When bruxism is diagnosed (also known as tooth grinding or clenching), our patients usually do not know they suffer from the condition. The following information details what generally happens when a diagnosis is made.
How Is a Diagnosis Made for Bruxism?
Generally, if you are asleep, you are not aware that you clench or grind your teeth. This determination is usually made by us during an examination. Normally, during regular exams, we will check for any signs of bruxism. If we believe you may have the condition, we will look for changes in the mouth or teeth during succeeding visits to see if you will need treatment. We will also ask questions about medications you may be taking, learn more about your sleep habits, and go over your daily routine. To assess the degree of bruxism, we may evaluate the tenderness of the jaw muscles and evaluate dental abnormalities, such as missing or broken teeth. An exam may also include a check of the inside of the cheeks and underlying bone. Much of the information we gather is through x-rays.
How Is Bruxism Treated?
If bruxism is related to a sleep disorder, your doctor may refer you to a sleep medicine specialist who can also check for teeth grinding and related sleep issues, such as sleep apnea. A counselor can also help if your teeth grinding results from a psychological cause. Unless the bruxism is severe, treatment may not be needed. Otherwise, we may suggest that you wear a night guard in your mouth to prevent clenching or tooth grinding. We may also reshape the surfaces of your teeth if you are unable to chew properly or your teeth are sensitive because of grinding.
If you believe you may be clenching your jaws or grinding your teeth, give us a call. We will assess your condition and devise an appropriate treatment plan. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment.