TMJ & Bruxism Can Make Smiling Painful

TMJ & Bruxism Can Make Smiling Painful

TMJ/Bruxism is a condition that leaves the person with pain around their jaw area and makes the area from the ears to the jaws and under the nose tender and painful. Activities like chewing and drinking can even become problematic if your TMJ/Bruxism gets too advanced without you seeking treatment for it.

What Causes Bruxism/TMJ?

Bruxism/TMJ generally manifests itself through the following symptoms:

  • Pain in or around the ear
  • Tender jaw muscles
  • Clicking/popping noises of the jaw
  • Difficulties with opening/closing the mouth
  • Jaw joints that often feel as if they “lock” or go in and out of their joints
  • Headaches

These symptoms can last for days to weeks or even months until the treatment gets rendered. It’s rare that “waiting the condition out” fixes your symptoms get any better or less painful. If you experience these consistently, contact your dentist for an appointment is strongly recommended.

Causes of Bruxism/TMJ

Bruxism/TMJ can get caused by a whole variety of different issues, including some of the following:

  • Jaw/head injuries
  • Diseases that affect the muscles/joints such as arthritis
  • Tooth grinding
  • Anxiety and stress

These causes are not always even noticeable to the person who is suffering from Bruxism/TMJ. For example, you might not feel all that much more stressed, but if you are, then, you might be grinding your teeth at night while you sleep and not even know it. Experiencing these various symptoms and having bruxism/TMJ will require treatment by your dentist.

What is Bruxism?

Bruxism is a condition where the gnashing or grinding of the jaw is so intense that leaves the joint around the jaw temporarily “locked” or “paralyzed” and causes severe muscle soreness, pain, and discomfort when someone tries to do even simple thing such as speak, eat, or drink.

Professional dental treatment is key to helping treat any case of bruxism/TMJ that you may experience. Self-care is also a requirement to preserve your jaw and allow your jaw to rest while you recover. Your dentist will provide you with all the information you need for proper care.

Effects on Teeth

The results of bruxism on your teeth can range from shorter-term discomfort and even pain to longer-term jaw, face, and muscle soreness. The pain people experience will vary between people but the common short-term side-effects are generally what gets mentioned above.

Longer-term side effects of a condition like bruxism can become a little more severe. The long-term effects of bruxism can cause the gradual wearing down and straining of your teeth over time. There is little that can get done to teeth that have already become flattened, but people who have flattened issues with their teeth often experience a variety of different trips to the dentist for chipped, cracked, and otherwise damaged teeth, which proves to be quite costly.

In the worst cases of bruxism/TMJ, you might look at having to have teeth extracted and having to get dentures to replace the teeth that got worn too far down.


Treatments for bruxism/TMJ often come in the form of the patient having to wear a night guard while sleeping to protect the teeth from the grinding that you were not aware that you’re doing. Not having your teeth grind late at night can alleviate many of the symptoms you experience even throughout the daylight hours.


At Terrace Smiles Dentistry, we are here to help you with any bruxism/TMJ issues that you might find yourself having. Please contact us to make a consultation appointment at your earliest convenience to see how we can meet your oral health needs starting today.


*The patient and any other person responsible for payment has a right to refuse to pay, cancel payment, or be reimbursed for payment for any other service, examination, or treatment that is performed as a result of and within 72 hours of responding to the advertisement for the free, discounted fee, or reduced fee service, examination, or treatment.