Many people are affected by bruxism, otherwise known as the unconscious or involuntary clenching or grinding of teeth. When the grinding and clenching of teeth is done on a regular basis, the teeth are damaged and other oral complications such as jaw disorders, damaged teeth, breaking of dental fillings, and the wearing away of the outer enamel layer, among many others, may arise.
Causes of Bruxism
Bruxism occurs unconsciously at night while sleeping as well as during the daytime. It is caused by either stress or anxiety-related situations due to emotional events, or bodily reactions when teeth are not lined up correctly. The clenching or grinding of teeth is also caused by:
- Certain diseases of the nerves and muscles of the face such as Parkinson’s disease or Huntington’s disease.
- Reaction to pain from teething, common among young children.
- The aberrant alignment of lower and upper teeth.
- Side effects of various medications such as antidepressants and phenothiazine.
- As a coping strategy among hyperactive, competitive or aggressive personality types.
Signs and Symptoms of Bruxism
Common signs and symptoms of bruxism include:
- Loud grinding and clenching of teeth.
- Flattened, fractured, chipped or loose teeth.
- Worn out enamel of the tooth which exposes the inner layers of the tooth.
- Sensitivity or tooth pain.
- Frequent locked or tight jaw.
- Soreness of the jaw, face, and neck.
- Pains like an earache.
- Disrupted sleep.
- Frequently headaches from the temples.
What Effect Does Bruxism Have on People’s Oral Health?
Bruxism is a major cause of TMD, which is a problem with your jaws and nerves of the face. It causes severe pain and discomfort to an individual such as toothaches, headaches, dizziness, and inability to bite foods properly. Other oral effects of bruxism include fracturing or loosening of teeth, and in severe cases, tooth loss.
Prevention and Treatment
If you find out you grind and clench your teeth while sleeping, your dentist can fit you with a mouth guard to be worn only when you got to sleep. Furthermore, if your bruxism is associated with misaligned or broken teeth, your dentist will advise you on the proper steps and procedures to be taken in order to resolve the grinding and clenching.
If your bruxism is caused by stress, it is important to find ways to distress such as taking a hot bath, listening to soothing music, or even exercising to alleviate it. Other ways to treat or prevent bruxism is to avoid alcohol consumption, smoking, and drinking caffeinated beverages, especially at night. Drinking plenty of water is also recommended as dehydration is associated with teeth grinding. For children, give them stretching and massaging exercises to loosen up their jaw muscles. Address any sleep-related disorders you may be experiencing.
It is crucial to determine if you suffer from bruxism and identify the cause in order to address it properly because, in the long run, it can be very damaging. Contact us today and schedule an appointment with one of our dental professionals at Dental & Denture Clinic for further information and treatment.