What is Bruxism?
The action of teeth grinding or clenching your teeth is referred to as bruxism. It can be triggered by stress or anxiety, but it is often an unconscious action that patients perform while sleeping. While not everyone suffers from teeth grinding-related pain or discomfort, some people may experience headaches, neck aches, facial pain, earache, disrupted sleep, and pain and stiffness in the jaw. Because teeth grinding can occur at night when you are not aware of it, it is critical to be aware of the symptoms and to have routine dental check-ups to avoid complications.
Symptoms of Bruxism:
- Teeth sensitivity
- Worn down teeth
- Enamel fracture
- Broken teeth
- Facial pain
- Jaw stiffness and pain
- Complaints about grinding sounds
Causes of Bruxism:
Teeth grinding does not have a single cause. Teeth grinding and clenching can be caused by a physical problem with the teeth or jaws, an emotional problem, or a medical condition.
- If you are frequently angry, anxious, or stressed, you are at a higher risk for bruxism.
- Smoking, drinking alcohol, or consuming caffeine.
- You have missing teeth or a misaligned or uneven bite.
- If you have a sleep disorder, such as obstructive sleep apnea.
- Having certain medical conditions, such as cerebral palsy, dementia, epilepsy, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or Parkinson’s disease
- If you use drugs or medications, such as antidepressants, antipsychotics
- You have a family history of bruxism.
- Children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
What are the risks associated with Teeth grinding?
Mild bruxism may not cause problems, but frequent and forceful grinding that puts pressure on the teeth and jaws may cause permanent damage or other issues that require treatment.
Bruxism complications can include:
- Teeth that are chipped or cracked
- Teeth that are worn or flattened
- Fillings, crowns, and other dental restorations that have broken
- TMJ (temporomandibular joint) dysfunction
- Tooth loss.
- A damaged or lost tooth or restoration is considered a dental emergency because it can cause further injuries or leave the tooth vulnerable to infection if not treated promptly.
- You may not be a candidate for dental veneers or other cosmetic dentistry treatments if you grind or clench your teeth until the condition is managed or treated.
Treatment for bruxism:
Treatment isn’t always necessary. Many children outgrow bruxism without treatment, and many adults do not grind or clench their teeth in a way that necessitates therapy. However, if the problem is severe, certain dental approaches, therapies, and medications may be used to prevent further tooth damage and relieve jaw pain or discomfort.
Consult your dentist or doctor to determine which option is best for you.
These methods help to relieve the symptoms of bruxism and protect your teeth from damage, although it may not cure the condition altogether:
- Mouth guards and splints: These are intended to keep teeth apart in order to prevent clenching and grinding damage. They can be made of hard acrylic or soft materials and can be worn on either your upper or lower teeth.
- Dental crowns: In severe cases, when tooth wear has caused sensitivity or the inability to chew properly, your dentist may need to reshape your teeth’s chewing surfaces or use crowns to repair the damage.
- Teeth straightening: If your teeth or jaws do not normally come together, your dentist may discuss teeth straightening options to treat bruxism and other complications of a misaligned bite. Metal or ceramic braces and removable aligners are examples of orthodontic treatments.
If bruxism is a side effect of medication, a medical condition, or a sleep disorder, treating the underlying problem may help to alleviate the symptoms. Always consult your doctor before making any changes in medications. Some doctors may recommend muscle relaxant medication or injections to help with the symptoms.