Bruxism is another name for chronic teeth grinding. About 30% of the population habitually grind their teeth, and about 10% to 15% of all adults consistently experience bruxism at night.
Teeth grinding can lead to worn, damaged teeth and enamel, jaw and neck pain, headaches, and facial pain. Bruxism can also damage dental restorations, cosmetic dentistry work, and implants. Fortunately, dentists have strategies to relieve this increasingly common condition, including prescribing custom-made mouthguards and helping patients modify their behavior.
Causes of Bruxism
Stress and Mood Factors
People who feel distress, tension, depression, and nervousness are more likely to grind their teeth.
Genetic factors can determine whether a person has bruxism.
Alcohol or Caffeine Consumption
If a person consumes alcohol or caffeine, it could lead them to grind their teeth.
Smoking or using nicotine in any form increases the risk of bruxism.
Certain prescriptions like antidepressants, anti-seizure, and ADHD medications could worsen teeth grinding.
Consequences of Bruxism
Chronic teeth grinding can cause tooth damage, jaw soreness, headache, and facial pain.
If you grind your teeth to excess, they may wear down, damaging the enamel and weakening it to the point where you experience periodontal disease and tooth loss. You could fracture or crack teeth, requiring new implants or crowns. For these reasons, seek bruxism treatment promptly without waiting for the condition to cause additional problems.
If you believe you grind your teeth, your dentist can diagnose your condition using a physical exam. They will examine your teeth, muscles, and temporomandibular joints (TMJs) for signs of the condition. Report all related symptoms to your dentist so they can reach an accurate diagnosis. You may require a sleep study ordered by your primary care physician and dentist for sleep bruxism.
Management of Bruxism
If you have bruxism, you may worry that it is an unbreakable habit that will continue to cause tooth damage and discomfort. However, dentists have several options to help you feel better.
Your dentist can help you properly hold your lips, tongue, and teeth. They may instruct you to rest your tongue so the lips stay closed and the teeth stay apart.
If your medications cause bruxism, you may need to change your formulation or brand.
Your dentist can prescribe a custom-made mouthguard or oral splint that holds your jaw in the proper position during sleep. A mouthguard from the dentist is superior to an over-the-counter model.
Many patients with bruxism find relief after taking the time to reduce stress in their lives. Meditation, yoga, concentrating on getting proper sleep, and cutting back on alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine can help.
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If you have any of the symptoms listed above, talk to your dentist about treatment options. They can relieve your discomfort and protect your teeth from further damage.
What Is The Best Treatment For Bruxism?
Bruxism, also called teeth grinding, is a very common condition that can cause tooth damage and jaw pain. It can also worsen conditions like TMJ disorder.
The most effective treatment for bruxism is wearing custom night guards created by your dentist. Night guards protect your teeth, keeping the upper and lower teeth apart and allowing the jaw muscles to relax fully.
What is Bruxism?
Bruxism is a term for chronic teeth grinding during the day or at night. People may grind their teeth for many reasons, including stress, missing teeth, and a misaligned dental bite.
If you have bruxism, you may notice one or more of the following symptoms or related conditions:
- Sleep disruptions
- Morning headaches and facial pain
- Tooth fractures
- Premature tooth wear
- Loose or painful teeth
- Pain when eating
- TMJ disorder
In some cases, you may need a comprehensive medical sleep study to confirm the presence of bruxism. Speak to your dentist and primary care physician with any sleep-related concerns.
Many people grind their teeth due to high anxiety and stress levels. A tooth-grinding habit can become entrenched and persist even after the source of stress resolves. Dentists also implicate alcohol and tobacco use, especially before bedtime.
Structural problems with the teeth and jaws can also worsen bruxism. You may involuntarily clench or grind if you have poorly aligned or missing teeth.
Treatment for Bruxism
Bruxism can interfere with your sleep, relaxation, and oral health. If you have symptoms of this disorder, call us as soon as possible to discuss options for relief.
Custom Night Guards
Night guards for bruxism can help to prevent much of the damage caused by this condition. The night guard protects the teeth from rubbing together during sleep, preventing tooth fractures and premature wear and breaking the cycle of bruxism. It may take a few weeks to become accustomed to wearing a night guard.
Sometimes physicians prescribe muscle relaxants to patients with bruxism, but complementary medicine and night guards are likely more effective.
Many patients with bruxism benefit from managing their stress and anxiety. Yoga, meditation, gentle stretching, talk therapy, and anti-anxiety medications can help. Talk to your dentist about whether stress management could help you overcome bruxism.
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If you have bruxism, you know how much this disorder can interfere with your life. The painful symptoms may keep you awake at night and make you irritable during the day. Fortunately, your dentist can help you feel better and protect your teeth from future damage.
Please don't hesitate to call our Melville, NY, office at 631-351-3444 if you believe you have bruxism. We can schedule a consultation to check on your teeth and ensure their future health. WIth proper treatment, we can relieve your pain and help you relax.