Find yourself clenching and grinding your teeth often? Do you often wake up with headaches and jaw pain? Does the eerie sound of you grinding your teeth at night drive your partner crazy? You my friend, may have bruxism.
Bruxism is fairly common. Depending on the phase of Bruxism, different types of treatment can be put into place.
If you are just hearing about Bruxism for the first time, you are in the right place to find out all you need to know about this dental condition.
So, What Is Bruxism?
Bruxism or bruxing is most commonly known as tooth grinding. Bruxism is the medical term for the clenching or grinding of the teeth.
This clenching activity of the teeth is sometimes a result of unconscious activities. Many people clench their jaws either during their sleep or while wide awake. If you have ever heard someone grind their teeth at night, you know the sound can be awful!
What Are The Causes Of Bruxism?
Grinding your teeth can happen consciously or subconsciously. When grinding or clenching your teeth occurs regularly, it can pose many oral health complications that can lead to damage of the teeth.
Clenching teeth can be caused by many reasons and they may not be a result of an underlying disease.
There are many reasons why this condition occurs. Some of these include:
Stress is one of the primary reasons why people clench their jaws it grind their teeth. This is caused by a result of pressure or tension that may be from very demanding and stressful situation or lifestyle.
The main reason people experience stress can be linked to physical, emotional and psychological well being of the person. It could be one or a combination of the above-mentioned causes that bring about this condition.
- Anxiety Disorder
Bruxism can also germinate as a result of a mental health disorder. This disorder usually manifests in the form of worry, fear or uncontrollable anxiety.
These mental disorders causes are strong enough to cause either the conscious or subconscious clenching and grinding of the teeth.
- Misalignment Of Teeth
The abnormal arrangement of your upper and lower teeth could also be the cause of bruxism. This is often caused by the irregular alignment of the jaw in the dental region.l
Misalignment of the teeth could result in jaw pain and some physical deformity from this misalignment. This situation often leads to the clenching and grinding of the teeth.
- Sleep Apnea
This progressive deep sleep disorder causes breathing to repeatedly start and stop. This could result in different episodes of not breathing while sleeping. This disorder could also be accompanied with teeth grinding and clenching.
- Cracked Tooth
Cracked tooth syndrome is a painful crack observed in a tooth. This could cause clenching of the teeth. This is often times accompanied by toothache. Cracked teeth could eventually lead to the total loss of that tooth.
Symptoms Of Bruxism
There are some symptoms you notice when you have a progressive case of bruxism.
The signs and symptoms of bruxism include:
- Clenching or grinding of teeth
- Fractured, loose or chipped teeth
- Worn tooth enamel which exposes the deeper layers of your tooth
- Increase in tooth sensitivity and toothache
- Tight jaw muscles due to misalignment and disarrangement
- Dull headache originating from the temples
- Sleep disorder and disruption
- Damage from chewing inside of the cheeks
- Soreness or face pain around the jaw
Bruxism that occurs while a person is awake is thought to be as a result of the psychological factor. An example of this would be stress or depression. Also, nail-biting, pen chewing, teeth clenching and cheek biting are some examples of the different forms of awake bruxism.
Clenching teeth while awake is also referred to as awake bruxism. This type can often be controlled through conscious mindfulness of this habit.
Nocturnal bruxism is a subconscious type of action. While some people are asleep, they may clench or grind their teeth. This type of bruxism is known as nocturnal bruxism.
When the person who has been grinding or clenching their teeth wakes up, they often have mouth, jaw and tooth pain. Headaches are common as well.
How Can You Prevent Bruxism?
Bruxism can be stopped through conscious dental practices and the use of a night guard (orthotic) to protect your teeth. This can have you wear away the night guard material as opposed to wearing away the enamel of your teeth. you can buy these online or in the store but my personal preference is to have an acrylic night guard made by your dentist.
It also protects your muscles and jaw against the excess force experienced during grinding. You should consult your dentist to find the right solution to your specific problem.
If the stress level caused by bruxism is contributing to your stress level, it is best you visit a doctor about this issue. Your doctor maybe able to provide you with tips or a medication that can help reduce your level of stress.
One of the most trusted ways of treating bruxism is stress counseling. Other options include exercising programs, physical therapy, or even a muscle relaxant.
Other useful tips necessary for the reduction of clenching or grinding teeth include the following:
- Reduce drinks and foods with a high concentration of caffeine such as chocolate and coffee
- Improved oral management exercises
- Avoid alcohol and smoking activities
- Avoid constantly chewing gum daily. It is also important not to chew pencils or anything that is not food. Avoid chewing ice.
- Consciously manage how your teeth come together.
- Realignment of the teeth through orthodontics or bracaes.
- Realignment of the teeth through an occlusal equilibration from your dentist.
- Therapy to determine the level of bruxism and the required solution
To Wrap It Up
Bruxism is a common dental condition that should be taken care of quickly to avoid further dental problems. If left untreated, you could have jaw, mouth & tooth pain. Teeth grinding can often result in broken, chipped and sensitive teeth.
The conscious effort of implementing various techniques to combat the symptoms early on is important. Always consult with your dentist to find the best solution to your bruxism.
Kelly is a registered dental hygienist and oral health care provider. She is passionate about oral hygiene and encourages people to achieve optimal oral health. She has been working in the dental profession for 16 years and worked in many different roles in the dental industry. Kelly is currently a pediatric dental hygienist specializing in children’s dentistry. She is committed to helping others with their oral health care issues and helping others achieve a smile they love.