Bruxism, also known as teeth grinding and clenching, is an involuntary teeth disorder that can be easily diagnosed and treated. Here’s all you need to know about it.
For many people, bruxism is an unconscious problem. It can happen involuntary during the day or at night while sleeping.
If you are gnashing your teeth with a loud sound while sleeping or even when you’re awake during the day, you might suffer from bruxism.
Just schedule a dental check-up, and your dentist will see if your tooth enamel is damaged.
Even if in some cases the clenching of your teeth does not endanger your teeth’s health, it is important to know when this condition can lead to complications and when specialized treatment is needed.
Here you will find out what are the main symptoms of bruxism, but also how it can be treated and prevented correctly.
What Is Bruxism?
Bruxism is a condition characterized by grinding, rubbing, or clenching of the teeth. Gradually, this habit can lead to toothache or tooth sensitivity and, in some cases, even to teeth grinding.
As the disease progresses, the enamel is affected and gingival retraction occurs.
There are two types of bruxism:
- Awake bruxism – when you gnash, grit, or clench your teeth during the day without realizing it;
- Sleep bruxism – this is also associated with other sleep disorders, such as snoring and sleep apnea.
Bruxism should be diagnosed and treated as early as possible, as it can lead to serious dental problems and other health complications.
Causes Of Teeth Grinding
Although the causes of bruxism are not yet very clear, there are still some genetic, physical, or psychological factors that are associated with this condition:
- Stress, anxiety, frustration, or anger;
- Dental malocclusion (incorrect alignment of teeth);
- Insufficient rest;
- Disproportionate development of the maxillary bones;
- Changing the temporary dentition with the permanent one;
- Sleeping disorders.
Factors that may increase the risk of bruxism are:
- A high level of stress or anxiety;
- Children are more prone to bruxism, which often disappears in adolescence;
- People who are competitive, aggressive, or hyperactive have an increased risk of bruxism;
- Bruxism can be a side effect of some drugs, such as antidepressants;
- Smoking, coffee, or alcohol consumption can lead to teeth grinding;
- Problems with facial muscles and nerves can also trigger bruxism;
- And it can also be a hereditary health problem;
Sometimes bruxism is associated with other diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease, dementia, epilepsy, gastroesophageal reflux disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or night terrors.
Possible Complications Of Clenching Your Teeth
Prevention is always better than treatment, so we recommend a visit to the dentist if you have any of the above symptoms. Otherwise, you can reach complex conditions such as:
- Damage to teeth, crowns, or jaw;
- Facial or jaw pain;
- Diseases of the temporomandibular joint.
What Are The Symptoms?
The main symptoms of bruxism can be:
- Gnashing and clenching of teeth – the sound is so loud that it can even wake you up;
- Teeth are chipped and weakened;
- The enamel is damaged;
- Tooth sensitivity and severe toothache;
- Facial, neck, or mandibular pain;
- Headaches, especially in the temples;
- Weakening or tightening of the mandibular muscles;
- Sleeping disorders.
It is important to visit the dentist if you have identified the symptoms mentioned above, especially if they persist over time and do not fade away.
How Bruxism Is Diagnosed?
Bruxism is diagnosed following a check-up by the dentist, who will assess the condition of the teeth during several visits to determine if the changes have evolved and if specific treatment is needed.
If it is bruxism, the doctor will try to determine an exact cause and whether this condition occurred due to medication or is associated with sleep disorders.
In addition to this information, the doctor will also perform a dental examination to determine if there is an increased sensitivity in the mandibular muscles or if there are signs of grinding teeth.
In addition to the dental examination, a dental x-ray or CT may be performed to assess the condition of the dental roots and jaw bone.
How Do You Treat Teeth Grinding?
Bruxism in children can pass as they get older, without the need for treatment. In adults, most of the time, teeth grinding is not so severe that treatment is needed.
But if the problem is serious, the dentist might offer you some of the following treatments:
- Mouthguards and mouth splints for sleep bruxism;
- Stress and anxiety treatment such as medication or therapy;
- Medication such as a muscle relaxant before going to bed;
- Behavioral change and biofeedback to try to control your jaw muscles and avoid teeth grinding.
Hopefully, this article will help you better understand the dangers of teeth grinding and clenching.
As a last piece of advice, don’t skip your routine dental check-ups and consult with your dentist whenever you notice a change in your teeth, no matter how small it is.