Bruxism (Teeth Grinding)

Facts about Bruxism

Approximtely 15% of people have a habit of grinding their teeth or clenching their jaws.  This occurs mostly at night while asleep and in most cases is painless, and usually goes undetected  until someone in the home hears the grinding noise or the dentist diagnoses the condition on clinical exam.

Causes of Bruxism

In some instances, grinding occurs because of tooth misalignment.  It can be related to stress.  Alcohol and caffeine intake can make matters worse causing increased grinding and clenching.  Patients suffering from a sleep disorder may grind their teeth in an effort to align their jaws to allow for maximum oxygen intake.

Symptoms

.jaw pain, headache or earache.

.muscle tension on the side of the face.

.Eroded gums and supporting bony stuctures.

.Flattened teeth.

What are the effcts of Bruxism?

.Worn down teeth limiting chewing ability

.Chipped and broken teeth or fillings

.Increased temperature sensitivity.

How Can Your Dentist Help You?

If you wake up in the morning and have pain on the side of your face, or have trouble opening your jaw, chances are that you are either grinding or clenching your teeth at night.  Your dentist can help protect your teeth from severe damage by fitting you for a custom nightguard.  This is an appliance made from hard acylic that fits over the biting surfaces of your upper teeth.  It acts as a barrier between the upper and lower teeth, so that if you are grinding, your teeth are protected from themselves.  The guard will also begin to deprogram the facial muscles which control the opening and closing of the lower jaw with the hope of relaxing those muscles.  It is important to understand that you may be a severe bruxer and have no symptoms.  It is important to see your dentist regularly so that he or she can diagnose the problem early on if it does exist.

Please feel free to contact our office with any questions you might have.