The condition of grinding or clenching of teeth, or bruxism, occurs when upper and lower teeth slide back and forth repeatedly and are pressed together in an excessive manner. Often occurring unconsciously during the day or at night while sleeping, over time bruxism can potentially lead to a multitude of problems at any age for both children and adults alike.
Common Bruxism Symptoms
- Worn, flattened, fractured, loose, or chipped teeth.
- Stripped and exposed tooth enamel, fillings or crowns.
- Loud audible grinding or clicking noises from the mouth or jaw. Often noticeable to you or others around you.
- Reoccurring painful headaches or earaches
- Frequent toothaches and pain around the gums.
- Jaw or facial pains and general soreness.* Prolonged jaw pain may be related to Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJD, TMJ, or TMD), a grouping of conditions which cause pain and dysfunction in jaw joints and muscles. If you believe you have this disorder, please consult your dentist or primary care physician.
- Redness or bleeding along the insides of the cheek.
- Noticeable indentation on the tongue or sides of the tongue.Bruxism Causes
The exact causes of bruxism aren’t entirely certain by both dentists and doctors. However there are a variety of both physiological and psychological factors which are believed to be at the root of the condition. Some of these factors include:
- Misaligned upper and lower teeth (malocclusion), an abnormal bite, or missing and crooked teeth.
- Underlying strong emotions such as anxiety, anger, stress, frustration, tension, or overaggressive personality.
- High levels of caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, medication, or other psychoactive drug consumption.
- Sleeping disorders such as sleep apnea, snoring, or insomnia.
- Gastrointestinal problems or an esophageal acid reflux problem.
- A byproduct of a neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, or Huntington’s disease.Bruxism Treatment Options
Treatment may vary depending on your specific situation and symptoms. Accordingly your dentist may recommend one or more of the following options:
- Create a custom-made mouth guard or dental splint, generally intended to be worn at night, to protect teeth from grinding and clenching.
- Recommend stress reduction methods, new jaw relaxation techniques, stress counseling, or other diet and lifestyle changes.
- Prescribe anti-inflammatory or jaw relaxing medications.
- Repair any damage to affected teeth, fillings, or crowns.
- In more severe circumstances, refer patient to an orthodontist or an oral surgeon to correct misaligned teeth (malocclusion).Additional Advice
- Restrict chewing on non-food items such as chewing gum and pens or pencils
- Lower consumption of alcohol and foods or liquids which contain caffeine. Avoid excessive use of tobacco products, medications, and psychoactive drugs.Recognizing the symptoms, causes, and risk factors of bruxism early on, and seeking appropriate consultation from your dentist, can help in finding a successful treatment plan for you or your child. Please discuss any concerns or questions with your dentist during your next scheduled dental exam appointment.
Questions? Concerns? Call Dorosti Dental today at 740/452-3697.