When you grind, gnash or clench your teeth together, you have a condition referred to as bruxism. The grinding and clenching are often done subconsciously, either when sleeping or when awake. In some people, bruxism can be frequent and severe enough to lead to jaw disorders, headaches, damaged teeth and other problems. People who clench or grind their teeth during sleep are more likely to have other sleep disorders, such as snoring and sleep apnea. In some cases, bruxism can be severe enough to lead to TMD/TMJ, ground down teeth and headaches. Because of these other issues, it’s important to know the signs and symptoms of bruxism and to seek regular dental care before any additional complications develop.
Common Symptoms Of Bruxism
You may not be aware that you are grinding your teeth, but if you notice any of the following symptoms contact your dentist to prevent further damage:
- Ground down teeth
- Persistent headaches
- Unrestful sleep
- Jaw pain
- Tooth pain
- Tooth sensitivity
- Wounded inside of your cheek
The best way to determine if you are grinding your teeth is by making an appointment with your dentist. They can then review your symptoms, make an accurate diagnosis and give you their recommended treatment plan.
Common Causes Of Bruxism
The cause of bruxism has not been fully developed yet, but doctors believe it could be genetic or psychological. Anxiety and stress can contribute to clenching the jaw and grinding teeth subconsciously. ADHD, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, and increased intake of caffeine can all contribute to bruxism. It can also be linked to other sleep disorders including sleep apnea.
How To Treat Bruxism
To treat teeth grinding, contact your dentist to determine the cause. Based on whether it is hereditary or psychological, different approaches may be taken.
Simple tips you can try on your own to reduce teeth grinding include reducing stress and caffeine and getting good rest at night. Your dentist may prescribe muscle relaxers, suggest reducing your other medication, or prescribe a mouth guard to prevent bruxism. A mouth guard is a custom molded plastic barrier worn in your mouth during sleep. This will prevent teeth rubbing together, which will prevent further damage to your teeth. A mouth guard may also help headaches, jaw pain and it would prevent you from wounding the inside of your cheek while sleeping.
Who Treats Bruxism?
A general dentist treats bruxism. Your dentist will ask you questions about your medical history including stresses, ADHD, anxiety and any medication currently being taken. Your dentist will find the cause of the problem and offer you the treatment options that are best for you. To find a dental office near you, visit our locations page.