What is Bruxism?
Teeth grinding and jaw clenching is a common condition, affecting approximately 10 percent of individuals and up to 15 percent of children. Although bruxism can manifest during the day, especially during moments of high stress, it is most commonly seen during sleep. The effects of bruxism can range in severity, from a minor headache to more serious conditions such as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, gum recession, and dental damage.
Causes of Bruxism
The cause of bruxism differs for each patient, but nearly 70 percent of cases are linked to stress and anxiety. Much like nail biting, individuals can grind their teeth as a coping mechanism. It may also be the result of improper bite alignment or a negative side effect of hyperactivity disorder, antidepressants, or diseases of the facial nerves and muscles.
Patients with bruxism often experience:
- Frequent headaches, especially when waking
- Tight or painful jaw muscles
- Difficulty opening or closing the mouth
- Jaw pain
- Swelling and tenderness around the jaw muscles
- TMJ disorder
- Cracked or damaged teeth
- Broken dental fillings
- Loose teeth
- Tooth pain
- Gum recession
- Gum tenderness
- Tooth loss
- Facial swelling and pain
Dr. Wasserman can carefully review your symptoms in order to recommend proper treatment.
How Long Does It Last?
While children can eventually outgrow bruxism, it is still important to discuss any symptoms with your dentist to preserve your child's smile. Adults who develop bruxism generally require immediate treatment to protect their long-term oral health. If bruxism is left untreated, patients may require costly restorative dental procedures.
What You Can Do at Home
The treatment for bruxism will depend on the cause. For patients who suffer from anxiety, Dr. Wasserman may recommend relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, or other exercises to help you manage and reduce your stress. He may also suggest professional counseling and prescription anti-anxiety medications, in addition to lifestyle adjustments such as:
- Avoiding alcohol
- Reducing or avoiding caffeine
- Refraining from chewing gum
- Increasing sleep
These lifestyle changes are often recommended in combination with more formal treatment for the most effective results.
If your teeth have been damaged, or you are experiencing dental pain as a result of teeth grinding and jaw clenching, you may require dental crowns to reinforce the structural integrity of your back molars.
The effects of bruxism can range in severity, from a minor headache to more serious conditions such as TMJ disorder, gum recession, and dental damage.
Dr. Wasserman can also design a custom-made oral appliance to be worn at night. This device will cover the top and bottom teeth and ease the pressure on your jaw muscles. It is designed to gently realign your teeth and muscles, while also protecting your teeth from the effects of grinding.
Relieve Your Discomfort
When you entrust your care to Dr. Wasserman and his dedicated team, you can rest assured we will provide individualized care and the highest standard of service. If you are suffering from bruxism, do not hesitate to schedule a consultation. You can contact us online or by phone at (847) 432-1416.