Treatments For Bruxism

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.

Treatment Options

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.

Prevention

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.

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Is Teeth Grinding Genetic?

Many people grind their teeth, whether they know it or not. Though you may not notice it during your sleep, the symptoms and after-effects can be very destructive. In addition to being bad for your dental health, teeth grinding can also cause discomfort and sleep disruptions. So what exactly causes this phenomenon and how can it be stopped?

What is Bruxism?

Bruxism, colloquially called ‘teeth grinding’ occurs as a result of clenching the jaw. Although it most typically occurs during sleep, it can also present when people are awake and conscious. While commonly viewed as merely a nervous habit, Bruxism can have serious consequences if left untreated. It often turns habitual, causing extensive damage to the teeth and oral health. People who suffer from this affliction are prone to developing Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ).

Causes

There are a variety of factors that can contribute to grinding one’s teeth. Stress and anxiety are certainly the main causes, but sleep disorders can also play a largely causal role. Additionally, the anatomy and physiology of the mouth and jaw can make quite a large impact. Having missing or crooked teeth or having an abnormal bite are equally likely to cause a person to develop bruxism. Smokers and people who excessively consume alcohol have also been found to be nearly twice as likely to develop this habit.

Symptoms

The most common symptoms include:
-soreness of the jaw
-headaches
-loose, fractured, or painful teeth

Genetics: Do They Play a Role?

Evidence strongly indicates that this practice is genetic. Teeth grinding tends to run in families. Increased hormone levels in family members has been shown to be a trend in those affected by it. Variations to certain genes as well as morphisms in neurotransmitters (particularly where serotonin is concerned) in the brain have also been shown to be both hereditarily passed down, as well as common occurrences in people who report grinding their teeth.

Treatment and How to Stop It

The easiest yet most effective solutions to the problem of habitual teeth grinding is to pay a visit to your dentist. He or she will be able to discuss options with you, but typically the first step in treating the habit and its negative effects is to design a custom-made mouthguard. Wearing one of these, typically while sleeping, has been shown to significantly reduce teeth grinding.

In more severe cases or for increased comfort while becoming accustomed to the oral apparatus, the dentist or physician may advise you to take a muscle relaxant tablet before bedtime. The muscle relaxant will aid you in becoming comfortable wearing the mouthguard. This is especially useful for those whose symptoms are the result of stress. Counseling, meditation, and other relaxation techniques are other holistic remedies that you can take up on your own.

If you are suffering from Bruxism, schedule an appointment to come see us today. Here at Dana Walters DDS we specialize in bruxism treatment and prevention and will help stop this bad habit in no time.

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