Bruxism (or Teeth Grinding)
What is bruxism? Causes, Symptoms & Treatment Options
Bruxism is a condition in which a person grinds or clenches his or her teeth, typically during sleep. People who grind their teeth forcefully slide the top and bottom teeth against each other, which can lead to tooth damage and jaw problems. While bruxism is fairly common, it’s a problem that should be taken seriously and treated as soon as it is discovered.
What causes teeth grinding?
Teeth grinding can be caused by a few different factors. In many cases, people grind their teeth at night when they have been feeling anxious or are under stress. Other people grind their teeth because they have a malocclusion (bite problem).
What are the symptoms of teeth grinding?
Some patients wake up in pain without realizing they have been grinding their teeth through the night.
Symptoms of teeth grinding may include:
- jaw pain or soreness
- tooth pain or sensitivity
Some patients may even chip or break a tooth. In addition, we may spot visible evidence of teeth grinding – worn, flattened areas on the teeth – during an exam.
Why is teeth grinding problematic?
There are many reasons patients should avoid teeth grinding and clenching. The action of grinding or clenching places a significant amount of force on the teeth and jaw, and can remove irreplaceable enamel and wear the teeth down.
Some patients who grind their teeth even develop a painful TMJ disorder, meaning the temporo-mandibular joint is irritated or injured.
How is teeth grinding treated?
- The most common treatment for teeth grinding is the use of a mouth guard, which protects the patient’s teeth. We can provide a customized mouth guard for the patient to wear at night, which prevents him or her from sliding the teeth against each other. A mouth guard protects the patient’s enamel as well as his or her jaw.
- If the patient’s teeth grinding is caused by a bite problem, orthodontic treatment can move the teeth back into their proper places and remedy the situation.
- In addition to these solutions, some patients may find they can reduce their teeth grinding by lowering their stress levels and finding healthy ways to deal with anxiety.
If you are waking up in pain, or if someone has told you that you grind your teeth while sleeping, it’s time to make a dental appointment. The solution may be as simple as wearing a mouth guard at night, and preventing painful dental problems in the future.