Bruxism: Do You Clench and Grind?

Symptoms of Bruxism
Bruxism is the medical term for clenching and grinding, a condition that affects all of us occasionally, but which can develop into a damaging habit. If you regularly clench and grind your teeth then it will damage your teeth, your gums and your jaw joints (temporomandibular joints).

In extreme cases, bruxism can wear teeth down to little more than stumps. People with bruxism will often need restorative work to mend teeth damaged by bruxism including crowns and fillings and root canal therapy. You might even lose teeth and could need dentures or dental implants to replace them. One problem with bruxism is that it often occurs during sleep and sometimes people are alerted to their habit by their sleeping partner as teeth grinding can get noisy!

What Causes Bruxism?

Bruxism can be linked to stress or it could be due to malocclusion, where your teeth do not bite together correctly. This may be due to misaligned teeth or poorly fitting dental restorations. Sometimes bruxism may be due to an untreated sleep disorder such as sleep apnea. Eating or drinking caffeinated foods or alcohol close to bedtime might worsen bruxism.

What are the Symptoms of Bruxism?

Bruxism can cause a number of symptoms and it is worth contacting our dentist if you notice any of the following signs:

  • Increased tooth sensitivity to hot and cold as teeth grinding wears down tooth enamel
  • Your teeth could look shorter than before
  • Teeth may become chipped or cracked
  • Your gums could begin to recede
  • Waking up with toothache
  • Noticing one or more teeth feel loose or that your bite has changed

Severe bruxism can also lead to jaw ache, chronic headaches, and facial pain. The pain can extend into your neck and shoulders and is caused by TMD, a disorder related to bruxism and which results in the jaw joints becoming inflamed and painful.

How Definition Dental Can Help You

If you think you may have bruxism and recognize some of the above symptoms then contact your dentist as soon as you can. The sooner we can treat bruxism the better and treatment may be relatively straightforward. Our dentist will carefully examine your teeth and jaws and may take x-rays to assess any damage. If your bruxism is due to malocclusion it might be possible to adjust your bite or to replace restorations so your teeth fit together properly. Other times, orthodontics could be a better solution. It is important to get treatment because in the worst case, surgery may be needed which is something we would prefer to avoid.

However, often bruxism can be treated with a custom-made night splint that will usually fit over your upper teeth, preventing contact with your lower teeth so you can no longer clench and grind. If your life is very stressful, trying to lower your stress levels could help your bruxism. We can advise you on options that could be helpful. Even consciously relaxing your jaw muscles during the day could be useful as it will train your muscles to relax.

To find out more about bruxism or to schedule an appointment with our amazing dentist in Beaverton, just contact Definition Dental or remember you can always Book Appointment Online. We can provide the right treatment to protect your teeth so you and your partner can get a peaceful night sleep.

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