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Bruxism is the medical term of teeth clenching or grinding unconsciously while awake or asleep. It can cause severe pain in the jaw and significant dental problems. It can also cause chronic headaches, ear pains, facial pain and even migraine. Dental problems resulting from bruxism include loss of tooth enamel, tooth sensitivity and flattening or eroding of teeth. Patients clenching or grinding teeth often wake up with jaw pain. Another side effect of bruxism is that the chewing muscles grow too large to form a square face.

TMJ disorders are complications related to the temporomandibular joint where jaw and skull come together. Although this joint is small, it can cause chronic pain and symptoms, which make daily work difficult. Symptoms of TMJ disorders are different from patient to patient. In some patients, the pain persists from time to time and in others, it persists for many years.

Diagnosis of TMD (Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction) can be difficult. Because the symptoms may resemble many other conditions.


Nighttime clenching and grinding are usually not noticed by patients. However, this condition prepares the ground for migraine pain and chronic headache.

Researches have confirmed that some people suffering from migraine pain and chronic headaches clench their jaws, but don’t feel the strain on one side of the jaw muscle because they clench their jaws in balanced and centered positions. In this case, there is very little strain on the chin although excessive muscle contraction occurs.


TMD / TMJ disorders can occur at any age. It is most commonly diagnosed in young adults aged 20 to 40 years. TMJ disorders are more common in women than in men.


The Symptoms  of  Bruxism (TMD / TMJ Disorders)

Only a dentist can diagnose if you have Bruxism. We recommend that you see a dentist if you have the following symptoms.

  • If you feel like your jaw comes out of place while you move it,

  • If you cannot open your mouth too wide,

  • If your jaw is stuck in certain positions,

  • If you hear small noises such as “sis” or “lac” while chewing or talking

  • If there is a prominent protrusion on one or both sides of your face,

  • If you have pain in your face, neck or shoulders while talking, eating or opening your mouth,

  • If you have a chronic headache or upper shoulder pain,

  • If you experience frequent dizziness,

  • If you have problems such as ear pain, tinnitus or hearing difficulties.

Treatment of Bruxism (TMD / TMJ Disorders)

The treatment of Bruxism varies depending on the severity of the symptoms that cause the diagnosis. Your dentist can recommend one or both of the following methods.


a. Traditional Method:

Bite guards are used in order to prevent the damage to the teeth of clenching and grinding at night. You can find the detailed information about bite guards in our site as a single treatment page titled “Bite Guards”.


b. Botox Injections:

Treatment with botox (botulinum toxin) is a very effective method of getting rid of jaw pain, headache and other ailments related to bruxism. It can also soften the appearance of the prominent jawline.

How is Botox applied in the Treatment of Bruxism?

Small doses of botulinum toxin are injected directly into the large chewing muscles to weaken them that they can’t involuntarily tighten which causes grinding and clenching. This relaxes the muscles and reduces the damage to the teeth and the jaw caused by grinding. As a result, symptoms such as headache and jaw pain are also reduced. There is no loss of conscious muscle movements, i.e. movements like chewing and facial expressions are never affected by botox.

Efficacy of Botulinum Toxin in the Treatment of Bruxism

Although botulinum toxin injections are not a definitive treatment to eliminate the main problems that cause bruxism, they can effectively control disturbing symptoms. The effects of the botulinum toxin used in this way typically last three to four months.


Comparison of Botulinum Toxin and Traditional Treatment Methods

Recently, botulinum toxin has proven to be an ideal treatment option for excessive muscle activity. Although bite guards can successfully protect teeth from damage at night, they are not effective in stopping the painful side effects of tooth grinding and they cannot protect the temporomandibular jaws from the damage of clenching and grinding. Your dentist may recommend one or both of these methods together.

Importance of Lifestyle in the Prevention of TMD / TMJ Disorders

If you have the habits of clenching and grinding, you can observe that these disorders and the resulting symptoms such as headache and migraine are often exacerbated in the periods of stress. We recommend that you take steps to reduce your stress level taking the necessary measures such as physical and breathing exercise or you can think about consulting a psychologist.

Bruxism (Jaw Clenching / Teeth Grinding)
TMD / TMJ Disorders

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