Bruxism is the frequent gnashing, grinding or clenching of teeth. It is a behavior that usually takes place while you are asleep. In some cases, some people may grind their teeth unconsciously throughout the day. Bruxism can have negative effects on the health of your teeth and the appearance of your smile.
If you notice signs that you have been grinding your teeth during your sleep or frequently while you are awake, it is important that you speak with your dentist about what can be done to stop the behavior and protect your oral health. Bruxism that is not addressed may result in permanently impaired teeth.
There are many indications of bruxism. You may experience:
- Soreness in the jaw or face
- Painful, fractured, loosened, chipped or flattened teeth
- Dull headaches
- The sound of grinding teeth
- Increase tooth sensitivity
- Worn tooth enamel
What Causes Bruxism?
There are many causes of bruxism. The conditions most associated with bruxism in adults include:
- Sleep disorders
- Alcohol consumption
- Tobacco use
- Abnormal bite
- Missing or crooked teeth
Children may also suffer from bruxism. In many cases, the behavior may not be particularly damaging because children’s teeth and jaws are still in the developmental stage and they may outgrow the behavior. However, while they are experiencing bruxism, they will be experiencing its sometimes painful symptoms. It is important to look out for signs of bruxism in your child, especially if he or she has:
- Misaligned teeth
- Irritations in the mouth
To protect your teeth while you sleep, your dentist may recommend using a mouth guard. It is a device that is created to form a barrier between the upper and lower teeth, separating them to prevent damage that is caused by the constant grinding and clenching while you are asleep. It will be composed of a durable acrylic material that is fashioned from impressions of your teeth to provide a tailored fit. For the mouth guard to be effective, it should be worn every night, although you may have a period of adjustment to get used to wearing the mouth guard.
If it is a dental issue, such as misaligned teeth, that is causing your bruxism, you dentist may recommend the necessary corrective dental procedure. However, if the bruxism is caused by a psychological condition, such as anxiety or stress, the underlying condition should be addressed. You should focus on ways to manage the condition by finding ways to relax. Counseling, meditation, muscle relaxants and exercise can all help reduce stress and anxiety.
Protect Your Smile
If you suffer from bruxism, contact us at Premier Dental Care. We can determine the cause of your bruxism and provide you with the proper dental treatment to prevent the damage and pain it can cause.