, determining which causes which is like asking whether the chicken or the egg came first. For this reason, it is essential that you see a dental professional as soon as symptoms emerge. This is the only way to treat these conditions effectively.

Treating Teeth Grinding in Denver

At Metropolitan Dental Care, we design each treatment plan according to the unique needs of the patient. Bruxism treatment at our practice will depend on the severity of the issue. For example, if no significant damage has taken place, we will recommend a custom night guard to separate and cushion the teeth while you sleep. If erosion or other dental damage has occurred, we will recommend restorative treatments, such as crowns or veneers to repair the teeth surfaces.

Treating TMJ Disorder

Mild TMJ disorder may be alleviated with over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or naproxen. However, most of our patients find overwhelming success with an occlusal appliance. These devices can be custom crafted according to your unique needs. Some may simply separate the teeth, while others also place the lower jaw in a more favorable position. During an initial consultation at our office, we can help you determine if an occlusal appliance is right for you.

Schedule a Consultation Today

If you are suffering from TMJ disorder or teeth grinding in Denver, schedule an appointment at Metropolitan Dental Care. Our dentists and specialists are proud to serve Denver, Lone Tree, Highlands Ranch, Parker, and Centennial. We can help you identify the root cause of your issue and treat it accordingly. Contact us online anytime or call us at 303-534-2626.