Bruxism is a condition in which you grind or clench your teeth. If you have bruxism, you may unconsciously clench your teeth when you're awake, or clench or grind them during sleep. Mild bruxism may not require treatment. However, for some people, bruxism can be frequent and severe enough to lead to jaw disorders, headaches, damaged teeth and other problems.
It's important to talk to your dentist if you feel you are experiencing any of these bruxism symptoms. Regular dental checkups can also reveal problems with your teeth if you regularly grind or clench them. Your dentist can recommend a mouthguard so you don't damage your teeth.
TMD stands for Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, and typically this disorder presents in pain in the areas of the joints holding the upper and lower jaw together, which may result in difficulty for the patient in moving the jaw.
Signs or symptoms of TMD include pain and tenderness in or around the ear, the jaw or the muscles face or temples. Other symptoms are problems opening or closing your mouth, and a clicking, popping, crunching or grinding noise when you chew, yawn or open your mouth. TMD may be linked with neck pain and headaches. In most cases, TMD are caused by a combination of factors like jaw injuries and joint disease, such as arthritis. It is believed that bruxism and head or neck muscle tension may make TMD symptoms worse. Stress is also a possible factor.
To properly diagnose TMD, your dentist will conduct a thorough medical and dental evaluation and may take certain X-rays (panoramic) to evaluate the jaw joint and surrounding structures and check your occlusion. He may check the muscles and tissues of the head and neck to test for inflammation. Certain exercises and movements may be involved, and you may get a referral to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon for further evaluation and diagnosis.