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Causes and Treatment of Bruxism
“Bruxism” is the medical term to describe teeth grinding. Many people grind or clench their teeth due to anxiety or stress (even in their sleep), but when the grinding occurs on a consistent basis the teeth can suffer damage and possibly lead to other serious oral health problems. A visit with our dentists can may be a solution if you suffer from bruxism.
Although many grind their teeth during stressful situations, most often grinding happens when asleep so you are not aware you are doing damage until it is too late. An abnormal bite or missing or cracked teeth can also be causes of bruxism.
How can you know if you are grinding your teeth while asleep?
- Dull, constant headaches
- Grinding may be detected by a partner, friend or family member.
- Sore jaw or tenderness in the TMJ (jaw joint)
If you suspect grinding your teeth has become more than just occasional, an exam by your dentist can reveal signs of bruxism such as jaw tenderness or teeth abnormalities. Following up with your dentist if you are grinding is critical.
The Effects of Bruxism
Constant grinding may result in broken teeth, and even tooth loss. It’s even possible to grind teeth down to virtual stumps. If this happens, you are looking at the potential for bridges, crowns, root canals, dental implants or dentures or more costly dental care. Severe grinding can also lead to hearing loss or serious conditions like TMJ which can even alter your appearance due to the affect bruxism can have on your jaw.
Options for relief of teeth grinding
There are several options our dental team can offer you to relieve bruxism. Wearing a professionally fitted mouth guard during sleep will protect your teeth from grinding during the night.
If you are grinding due to stress, your dentist can recommend ways to relieve that stress through professional counseling, exercise or possibly muscle relaxants.
Things you can do on your own to possibly reduce grinding include cutting back on foods and beverages that contain caffeine, avoid alcohol consumption, do not chew gum or anything that is not food as this allows your jaw muscles to train to clench.
If you realize you are clenching your teeth either during the day or if you awaken to realize you are clenching your teeth, the quickest way to stop right then is to place your tongue between your teeth or open your mouth and try to keep it open for as long as you can.
These two exercises are only temporary, however. Grinding or bruxism can be resolved by visiting Fielder Park Dental for professional treatment and results.