With so much information at your fingertips it can be tempting to self-diagnose by searching the web for an answer. How hard could it really be when everything is so readily available? Well, if you are looking at Bruxism and TMJ, it is much harder than you might think.
Are They the Same Thing?
While some of the symptoms are the same, Bruxism and TMJ are two different disorders. Bruxism or teeth grinding is an involuntary action of gnashing your upper teeth against your lower teeth. It mostly happens at night, but in more severe cases it can occur during the day as well.
Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) causes pain and dysfunction in the jaw joint and the muscles that control jaw movement. Some believe that Bruxism can be one of the causes of TMJ, but the no direct link has yet been found.
Why the Confusion?
When you grind your teeth, you are damaging the enamel and irritating your jaw. The more you grind, the more damage occurs, which can expose vital tissue and cause sensitivity in your teeth. If the problem progresses, a significant part of your tooth's protective outer shell will be lost, causing your bite to weaken, and the TMJ joint to endure ever increasing damage. If it reaches this point you will experience symptoms such as jaw pain, inability to fully open your mouth and aching muscles that can easily be mistaken for TMJ even though it is not the cause.
This is why it is so important to visit your dentist and have them determine what your symptoms truly mean in order to get the right treatment. They can listen to your symptoms, examine your mouth and jaw, and finally correctly diagnose your ailment. Using a professional will ensure that you get the right treatment immediately. The internet is amazing for so many things, but self-diagnosis is not one of them.