Is There A Link Between TMJ Disorder And Bruxism?

Two jaw joints disorder impacts millions of people in the United States: TMJ disorder, also known as TMD, and bruxism. While very different, there are a lot of links between these two issues, and both could lead to serious problems for your overall oral health. In today’s blog, we talk about the symptoms of these disorders and how we can treat them.


TMJ disorder occurs when the jaw joints, which connect your jaw and skull, undergo excessive pressure. Over time, this pressure and the resulting disorder could make opening and closing your mouth difficult. Causes of the strain could include tooth loss, bite imbalance, misalignment, teeth grinding, or injury to the face or jaw. Unless treated, many people experience jaw pain, headaches and migraines, a popping or clicking in the jaw, and aches in the neck and shoulders.

Teeth Grinding

When we grind and clench our teeth, this places enormous pressure on both them and the jaw joints. Over time, this pressure could wear down tooth enamel and structure, making the teeth appear uneven and small and increasing the risk of tooth decay and dental infection. People also report regular tooth sensitivity and toothaches, as well as headaches and migraines, jaw pain and facial discomfort, and pain in the neck and shoulders. Possible factors behind the disorder may include stress and anxiety, untreated TMD, tooth loss and issues with the smile’s bite balance and alignment, injury to the face or jaw, and over consumption of caffeinated products.

Links and Treatment Options

If you begin to experience one or more of the symptoms we’ve looked at above, then please contact our team today. As a part of your exam we will employ advanced technology to take a detailed look at our teeth, gums, oral structures, and jaw joints. We will look for signs of wear stress, friction, and more, identifying the presence of one or both of these issues. Untreated TMJ disorder is linked to the onset of bruxism, and vice versa. While treatment could include everything from a restoration to orthodontics, we often employ oral appliance therapy.

We start by taking a detailed impression of your smile, and gathering measurements and images as well. We use this information to design and create a custom appliance that will fit like a mouthguard. Worn at night, the device actually repositions the jaw to ease jaw joint strain, and places a barrier between the upper and lower teeth to prevent further injury or damage.


At Sunny Smiles in El Paso, TX, we can help you find a solution to your jaw joint discomfort. If you have questions about preventive dentistry, then you can contact our N. Zaragoza dental practice by calling 915-849-9000.