If you or someone you know grinds or clenches their teeth during the day or night, he or she may be suffering from bruxism. Bruxism is defined as clenching, gnashing, or grinding of the teeth, and sadly, some people are not even aware of the problem as some will brux while sleeping. Although there is no cure, some things can help the condition.
There is much speculation as to what causes bruxism, but according to the Mayo Clinic, some causes may include:
- Emotional situations such as tension, frustration, anger, stress anxiety
- Aggress, hyperactive or competitive personality types
- Improper alignment of lower and upper teeth known as malocclusion
- Sleep Apnea
- Response to earache pain
- Acid reflux
- Coping and focusing strategies
- Complications from Parkinson’s or Huntington’s disease
Although uncommon, sometimes bruxism can be a side effect from certain psychiatric medications or antidepressants.
Your dentist explains that bruxism is quite common; however, it’s tough to put a number on it, as some people are not even aware of the problem. Some studies indicate that one out of three suffer from bruxism, which equates to about eight percent.
Bruxism effects can be mild or serious requiring a visit to your dentist. The biggest concern that your dentist has is that tooth grinding can have a cumulative effect.
Side effects of bruxism include:
- Gum or tooth loosening
- Tooth fracturing
- Tooth loss
- Receding gums
- Enamel or tooth wear
- Tooth Pain
- Aching jaws
- Chronic headaches
- Jaw disorders such as TMJ
Your TMJ connects your jawbone to your skull. TMJ or temporomandibular joint disorders could be caused from bruxism. However, not everyone who clenches or grinds his or her teeth suffers from bruxism. TMJ disorders could also be a result of jaw injuries or arthritis.
You may have a TMJ disorder if you have:
- Face or jaw line aches
- Ear soreness
- Jaw tenderness
- Problems opening and closing your mouth
- Lock jaw
- Pain while you chew
- A grating or clicking when you open your mouth
Both bruxism and TMJ disorders can be helped with relaxation techniques including mediation. Your teeth grinding can also be helped with a custom-made mouthguard.
If you would like more information regarding bruxism or TMJ disorders, call or click and schedule an appointment with your dentist who can examine your teeth looking for signs of wear and tear. Call or click now.