Teeth grinding or clenching, known as bruxism, is a common issue for many of our dental patients. In fact, approximately eight percent of adults grind their teeth (typically at night while sleeping), and this can cause potentially damaging results. Most adults that grind their teeth at night are completely unaware that it is happening (sleep bruxism). Some adults also unconsciously clench their teeth while awake (awake bruxism).
You may be grinding your teeth if you experience any of these signs or symptoms:
- 1) Morning headaches, particularly in the temples
- 2) Sore, tired, or tight jaw muscles
- 3) Unexplained wear on the enamel of your teeth
- 4) Chipped or loose teeth
- 5) Pain that feels like an earache, but is not due to a problem with your ear
What causes Bruxism?
Although it is not always certain the exact cause of bruxism, it can be the result of high levels of stress and/or misaligned or missing teeth. If you are dealing with the symptoms of teeth grinding, consider finding ways to reduce your stress levels and/or seek orthodontic care to get your teeth properly aligned.
How to Treat Bruxism
If you suspect that you are grinding your teeth at night, do not wait until severe complications develop before seeking treatment. It is important that you let us know as soon as you are aware of a potential concern to address this issue. If you don’t, the effects of your habit could lead to long term damage to your teeth and need for further dental repairs down the road.
Our dental team can treat your bruxism typically by providing a mouth guard or dental splint to be worn at night to protect your teeth. Although over the counter mouth guards can be effective, they are often uncomfortable to wear and can cause your teeth to shift over time. A custom dental mouth guard created at our office from an impression of your mouth will not only be more comfortable and easier to wear, but also will fit your teeth perfectly.
Any damage already caused by the wear and tear of bruxism can be corrected by our dental team. Typically, the damage can be addressed through bonding or porcelain veneers. Unaddressed damaged areas are more susceptible to further damage and breakdown of the tooth.
Also, bruxism is common in young children. If you suspect that your child is grinding his/her teeth, be sure to mention it at their next dental appointment. We can assess and ensure that it is addressed properly to prevent further damage.