Bruxism refers to the excessive grinding and/or clenching of the teeth. If not treated properly, severe cases of the disorder can cause jaw problems, damage to the teeth, headaches and tooth loss among many other issues. Note that some people might clench or grind their teeth during their sleep, but this is not a very common problem.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Bruxism
- The jaw muscles appear tight or tired
- Soreness or pain in the face or jaw
- Dull headaches that often originate from the temples
- Raw and sore spots created by chewing the insides of your cheeks
- Increased sensitivity in the teeth
- Worn out enamels, flattened, chipped, fractured or loose teeth
- Clenching or grinding of teeth during sleep, too loud that your partner will hear
If you notice any of these signs and symptoms, it’s prudent to visit Dr. Bassiri at Fusion Dental Care immediately. She will perform a series of exams to determine the cause and extent of bruxism before identifying the best treatment options for the patient.
What Are The Causes Of Bruxism?
Cosmetic dentistry experts haven’t been able to identify the exact cause of bruxism. However, many patients have identified the following psychological and physical issues around the time the disorders became worse.
- Feelings of fear, stress, anxiety, tension, and aggression
- Misalignment or malocclusion of the lower and upper jaws
- A response to teething or an earache in children
- Occurrences of acid reflux during sleep
- Unusual side effects from certain disorders, diseases or medications
- The presence of substances that might stimulate or make bruxism worse such as excessive drinking (caffeinated or alcoholic drinks), smoking and drug abuse or meth or ecstasy.
What Are The Evaluation And Treatment Options?
During your regular checkup, the doctor might ask questions if he/she suspects that you might be clenching or grinding your teeth. These questions are based on the visual and physical exams or observations of any of the warning signs of bruxism mentioned above. If the symptoms are relatively new, the doctor might inquire if you’re experiencing issues or stress in your sleep. The doctor will also feel the jaw muscles, asking you to open and close the jaw among other diagnostic techniques.
Currently, there are several dental treatment approaches for bruxism and other dental problems. These include:
- Orthodontic Treatment: If your bruxism is caused by misalignment or malocclusion of the lower and upper jaw, the doctor will refer you to see an orthodontist. Here, he/she will try orthodontic treatment such as Invisalign that will align the jaw and teeth, relieving the bruxism completely.
- Mouth Guards: Often referred to as night guards. They are soft or hard and manufactured in our dental lab using your teeth impressions, so they are customized perfectly for your mouth. You should wear the mouthguard at night to cushion the teeth and relieve pressure on the jaw.
- Other Dental Correction Measures: If your teeth are completely damaged by clenching and grinding, the dentist will recommend restorative options such as teeth reshaping or crowns. These teeth restorative options always come with a night guard to protect the teeth completely.
Note that, severe bruxism might lead to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders and will have an effect on your veneers. These are often presented with symptoms such as clicking or pain when closing or opening the jaw. Eventually, you will have a hard time opening or closing the jaw completely. That’s why it’s prudent to visit a doctor immediately.