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Difference between bruxism and TMJ

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Temporomandibular joint (TMJ)disorders are known as different medical problems. It is a condition where persistent teeth grinding is generally seen. Similar symptoms are also seen in case of bruxism. However, there are some differences between bruxism and TMJ.

Bruxism (teeth grinding)

It is a voluntary or habitual grinding or cleanching of the teeth. If it occurs during the sleep, it is known asleep bruxism. You will become aware of this problem by looking at the symptoms. The symptoms include headaches, jaw pain, lose teeth, mouth pain and teeth sensitivity.

Bruxism is not very common but at the same time it is not also uncommon. About one in 10 people may suffer from bruxism. Bruxism happens because of several reasons. The main factors include stress, diet, an attorney and pharmacology.


If you are under high stress level all the time, you are likely to have some health impacts. Vascular and psychiatric problems may result from such high stress situations. The stress factors include interpersonal relationships, finances, work and general health. Stress may result in bruxism without you even knowing about it.

Dental anatomy

Due to poor structural alignment of your teeth, you may suffer from bruxism. If the structure of your teeth is not what it should be, it may create problems when you chew food. Sometimes, you may need to increase effort and force while eating and chewing. It may result in pain, discomfort and sometimes dental damage and may cause bruxism.


If you are suffering from nutritional deficiencies because your diet is not able to provide you with the necessary vitamins and minerals, than you may suffer from bruxism. Such deficiencies can have direct negative effect on your body and different systems. Destructive and self reinforcing reactions may happen as a result of nonavailability of the important and essential vitamins and nutrients. If you are eating a diet which is low in potassium, then it may result in muscle cramping, which will result in pain and that may result in emotional tension. Such attention can result in muscoskeletal tension.


Some of the medicines may cause bruxism in some people. Narcotics and other psycho biological agents may also cause such problems. You should be very careful while using any of the products that increase activation of the sympathetic nervous system because they can result in brauxism and TMJ. Coffee, sugar, tobacco and even some prescription medications may also stimulate this part of the nervous system too much and may result in these problems.


TMJ syndromes have some specific characteristic symptoms which include characteristic clicking and popping sound, pain or discomfort in the juncture between the jaw and skull, felt and heard inside or in front of the ear. It can result from bruxism.

Bruxism is a behaviour but TMJ is not a behavioural dysfunction. Bruxism is a distinct condition but TMJ dysfunction is very difficult to find out. That is why you will find so many conflicting information about TMJ.

This disorder may show up in different ways. And the multiple manifestations of this problem is not yet fully known. The term TMJ syndromes include a lot many different types of syndromes under one umbrella. The most common symptom of TMJ is the clicking or popping sound. The pain or discomfort in the juncture between the jaw and skulll is another common symptom. You can hear the sound yourself.

Sometimes, it may be very difficult for you to find out what problem you have. A certified medical practitioner will be able to help you to diagnose it better.


1. Cure For Tmj, Bruxing And Tooth Grinding – Blue Heron Health News
2. Tiagabine May Reduce Bruxism and Associated Temporomandibular Joint Pain
3. TMJ Disorders