Bruxism - Causes and Treatments

Friday, February 12th, 2016, 12:54 am

Bruxism is the term dentists use to describe the act of grinding your teeth. The exact cause of bruxism is unknown but it is believed to be linked to abnormal alignment of the jaw, a bad bite, stress, anxiety and possibly obstructive sleep apnea.

Symptoms of bruxism include:

  • Teeth that are sensitive to hot and cold
  • Tense or sore facial and jaw muscles
  • Wearing down of the crowns of the teeth
  • Gum inflammation
  • Frequent headaches
  • Jaw pain, neck pain, or shoulder pain
  • Grinding sounds while sleeping
  • Popping or cracking of the jaw

Your dentist will ask questions about your symptoms and perform a complete examination of your teeth and jaw. Patients who grind their teeth typically show damage to the teeth including enamel wear, cracks or broken teeth.

Treatment options for bruxism will depend upon the needs of the individual patient. If the bruxism is due to a poor bite or tooth alignment then orthodontics will provide relief when the proper bite is achieved.

Most cases of bruxism are treated with a combination of an oral device that is designed to protect the teeth and jaw joint, along with behavioral and lifestyle changes.

Patients who are experiencing symptoms of bruxism should try the following self-help suggestions:

  • Avoid opening the mouth too wide – stifle yawns
  • Don’t chew gum
  • Stick to a soft food diet for a few days – nothing chewy or hard
  • Over-the-counter medications such as Motrin or other NSAIDS may help reduce inflammation
  • Call your dentist and schedule an appointment

Ignoring bruxism will not make the problem go away. Long term bruxism can lead to severe tooth damage, tooth loss and damage to the jaw joint itself (TMJ or temporomandibular joint dysfunction). Early intervention can help avoid further damage and a great deal of pain and discomfort.

Please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-391-8777 to schedule your bruxism consultation. Together we can ensure that your healthy smile will last a lifetime.



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Category: TMJ

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