The Difference Between Bruxism and TMJ Explained

Written byTMJ Relief

UPDATE: For detailed information and practical steps to help you beat TMJ disorder naturally, take a look at TMJ No More.

It’s sometimes hard to understand a health condition that you may suffer from.

It’s even more difficult to understand your given health condition when it tends to be similar to another one out there. Just when you thought you knew what made your health condition the way that it is, then there is conflicting or overlapping information.

The problem is that a lot of people tend to brush off one condition if they believe it is similar to another condition.

Sometimes there is not one cure that fits all

It’s a natural tendency to group such conditions together and try to find a “one size fits all” type of solution.

Though there may be some similarities and some helpful solutions between the two, they may actually be quite different in the end.

You as a patient have to be your own best advocate here. You have to work to find a solution to this problem and ultimately ensure that your condition doesn’t just get grouped into a bigger broader category.

Though similarities may exist, contributing factors and therefore coping mechanisms may vary. This is where your diligence to finding a cure and understanding the differences matters greatly.

One such similarity is lumping together TMJ Disorder and Bruxism.

Though there are some very similar links between these conditions, they are both individual and separate health conditions.

Some similarities don’t make for identical conditions

There is a tendency to use the conditions TMJ syndrome and Bruxism interchangeably.

It’s understandable really, but there are some vast differences between these conditions.

You may find that a mouth guard can help with both conditions and this is an important similarity. It is however much more a matter of understanding why the condition exists in the first place though.

If you can search for a cause within your own life that can help you in coping in the long term. Understanding what each condition is and is not makes for an excellent starting point in the process.

Both are involuntary but Bruxism has no root cause - when you look at TMJ disorder specifically you can tell that it happens due to the joints surrounding the jaw bone.

Understanding that this layout of the jaw so to speak allows for movement which isn’t supposed to be there. You will find that there is a cause to point to which explains the condition.

Such is not the case with Bruxism, and therefore it may be a much more universal problem.

This is a condition that you can’t really point to any one condition or factor as a method of blame.

Yes you may find teeth clenching involved in both conditions but the difference is the cause. You will also find that Bruxism specifically is defined by an involuntary clenching that you may not even realize is happening.

**Both conditions may be happening at night, but somebody with TMJ tends to be much more aware of this happening. **

This may be something that they have dealt with for a very long time as their jaw has always been a bit “out of whack”.

So while there may be similarities between the two conditions, Bruxism often happens without any warning or real cause.

It may be due to stress or just environmental factors.

TMJ is truly a health condition that you may have dealt with for years to a certain extent. While Bruxism is something that you may find that you are coming head to head with and there is no warning whatsoever.

TMJ is usually caused by the layout of the jaw and jaw bones: At the heart of TMJ disorder is the fact that the layout of the mouth is a bit unusual.

TMJ may also be caused by an underlying or similar condition.

In addition this may be due to the actual layout of the jaw itself.

Bruxism is not like this at all for it is due to teeth clenching and grinding that is happening when you aren’t even aware.

It is all attributed to the temporomandibular joint that holds the jaw together on either side. This is in a position that allows for limited motion or unusual movement which can cause the pain.

With TMJ there is a lot of pain because of this layout but Bruxism has pain associated because of the clenching directly.

They both involve teeth clinching but look for differentiating factors: When you get to the root cause of these conditions, then you can find your answers.

Bruxism is caused by teeth clenching at night. You might be able to point to certain factors which make this more likely such as stress or your environment before you go to sleep.

With TMJ you may also experience the same teeth clenching, but there are also other factors associated with it. You may find that you can point to times during the day where the clenching is happening and where the pain derives from.

These similarities mean that you can often turn to a mouth guard to help with either of them. This can help you to keep from clenching your teeth, but the similarities end there.

You will want to work through the root cause or the times when you tend to engage in this behavior more. This can alleviate the pain and lead you to longer term coping mechanisms.

Though they are similar conditions, getting to the heart of the underlying issues may help you to suffer less. It may also ensure that you get a hold on the condition once and for all and ensure that it doesn’t overcome you in the long term.

**TMJ often has noises associated with it and is very distinct in its presence **- This may help you to really get to the root of the problem.

One of the most notable aspects of TMJ disorder is that it is characterized by clicking noises. They are not hard to spot for you can actually hear it happening, and therefore it makes it very clear.

This is due to the jaw bones being situated in a way that somehow allows for movement.

The joints in this area allow the jaw to move in a rather unnatural way.

The end results of this unusual movement is that the clicking noises become very routine. You can hear them when they are occurring, though the most painful part of this is often at night.

This is why so many people have a hard time differentiating between TMJ disorder and Bruxism - for both of them often show up at night.

You may not even realize the clicking noises at first unless somebody that you sleep near hears them. They don’t become as prominent until the condition has really set in.

Once TMJ disorder is a common part of life, then you will hear the clicking noises more often even during the day.

You may not be doing anything and then the clicking will occur, often in the morning too.

Look for telltale signs of either condition so that you are fully aware of what you are dealing it. Similarities in both conditions don’t mean that they are the exact same condition, so understand that.

Neither is a desirable health condition but you can work through it and solve it if you really look at the problem.

You can alleviate the pain and discomfort associated with either condition once you know how to handle it.

Whether it’s TMJ disorder or Bruxism, there is help to be found and now you can start by understanding what you are truly dealing with.

  • Share:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
TMJ Relief
TMJ Relief
"Everything you need to know about TMJ relief, strategies and healing. Right here."
Make sure to subscribe.
Get regular advice on TMJ right here. Join now:
TMJ Essentials
Get regular advice on TMJ right here. Join now:

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter:

Disclaimer: TMJ Relief is not a licensed or accredited medical practitioner or clinic.
It is imperative that you consult your doctor before taking any advice from the opinion pieces on this site.
© TMJ Relief, 2023. Privacy Terms Disclaimer DMCA