Novato TMJ Dentist Explains how Bruxism Affects Your Teeth

Written by Dr. McConnell on Apr 12, 2016

What is bruxism? It is a term commonly used at our Novato TMJ Dentist office and is the clinical term for teeth grinding and clenching of the jaw. If you suffer from TMJ you have probably come up with your own methods for avoiding the pain associated with teeth grinding. You may have learned to avoid chewy or sticky foods that you know will aggravate your already sensitive jaws.

But there are some habits that you can develop that you may not be aware of. These can really make your TMJ symptoms more pronounced and cause significant discomfort. Here are some basic facts about bruxism, and how it impacts TMJ disorder.

What is bruxism?

The first step is to understand exactly what bruxism is and why it plays such a big part in dental health. Bruxism is a chronic condition that can affect patients of all ages. Our dentist sees patients with bruxism who grind and clench their teeth for a number of different reasons.

When someone feels stress they often carry excess tension in the jaw, face, and neck muscles. This often leads to dental grinding and clenching of the jaw. If your bite is uneven, you may grind your teeth in your sleep without being aware that you are doing so.

How does bruxism affect TMJ?

Patients with TMJ often find that their symptoms are made worse by bruxism. This is because bruxism, or bruxing, puts great stress on the temporomandibular joint and jaw muscles. You may find that you have a stiff, painful jaw, or that your jaw is making clicking sounds. Some patients even end up with limited jaw mobility. If you’ve already been diagnosed with TMJ problems or bruxism, speak to your doctor about how you can avoid painful complications.

If you suffer with TMJ or believe that you may be grinding or clenching your teeth, contact the Novato TMJ Dentist office to schedule a consultation. We will work closely with you to develop a treatment plan to alleviate symptoms and maintain a healthy and comfortable smile.