Do you frequently wake up with jaw pain, headaches, or tooth pain? If so you may want to be checked for a condition called bruxism. Bruxism is grinding or clenching of the teeth.
According to the American Dental Association, bruxism affects about 30 to 40 million adults and children in the USA.
What are other signs and symptoms of bruxism?
- Rhythmic contractions of the jaw muscles.
- A grinding sound at night Jaw muscles that are tight or painful.
- Long-lasting pain in the face Swelling (occasionally) on the side of your lower jaw caused by clenching.
- Excessive tooth wear including flattening of the teeth and notching of the teeth at the gum line Failure of dental restorations, tooth fractures, and cracks.
- Sensitivity to cold because of dentin and enamel thinning Inflammation of the periodontal ligament causing pain and soreness TMJ problems, facial and muscle pain, headaches.
Bruxism is caused by stress and anxiety, sleep disorders, an abnormal bite, missing or crooked teeth. Sometimes the cause of bruxism can be unknown.
There are several ways to alleviate bruxism. If you are a candidate and an underlying medical condition is not causing your bruxism, our office may recommend, a nightguard. This is an appliance typically worn while sleeping through the night.
Nightguards are made by taking an impression of your mouth. Your impression is used to craft a custom fitting guard that will fit comfortably over your teeth. Its main function is to prevent the surfaces of your teeth from grinding together and causing damage to teeth or dental restorations.
Although a nightguard will not eliminate all grinding and clenching it will protect your teeth while you sleep.
In cases of an underlying sleep disorder, stress, or anxiety issues other therapies may be suggested. If a sleep disorder is suspected a sleep study may be suggested.
If stress or anxiety is the culprit, a nightguard can be used temporarily until the stress and anxiety can be controlled or reduced.
Evaluating and treating bruxism is not difficult, but the damage to your teeth can have life long effects. Repairing teeth can be very expensive which is why we urge you to have your bruxism evaluated. Minimizing bruxism and its symptoms is just a phone call away!