A patient who experiences a dental problem will make a decision to see a dentist to get some help with the problem. In the patient’s point of view, an abnormal feeling and the presence of a symptom indicates the presence of disease. The dentist looks at things in a different way. They assess the existing condition to identify problems, so that proper treatment and management may be afforded to the patient. Patients often mistake symptoms by assuming they know what they are dealing with. Bruxism and TMJ disorders can be a little confusing to identify given that they have similar signs and symptoms, so differentiating between the two is going to be important.
Bruxism is a paroxysmal disorder that is characterized by the clenching or grinding of teeth. It is an involuntary action, observed mostly at night but may also happen in daytime. A TMJ disorder is another thing. The temporomandibular joint, found on either side of the jaw, holds the upper and the lower jaw together and permits movement. A patient who is suffering from a TMJ disorder will experience pain on the area of the joints and may find it a little difficult to move their jaws.
The effects of bruxism or night grinding include tooth destruction and joint pain. Constant grinding and clenching produces wear facets on the teeth and when much of the structure is lost, vital tissues may be exposed thus causing teeth sensitivity. When the problem is allowed to progress, much of the teeth surface is lost so that the bite collapses, and the temporomandibular joint is left to endure the damage. Whether or not the condition progresses this way, a patient with prolonged night grinding habits will experience symptoms that may easily be mistaken for a TMJ disorder. Jaw pain on one side, aching muscles inability to move the mouth effectively and so forth.
As they are different conditions, they are treated differently. A dentist will first make sure to assess the condition properly, so that the problem can be addressed effectively. Some similarity will be observed with the treatment of Bruxism and TMJ because the first phase of TMJ treatment makes use of a mouth guard, and the most common treatment for night grinding is also a sleep mouth guard.
The mouth guard used for treating bruxism acts as a protective barrier between the upper and lower teeth.
The mouth guards used for treating TMJ disorders function differently. They are always made of rigid acrylic material. Also called a splint, these mouth guards help to raise the bite and reposition the jaw in a position that helps relieve the patient of any symptoms and discomfort. Due to the precise nature of a TMJ splint, the dentist may need to make multiple adjustments in order to achieve the perfect position. For patients suffering from TMJ, we do NOT recommend ordering a night guard online. Instead, they should seek a solution from their dentist.