Bruxism and TMJ: Understanding the Connection Between Teeth Grinding and Jaw Pain

Bruxism and TMJ: Understanding the Connection Between Teeth Grinding and Jaw Pain

July 7, 2023

What is Bruxism and TMJ?

Bruxism involves the clenching, gnashing, or grinding of teeth. It can occur during the day but is more common when asleep at night. It can be caused by stress, anxiety, or even an abnormal bite.

TMJ is responsible for jaw movement, allowing us to speak, chew, and yawn. When this joint is damaged or inflamed, it can cause pain, discomfort, and difficulty opening or closing the mouth. There is a direct connection between bruxism and TMJ pain.

Consult a dentist or a healthcare professional specializing in treating TMJ disorders and Bruxism in Boca Raton, FL. They can diagnose your condition and recommend appropriate treatment options to alleviate your pain and discomfort.

Symptoms of Bruxism and TMJ

Bruxism, or grinding of the teeth, is often characterized by the sound of teeth grinding or clenching during sleep, but it can also happen during the day. Other symptoms of bruxism include headaches, jaw pain, and worn-down teeth.

TMJ is often associated with difficulty chewing or speaking and pain or tenderness in the jaw joint or muscles. Patients with TMJ pain may also experience headaches, earaches, and neck pain. Many factors, including injury, arthritis, and bruxism, can cause TMJ pain.

Treating bruxism near you and TMJ pain may include mouthguards or splints, stress management techniques, and physical therapy. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary.

Causes of Bruxism and TMJ

Stress and anxiety are the primary triggers of bruxism. Misaligned teeth or a poorly fitting dental appliance can also cause bruxism. In addition, certain medications, such as antidepressants, can cause bruxism as a side effect. If left untreated, bruxism can lead to more serious dental problems, such as chipped or cracked teeth and TMJ pain.

Various factors, including injury to the jaw, arthritis, and stress, can cause TMJ.

If you are experiencing bruxism or TMJ pain, you must talk to a dentist near you for appropriate treatment.

The connection between bruxism and TMJ:

  • Overuse of the Jaw Muscles

Overuse of the jaw muscles through clenching and grinding can lead to pain and discomfort in the jaw, neck, and head. People who grind their teeth often also have problems with their TMJ. The constant overuse of the jaw muscles can cause inflammation and irritation in the joints that connect the jaw to the skull. If left untreated, TMJ can cause headaches, earaches, and tooth loss.

  • Misalignment of the Jaw

People who suffer from bruxism may be more likely to develop TMJ due to chronic clenching and grinding of their teeth, which can put excessive pressure on the joint. Conversely, TMJ people may also grind their teeth to alleviate pain or discomfort in the jaw. This constant pressure on the jaw can cause a misalignment of the jaw, leading to pain and discomfort, and damage to the teeth and gums.

  • Stress and Anxiety

Over time, the constant grinding and clenching of the teeth can lead to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, which affects the joint connecting the jawbone to the skull. TMJ disorder can cause jaw pain, discomfort, headaches, earaches, and difficulty opening and closing the mouth. The link between bruxism and TMJ is often attributed to stress and anxiety.

Grinding teeth unconsciously can lead to wear and tear on the teeth and damage to the TMJ. Managing stress and anxiety through techniques can help reduce the incidence of bruxism and prevent the development of TMJ disorder.

Treatment Options for Bruxism and TMJ

If you’re experiencing bruxism and Dental TMJ, sleep apnea, or bruxism, seeking treatment to prevent further damage and alleviate symptoms is important.

For bruxism, your dentist in Boca Raton, FL, may recommend a custom-made mouthguard to wear at night. This mouthguard will help to protect your teeth from further damage caused by grinding and clenching. Stress reduction techniques and cognitive behavioral therapy can also effectively manage bruxism symptoms.

For TMJ, your dentist may recommend a combination of treatments. This can include muscle relaxants, pain relievers, and physical therapy exercises to alleviate pain and improve jaw function. If your bruxism and TMJ pain are caused by misaligned teeth or jaw, orthodontic treatment like braces, Invisalign, or other orthodontic appliances can correct the bite and realign the jaw.


Bruxism and TMJ pain can be a frustrating and painful experiences for many individuals. However, with proper diagnosis and treatment, taking control of the condition and managing the symptoms is possible. Visit Drs. Abdel-Fattah and Alattar, if you suspect you may suffer from Bruxism or TMJ pain.