307 Grafton St #203, Shrewsbury, MA 01545

Jaw Soreness? TMJ Disorder May Be the Cause

Have you been waking up with a sore jaw? Do you experience regular headaches? Does your bite feel off or uncomfortable? You could be experiencing a jaw disorder that affects your TMJ, which is the joint that connects your jawbone to the rest of your skull. Common dental conditions that affect your TMJ include bruxism and TMD. You may not realize that you have these dental disorders, because the disordered behavior often occurs while you’re sleeping or you’re not aware of your actions while awake. Soon you’ll start regularly experiencing the symptoms and seek relief.

What is the Difference Between TMJ & Bruxism?

Have you ever heard someone say they “have TMJ”? They are likely referring to the TMJ disorder temporomandibular disorder, or TMD for short. Many people casually use the term TMJ to reference a jaw condition, but in reality, TMJ is simply an abbreviation for your jaw joint. TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint. You have two of these joints, one on each side of your mouth. The joint connects your jaw to your skull. So really, everyone has a TMJ — but not everyone has issues with their TMJ. Bruxism is teeth grinding and it can cause jaw soreness and pain. The two terms are often confused, but just remember that bruxism is a condition while TMJ is simply a part of your anatomy.

Treatment for TMD & Teeth Grinding

If you have been experiencing headaches, jaw pain, and worn tooth surfaces, you may require treatment for bruxism or TMD. At your next dental cleaning and check-up, consult your dentist about your concerns. A common treatment is a custom-made dental appliance that you wear while you sleep. This soft plastic oral insert is customized for your mouth, so you can comfortably wear while sleeping without interruption. The appliance adds a barrier so you are not able to grind your teeth.


At Modern Dentistry, Todd A. Pizzi, DDS, and Luciana Messina, DDS, are dedicated to providing high-quality cosmetic, restorative, and preventive dentistry services to patients and families in Shrewsbury, Worcester, North and South Grafton, Westborough, Southborough, Northborough, Boylston, Hopkinton, Millbury, and all surrounding communities. To schedule your next appointment, contact our office by calling (508) 842-6356 today.