Bruxism is a condition that’s characterized by unconscious grinding, gnashing, or clenching of the teeth tightly together. Many people do it without even realizing. In fact, a lot of people grind and clench teeth in their sleep, which is known as sleep bruxism. Others do it while they are awake. Teeth grinding, gritting, and clenching can have severe effects on your dental and overall health. For this reason, it is important to understand the causes and symptoms of bruxism so that you can determine whether you suffer from it and adopt effective management measures.
Causes of Bruxism
The causes of bruxism are currently unclear, but the condition has been linked to several physical and psychological factors. The most common causative factors are stress, anxiety, anger, tension, and frustration. While these are emotions that people go through on a daily basis, if they are prolonged, they can cause one to grind or clench their teeth.
Lifestyle factors such as consuming alcohol, smoking, and heavy caffeine intake can also cause or worsen bruxism. Additionally, sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, insomnia, snoring as well as sleep talking have also been linked to bruxism. Sleep apnea is a unique condition is characterized by pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep. You should consult with your doctor for diagnosis and treatment if you suffer from sleep apnea.
Symptoms of Bruxism
Identifying the signs and symptoms of bruxism is crucial so that you can determine whether you suffer from the condition. Here are some of the common signs that you may be suffering from bruxism:
• Flat, loose, or chipped teeth
• Pain while chewing
• Teeth sensitivity when consuming cold or hot foods and drinks
• Clicking sound when you open or close the mouth
• Tender jaw and soreness around the ears
• Tension headaches that begin at the temples
Untreated bruxism can cause severe damage to the teeth and dental restorations such as crowns, veneers, and dentures. It can also affect the temporomandibular joints (TMJ), leading to problems with the jaw and jaw muscles. TMJ disorder is usually responsible for jaw soreness and tightness, headaches, pain in the face, neck, and shoulders, and difficulty in chewing food or anything. In severe cases, it can also cause swelling of the face, dizziness, and hearing problems.
Treating and Managing Bruxism
It is critical to deal with teeth grinding and clenching before it causes a host of body and dental health issues. There is no definite cure for this condition, but there are some steps that can be taken to curb it and treat the symptoms. The most effective treatment is the use of a mouth guard. A mouth guard is a device that is designed to keep the lower and upper teeth apart and prevent tooth wear as a result of grinding. Your dentist takes impressions of your teeth and develops a custom mouth guard that will fit perfectly in your mouth. This method is typically used to manage sleep bruxism.
It is necessary to manage the physical, psychological, and lifestyle issues that are associated with teeth grinding. For instance, if you are undergoing a period of stress, anxiety, or anger, it would be essential to seek professional counseling and incorporate relaxation time into your day. Lifestyle adjustments such as avoiding alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco smoking can also help in alleviating the condition. If you have suffered any dental-related symptoms as a result of bruxism, you should see your dentist for proper diagnosis and treatment. Contact us today for a consultation and treatment plan.
What does bruxism look like?