Bruxism and temporomandibular disorders

Bruxism is an abnormal grinding or gnashing of teeth which can happen while you are awake or asleep. It may play a role in temporomandibular disorders (TMD), although the exact link between the two is unknown.

A number of studies show a strong link between bruxism and TMD. The relation between the two is complex and it may be that bruxism leads to TMD symptoms or that both occur simultaneously.

Many patients are unaware that they clench or grind, particularly if they have sleep bruxism. The following symptoms may be indicative of bruxism :

  • Sleep partner’s complaint of tooth grinding.
  • Waking with restriction in muscles of mastication.
  • Waking with tooth or gum sensitivity.
  • Indentations in the inside of the cheeks or the edges of the tongue.
  • Hypertrophy of the masseter muscles.
  • Excessive dental wear, including loosening or fracturing of the teeth.
  • TMJ clicking or locking, TMJ pain, headache.
  • Snoring can be an indicator of sleep bruxism.