Mild cases of bruxism are no cause for concern, but persistent bruxism can lead to other issues like headaches and toothaches, which is why they need to be addressed.
Bruxism can be caused by a number of different physiological or psychological issues, so a dentist must identify that and treat bruxism accordingly. In this article, we discuss the symptoms of bruxism, risk factors of bruxism, and how to stop grinding teeth.
Symptoms of Bruxism
The following are some of the major signs and symptoms of bruxism:
- Teeth grinding and clenching, which may even be loud enough to wake your partner.
- Flattened or chipped teeth.
- Worn out tooth enamel, which can expose the dentin.
- Tooth sensitivity.
- Tightened jaw muscles.
- Constant pain or soreness in the face or jaws.
- Insomnia due to constant teeth clenching.
What Causes Bruxism?
The exact root cause of bruxism continues to be elusive. But it can occur due to various physiological, psychological, or genetic causes. The following are some possible risk factors for bruxism.
- Stress: Anxiety, stress, frustration, and anger can lead to teeth grinding, especially during the day.
- Age: Bruxism is quite common in young children, but it generally goes away over time.
- Personality: People who are aggressive, extremely active, or generally competitive tend to suffer from bruxism more often.
- Medications or Substance Use: Bruxism may be a side effect of various medications and drugs, including psychiatric medications. Even activities like smoking or consuming recreational drugs can increase your risk of bruxism.
- Genes: Sleep bruxism can be linked to family history and genetics.
- Underlying Disorders: Bruxism is often a symptom of various other disorders like Parkinson’s disease, gastroesophageal reflux disorder, epilepsy, sleep apnea, etc.
Complications of Bruxism
Sustained and persistent bruxism can lead to a number of complications such as:
- Temporomandibular joints (TMJs) — a condition that affects your jaw movements and can result in headaches, clicking sound when you move your jaws, and jaw locking.
- Severe headaches.
- Damage to your teeth, crowns, jaws, etc, which can lead to other dental issues.
- Severe jaw pains.
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How to Stop Grinding Teeth?
Dentists generally check for signs of bruxism during regular dental visits. If you’re displaying signs of bruxism, the dentist will ask you to come for frequent dental visits so they can study the progression of your bruxism and its symptoms. If your dentist determines that you do have bruxism, they may ask you some general questions to locate the root cause of your bruxism. Based on that, they may use one of the following methods or techniques to treat bruxism.
Mouth Guard for Grinding
Mouth guard for grinding are basically devices that you wear on your teeth. They keep your teeth separated so there’s no damage caused by grinding and clenching. While they don’t stop teeth grinding altogether, they can minimize the damage caused by teeth grinding.
Severe teeth grinding and bruxism can also lead to dental damages like your enamel wearing off, chipped tooth, etc. In this case, your dentist may have to repair the damage and then reshape your chewing surfaces to minimize future damage caused by bruxism.
Behavioral and Psychological Changes
As previously mentioned, bruxism often happens because of psychological issues. As such, your dentist may either recommend you to sleep specialists or recommend certain lifestyle changes to help treat bruxism. The following are some of the approaches they may use.
- Stress Management: People often grind their teeth due to stress. This can be rectified if you learn some stress coping mechanisms and techniques like meditation.
- Behavioral Changes: The dentist may try to change your bruxism-related habits by demonstrating the correct mouth and jaw positions. You can practice this consciously for a while in order to correct bruxism eventually.
- Biofeedback: These are methods and devices that teach you how to control your own muscles, which can help you bring bruxism under control.
Medications should generally be your last resort when it comes to treating bruxism because they’re largely ineffective. However, you may be prescribed some medications to relax your muscles or to provide relief from stress and anxiety in an attempt to control bruxism.
Frequently Asked Questions about Bruxism/ Teeth Grinding
Do I really need a night guard for bruxism?
Wearing a night guard is the best way to protect your face and teeth from the effects of bruxism. When you clench your teeth or jaws, the soft cushion of the night guard prevents facial pain or damage.
How to treat TMJ?
TMJ can be treated with a combination of various different methods. You can try relaxation methods to minimize stress and anxiety. You can also visit a psychologist to deal with the root cause of your anxiety. If your TMJ is caused by teeth grinding, you may need a mouth guard for teeth grinding.
How to cure myself from sleep bruxism?
If you’re suffering from sleep bruxism, it’s best to consult a reputable dentist. They can help cure bruxism using various methods such as:
- Mouth guard for teeth grinding.
- Exercises to control your jaw muscles.
- Relaxation techniques to relieve stress and anxiety.
How to treat teeth grinding?
You can treat teeth grinding by wearing a mouth guard and visiting a dentist who can identify the root cause of your teeth grinding and then treat it accordingly.
Stop Grinding Teeth Permanently
At West Orem Dental, we thoroughly study your teeth for signs or bruxism and then go on to diagnose the root cause. Based on what we find, we recommend the best methods and techniques to stop grinding teeth permanently. For more information on bruxism, please schedule an appointment today.