FAQs and Answers About Bruxism

FAQs and Answers About Bruxism

FAQs and Answers About Bruxism

Bruxism is the clinical term for chronic teeth grinding. It’s a movement disorder that can cause serious health complications, including dental problems. It’s possible to have bruxism without realizing it. In fact, some people are unaware that they have this disorder until they visit their dentist for a routine check-up. Dentists can easily spot the signs of bruxism in the mouth.

Is bruxism the same as TMJ disorder?

Both bruxism and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder involve the jaw. However, they aren’t the same thing. Bruxism involves gnashing, grinding, or clenching the teeth in an involuntary or habitual fashion. TMJ disorder occurs when there is a misalignment or malfunction with the jaw joints. The imbalance between the jaw and the skull, and the muscular malfunctions that can occur, can result in severe jaw pain and stiffness, and changes of the teeth. It’s possible to have both bruxism and TMJ disorder.

Are there different types of bruxism?

Yes, there are two types. Sleep bruxism occurs when a person clenches or grinds the teeth during sleep. Patients are typically unaware that this is occurring, although the grinding may be significant enough to cause awakening. The other type, awake bruxism, happens when the patient is awake. Although awake bruxism occurs during waking hours, it’s important to note that it’s still involuntary or due to habitual mannerisms. Patients don’t intend to clench and grind their teeth—it just happens.

Is bruxism a serious problem?

Bruxism is definitely a serious problem. When left unmanaged, bruxism can cause the wearing away of the enamel on the teeth, which increases the risk of tooth sensitivity and cavities. It can also cause chipped teeth and contribute to gum recession. Some patients may grind the teeth so severely that a tooth can sustain a major fracture, requiring a root canal and crown or an extraction.
Whether you have bruxism or TMJ disorder—or both—you can find the expert help you need at the dental office of John R. Carson, DDS. We use state-of-the-art diagnostic and therapeutic technologies to help our patients reclaim their oral health. New and current patients in the Tucson area can reach us at (520) 514-7203 to request an appointment.