Bruxism is the medical term for the clenching or grinding of the teeth. Mild bruxism usually has no long lasting health implications, but more serious bruxism can lead to excessive teeth wearing and migraine. It’s a potentially debilitating condition with a relatively simple cure.
Why do we grind our teeth?
Grinding teeth is an unconscious muscle movement that most of us aren’t even aware we do. It can be triggered by stress or anxiety and can occur during the day or at night. Grinding teeth during sleep is sometimes referred to as Sleep Bruxism. Obstructive sleep Apnea and narrowed airways can cause grinding.
How will I know if I grind my teeth?
As we tend to grind unconsciously or while asleep, many of us never even know we do it. However, if you find you’re getting more headaches than usual or your dentist’s remarks that your teeth are wearing abnormally, bruxism may be the cause. Your dentist will probably discuss it with you at the time.
If you sleep with someone, they may also alert you to the fact you grind your teeth. It may be tempting to ignore them but we would not advise that. Considering the condition is easy to identify and address, we think it’s well worth investigating further.
Is teeth grinding really harmful?
Bruxism is linked to headaches and migraine and causing excessive tooth wear. Both can cause medical complications so should not be ignored if you’re suffering from them. Left untreated, teeth can become loose and constant headaches can be debilitating.
What treatments are available for bruxism?
The most effective treatment for the symptoms of bruxism is an occlusal splint; a plastic mouth guard that is molded to your moth to provide a comfortable, close fit. This appliance will keep your teeth apart to prevent wear and may realign the teeth if it needs to.
Treatment should also address the cause of teeth grinding as well as the symptoms. This is usually attributed to stress or anxiety. As holistic dentists, Aesthetic Family Dentistry is perfectly placed to address this through relaxation techniques such as massage. Being able to identify and address the source of the stress or anxiety will help eliminate bruxism for good.
Millions of Americans grind their teeth. Our lives are becoming faster paced, busier and more stressful all the time. While it may be the way things are going, that’s no reason to not address the situation if it should arise. If you need help treating bruxism, contact Aesthetic Family Dentistry today!