Bruxism is a dental condition where you grind and/or clench your teeth. This can occur when you are awake or asleep.
Sleep bruxism is a movement disorder. Sufferers often have other associated disorders such as snoring or sleep apnea (intermittent breathing pauses). Awake bruxism is typically a result of stress and anxiety during work or strenuous mental or physical activity.
In its mild form, bruxism may not need treatment. When symptoms develop and are frequent enough, headaches, jaw pain, neck pain and other teeth issues can occur. Most people are unaware that they have sleep bruxism until complications develop.
Knowing the signs and symptoms of bruxism and seeking frequent dental care is your best bet to keeping this potentially debilitating condition under control.
Signs and symptoms of bruxism include:
Teeth grinding or clenching
Fractured, chipped or loose teeth
Jaw, neck and facial pain
Tight jaw muscles
Interruptions in sleep
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, mention them at your next dental appointment and we will evaluate your situation, make recommendations, and treat your situation.
Although the causes of bruxism are not completely understood, it may be due to a combination of physical, psychological and genetic factors. For example, if you clench and grind during the day, chances are you are experiencing stress, anger, anxiety or frustration. When asleep, bruxism may be a sleep related chewing activity.
What can happen if bruxism goes unchecked? It can lead to:
Damage to your teeth, jaws, and existing restorations (fillings, crowns etc.)
Jaw or facial pain
Jaw joint (TMJ) problems such as clicking on opening and closing.
Treatment for bruxism includes the fabrication of an acrylic appliance which is typically worn at night while sleeping. This appliance fits on the upper teeth and will usually have an anterior bump which does not allow your back teeth to touch thus deprogramming your brain from the clenching and grinding habit. If required, during the day, we can fabricate a soft guard.
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