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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Can overnight teeth grinding cause temporomandibular joint disorder?

    My friends have told me that I grind my teeth at night. Lately I have noticed minor jaw pain… could this be a sign of temporomandibular joint disorder?
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    If you walk down to the end of your street, will your knees hurt?
    If you walk 40km, will your knees hurt?
    If you walk 20km, with a 20kg back pack, will your knees hurt?

    Grinding your teeth, is a natural activity in short bursts… like when you are chewing a meal. It shouldn't hurt your jaw joints.

    But grinding your teeth through out the night, under load, so that you can be heard… will lead to a number of things…
    1. Teeth that are worn down, past what is naturally normal,
    2. Tired aching jaw muscles, that are tender to palpation, and
    3. Sore jaw joints

    Temporomandibualr joint disorder, is a dental way of saying there is something wrong with your jaw joints… But it doesn't say what that problem is.

    Can overnight teeth grinding cause a problem with your jaw joints? Sure can.

    That includes meniscal perforation and wear, long term osteo-arthritis, joint capsulitis and joint sprain, local muscle fatigue and masticatory muscle hypertrophy and tenderness, and internal joint derangemnt with discal dislocation (and joint clicking).

    All of these diagnoses come under the banner of “temporo-mandibular joint disorder.”

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