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The Basics of Bruxism

February 15, 2017

First things first…what exactly is bruxism? According to The Bruxism Association, bruxism is a habit that affects about 8-10 percent of the population. It’s characterized by grinding teeth and clenching the jaw either during the day or at night. Bruxism is most common among adults age 25-44, but it also occurs among children.

Common symptoms of bruxism
If you believe you or a loved one may have undiagnosed bruxism, keep an eye out for these most common symptoms and schedule an appointment with your dentist or temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder specialist to learn more about treatment options for your unique symptoms:

-Grinding teeth, especially if it’s loud enough for your sleep partner to hear while sleeping
-Tooth sensitivity
-Jaw or facial pain
-Headache in the temples
-Problems with your teeth, including chipping, fracturing or looseness
-Earache-like pain that doesn’t originate from the ear

Two types of bruxism
Now that you know what bruxism is, you should know that there are two different types of bruxism.

Awake bruxism
For those with awake bruxism, it’s more common for individuals to clench their jaw subconsciously throughout the day than tooth grinding. Awake bruxism is often associated with heightened stress and anxiety.

Sleep bruxism
If you’ve noticed that your jaw hurts or your teeth are more sensitive after you wake up, you may have sleep bruxism. It is also considered a sleep-related movement disorder, and those with sleep bruxism are more likely to be diagnosed with other sleep disorders.

Are bruxism and TMJ linked?
Bruxism and TMJ are two different medical diagnoses. And while they do share several symptoms, self-diagnosing either condition is extremely difficult. However, untreated bruxism may lead to ongoing TMJ issues.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of bruxism and are unsure whether you have bruxism or TMJ, consider scheduling an appointment with a knowledgeable TMJ professional to give you the answers you’re looking for. Dr. Mitakides has more than 40 years of experience in diagnosing and treating TMJ and is now accepting new patients. Schedule an appointment online today or give us a call at 937-427-3131 to learn more.