Bruxism is a condition where people unconsciously grind, gnash or clench their teeth together tightly. There are some people who grind their teeth while they’re awake, which is called awake bruxism, while others do it while asleep i.e. sleep bruxism. Most people are unaware of their bruxism until more apparent symptoms appear such as a headache, facial pain, and teeth damage.
Bruxism is often related to stress or anxiety as people tend to clench their jaws and teeth when trying to control their emotions. Sleep bruxism specifically, is considered a sleep-related disorder as people afflicted by it often have other sleep-related conditions such as sleep apnea. Dr. Dose performs a thorough assessment of your teeth, looking for possible signs of bruxism you may not have noticed, catching it before it caused further symptoms.
Many people with bruxism don’t realize they have bruxism. Signs vary from person to person, but common ones include:
- Worn-down teeth
- Chips or cracks on teeth
- Pain in the jaw or other facial regions due to tensed muscles
- Poor or lack of dental hygiene
- Sensitive teeth
- Sleep disruption
- TMD or temporomandibular disorder caused by stiffness in the jaw joint
There is no one cause for bruxism identified. However, it can stem from a variety of physical, psychological, and genetic factors or a mixture of all three.
Stress, anxiety, and tension can often lead people to unconsciously grind or gnash their teeth. Some people do it when they are trying to concentrate or as a coping mechanism.
In mild cases, teeth grinding does not result in serious complications. However, severe cases of bruxism can cause severe dental damage that may require dental implants, crowns or restorative treatment, headaches, or disorders related to TMJ.
Before recommending treatment, Dr. Dose will determine the underlying cause. A series of questions and physical examination will follow. They will check for apparent signs of damage to the teeth and tenderness in the muscles around the jaws.
The common dental approach taken to prevent bruxism includes splints and mouth guards. These allow the teeth to remain separate, preventing you from clenching or grinding them. Correction therapy may include reshaping the surface of the teeth or using crowns to repair the damage sustained.
You may also be recommended behavioral changes such as placing your tongue, teeth, and lips correctly to relieve discomfort. Other than that, medicines may be recommended to regulate neurotransmitters, manage anxiety or depression, etc.
Treating associated disorders such as sleep disorders or medical conditions such as gastroesophageal reflux disease may also address bruxism.
Are you suffering from bruxism? Give us a call at (503) 647-4565. We are happy to help you learn more about your smile!