Bruxism is the medical term for teeth grinding. It can be caused by stress, anxiety, an abnormal bite, a sleeping disorder or missing teeth. Additionally, tobacco and alcohol use can intensify Bruxism. The side effects of this condition include a sore jaw, fractured or lost teeth, and dull headaches.
Dangers of Bruxism
It is important for people to get teeth grinding under control as soon as possible. Bruxism can cause chips and cracks in the enamel. Once enamel is damaged, it cannot be replaced or restored. Damaged enamel can also expose the dentin and pulp of the tooth, which can lead to further damage.
Bruxism can also increase the risk for gum disease and jaw damage. These conditions can result in chronic pain, which makes chewing and talking uncomfortable.
People who grind their teeth are not considered good candidates for dental implants. Additionally, Bruxism can result in digestive issues. Teeth grinders may not be able to chew their food properly. This can result in indigestion and stomach pain.
Mild cases of Bruxism may not cause serious damage to the teeth or jaw. However, many people will require treatment. Splints and mouth guards can be used to keep your teeth from grinding during the night. These devices work by physically preventing you from grinding or clenching your teeth.
Because Bruxism is linked to stress and anxiety, you may need to find ways to manage these factors in your daily life. You can speak to a counselor about anxiety treatments and meditation options.
Bruxism may also be a sign of sleep apnea. This condition will need to be properly treated in order to stop teeth grinding. Sleep apnea can be treated with oral appliance therapy. It may also be treated with a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine.
Treatment can begin by getting your stress levels under control. Exercise and massage therapy are some of the ways to cope with stress. You will also need to relax your jaw muscles at night. You can do this by applying a warm cloth to your face.It is also important to reduce your intake of caffeine and alcohol. Studies have shown that both of these substances can make the effects of teeth grinding more intense.
In some cases, Bruxism is the side effect of certain medications. You will need to check with your doctor if you believe that your medication is causing this issue. You may want to consider switching to another medication.
It is also important to schedule regular dental examinations. Your dentist will spot early signs of teeth grinding and recommend the appropriate treatment.
If you are struggling with grinding your teeth, give us a call at Dana Walters DDS today. Together we can create a dental plan to eliminate Bruxism and get your teeth back to normal.