Bruxism/ Teeth Grinding | Woodshore Family Dentistry
Bruxism/ Teeth Grinding is a condition in which you keep grinding your teeth and teeth clenching all the time. It can be caused by both physiological or psychological causes, which is why diagnosis is difficult.
Chronic facial pain, such as headaches, ear pain, and temporomandibular joint dysfunction, are extremely common. In fact, it’s so common that 15% of the American population suffers from some of them. Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD) is an extremely common condition that over 10 million Americans suffer from. This is a chronic pain condition in which your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) — located on either side of your head — malfunction or succumb to a disorder. The temporomandibular joints connect your jaw to your face and essentially control all of your jaw-related movements such as eating, talking, speaking, etc. When these joints don’t work correctly, you suffer from TMD. Please continue reading for a detailed discussion of the symptoms of TMD and TMJ.
Complications of Teeth Grinding
Most people don’t really seek treatment for bruxism teeth grinding because they don’t think it’s an issue or they underestimate the harm it can do. The following are some of the possible complications of bruxism teeth grinding.
- Temporomandibular joints (TMJs) are the points located on either side of the head and they connect the jaws to the rest of the face. These joints facilitate all jaw-related movements. However, sustained bruxism can place great pressure on these joints, which can lead to temporomandibular joints disorder (TMD), which can result in jaw rigidity, swollen face, jaw locking, severe headaches, and other issues.
- Dental injuries and fractures that can damage your tooth’s enamel or damage your dental appliances like dental crowns, bridges, and dental implants.
- Constant teeth grinding can also lead to insomnia because you don’t get enough restful sleep.
Symptoms of Bruxism/ Teeth Grinding
Are you confused about whether you’re actually suffering from bruxism teeth grinding? The following are some of the primary symptoms of bruxism to look out for.
- Constant teeth clenching.
- Grinding your teeth constantly, either during the day or at night. Sleep related bruxism may even be loud enough that others can hear it.
- Chipped or fractured teeth due to the constant teeth clenching.
- The tooth enamel can wear away, which can expose the dentin and lead to tooth sensitivity.
- TMJ bruxism, which is a condition in which your jaw muscles get damaged and you suffer from tightened jaws.
- Soreness in your facial or jaw muscles.
- Earaches and headaches.
- Sleep related bruxism can lead to insomnia.
What Causes Bruxism?
It’s hard to narrow down the exact root cause of bruxism teeth grinding. You may suffer from teeth grinding due to various physiological, psychological, or even genetic factors. The following are the leading risk factors for bruxism.
- Stress: Teeth grinding and bruxism are often caused by anxiety, frustration, stress, anger, and other related issues. These issues cause you to clench your teeth even when you’re not aware.
- Age: Young children often suffer from bruxism teeth grinding, but this may go away over time.
- Aggression: If you’re generally aggressive or highly competitive, then you’re likely to induce more stress upon yourself, which can lead to bruxism teeth grinding.
- Medications: Bruxism may be a side effect of various medications and drugs, including psychiatric medications. Several psychiatric medications and drugs lead to bruxism as a side effect.
- Substance Use: Over-consumption of drugs and tobacco can also lead to bruxism.
- Genes: Sleep related bruxism often runs in the family genes.
- Underlying Conditions: In various situations, your bruxism may just be a symptom of a larger underlying disorder like epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, sleep apnea, etc.
Mouth Guard for Grinding
Mouth guard doesn’t treat teeth grinding, but it is the most effective means of protecting your mouth from the effects of teeth grinding. These are soft appliances that you have to wear in your mouth. So when you start teeth clenching, your teeth will remain separated and they won’t gnash against each other, which will minimize the adverse effects of teeth grinding. This can also be used as a TMJ bruxism treatment.
As previously mentioned, sustained bruxism teeth grinding can damage your teeth. It can lead to enamel wearing off, tooth chipping, fractures, and other issues. If that’s the case, the dentist will first fix the dental issues caused by bruxism and then they may surgically alter your chewing surfaces to control the damage caused by bruxism.
Medications are largely ineffective as permanent solutions or treatments for bruxism so you shouldn’t rely on them. However, a dentist may recommend some medications to relax your muscles or relieve some of your stress, which can temporarily control your bruxism. But you should only go for this if you’re suffering from severe bruxism and you’re already seeking other treatments.
Behavioral and Psychological Changes
Bruxism is often caused by psychological issues like aggression, stress, anxiety, etc. In that case, the dentist may refer you to sleep specialists who can counsel you and help with behavior modification to treat bruxism. The following are some psychological methods of treating bruxism teeth grinding.
- Stress Management: Stress is often the leading cause of bruxism and teeth grinding. This can be controlled through stress management exercises and counseling.
- Behavioral Changes: Some people suffer from bruxism because of their posture and how they position their mouth and jaws. Counselors can give you exercises for proper jaw and mouth movement that you can practice and gradually change your bruxism-causing habits.
- Biofeedback: Bruxism can also be controlled if you understand how to control your muscles. Biofeedback refers to devices and methods that help you control your muscles, thereby treating bruxism.
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FAQs About Bruxism/ Teeth Grinding
Is there a Permanent Solution to Bruxism?
Treating bruxism is a long-term process and can’t be done quickly over a single or a few sessions. The following are some of the permanent solutions to bruxism:
- Learning exercises to better control your jaw muscles and movements to control bruxism.
- Undergoing therapy or counseling to deal with aggression, stress, etc.
While these treatments are underway, you can wear a mouth guard to minimize the damage caused by bruxism.