Did you know that more than 30 million people in our country are affected by bruxism? This condition of unconscious grinding and clenching the teeth may develop in children and adults of all ages. Sometimes, the force against the teeth and jaw occurs during waking hours. However, in a good number of cases, bruxism occurs at night when one is asleep.
What does May bring About Bruxism?
There are some potential reasons that a person starts to grind and clench their teeth. Sometimes, the underlying cause is physical (bruxism is related to snoring and sleep apnea). Sometimes it is genetics that leads to this habit, and sometimes it is a matter of psychological stress. Whatever the reason for grinding, it is important to recognize this habit. If bruxism continues, there is a chance that enamel may be damaged to the point of extensive wear or even fracture. Tooth sensitivity may become an uncomfortable problem, and headaches may even occur as a result of chronic stress in the jaw.
Seeing the Signs
As we stated, bruxism is a subconscious habit. That means it is necessary to look for evidence outside of the actual movement of clenching. Some of the symptoms that may result from bruxism include:
- Persistent tooth sensitivity or pain.
- Grinding sounds that are heard by others.
- Changes to the shape of teeth.
- A feeling of looseness in a tooth or teeth.
- Chips or fractures.
- Tension or pain in the jaw, or limited range of motion in the jaw.
- Chronic headaches or migraines.
- Severe tooth wear that causes exposure of dentin or tooth roots.
- Persistent or frequent ear pain.
What to do about Bruxism
If bruxism is suspected, a dental consultation and examination should be scheduled sooner rather than later. Appropriate treatment for bruxism may be multifaceted, including dental treatment such as a custom-fit mouth guard. Additionally, lifestyle habits may be suggested. Some tricks to try include taking a warm bath or shower before bed and avoiding caffeine after a certain time of day.
Lifestyle habits to reduce stress can help bruxism, but these do not substitute for dental care. To get optimal results for tooth grinding and clenching, call Advanced Dental Arts in Grayslake for personal care.