#44 Bruxism and Oromandibular Dystonia both cause TMD/TMJ

Wow!  Those are some big words for the patient to understand so it’s best that I define both.

Bruxism is the technical term for clenching and grinding the teeth. Bruxism is one of the three causes of TMD/TMJ because the constant and involuntary motion of the jaws eventually cause damage and chronic inflammation within the Jaw joints. It is a known fact that stress leading to anxiety is associated with Bruxism.

Oromandibular Dystonia is a technical term used primarily by the medical establishment describing a person who has involuntary constant or intermittent jaw movements while awake.  Most often, these uncontrollable jaw movements diminish while sleeping.  Studies have found that 40% of patients with Oromandibular Dystonia have a history of taking psychiatric medication.  Therefore, it is assumed that psychiatric medications have something to do with causing Oromandibular Dysostosis.

All involuntary management and coordination of motion of the of the jaw is done in the brain stem.  The brain stem is the lowest part of the brain located just above the spinal cord. The brain stem contains a complex conjunction of nerve cell bodies called nuclei in very close proximity to each other.  Messages from one nuclei are transmitted to the nuclei of adjacent nuclei receiving and sending signals constantly to coordinate the motions necessary for speech, chewing, swallowing, and singing.

Like any group of cells within the body, nuclei can be damaged or influenced by drugs, trauma, infection, inflammation, hormones and a host of other factors.  In the case of the nuclei coordinating motion of the jaw, they are also influenced by stress and anxiety. But we don’t know exactly how.  All we can currently say is that stress and anxiety can create bruxism, the involuntary motion of the jaw.

Psychiatric drugs can also cause the involuntary movement of the jaw.  Psychiatric drugs of all varieties have their primary influence on the nervous system. (Upper brain, brain stem, spinal cord, peripheral nerves, and the autonomic nervous system) The unwanted side effects of psychiatric drugs are well known and listed in long columns on their drug package inserts.  In addition to prescribed psychiatric drugs, our current population is awash with prescribed medications for anxiety, sleep disorders, and nervous stomach gastrointestinal problems.  Cannabis, alcohol, and all illegal “street” drugs have substantial detrimental effects on the entire nervous system and now commonly used by the vast majority of Americans.

The nervous system, once damaged by drugs and/or anxiety does not necessarily heal and leaves the patient with chronic Bruxism and/or Oromandibular Dystopia.

Both Bruxism and Oromandibular Dystopia eventually damage the internal structures of the Temporomandibular Joints in turn creating chronic inflammation which leads to all the symptoms of TMD/TMJ.

If you have any of the symptoms of TMD/TMJ caused by Bruxism or Oromandibular Dystopia call and schedule a consultation.

Our team at TMJ Services of Brentwood are here to help.