Bruxism

Bruxism

Bruxism is the dental term for teeth grinding. Most people are unaware of the damage it can do to the teeth. Those who frequently grind their teeth can suffer serious oral health complications. This forceful contact between the teeth typically falls into two categories: loud, grating contact or silent, clenching contact, and both are equally harmful. Bruxism typically occurs while the person is awake but some folks grind their teeth while sleeping.

The affliction does not discriminate either, as adults and children alike suffer from this condition. In adults, vices such as alcohol intake, drug usage, and certain sleep disorders can worsen the condition. Children often develop this condition after experiencing a cold or infection. Pain from teething or earaches can induce bruxism in toddlers.

The Cause of Bruxism

Unfortunately, the root cause of bruxism is still unknown. However, the belief is that stress and anxiety can intensify the condition. In addition, having an abnormal bite or missing or crooked teeth may contribute to teeth grinding.

The Effects of Bruxism

As mentioned, chronic teeth grinding can cause serious dental issues. It can result in tooth fracture, loosening of teeth, or the complete loss of one or more teeth. Occasional bruxism may not result in immediate damage to the teeth or jaw, but over time, damage occurs that may necessitate bridges, crowns, root canals, implants, or possibly even dentures to repair. It can also result in damage to the jaw, hearing loss, a change the appearance of your face, and perhaps even TMJ.

Treatment for Bruxism

A mouth guard/night guard can prevent your teeth from grinding while you sleep. However, if you want to eliminate the problem altogether, determine what triggers it.

If it is potentially stress related, seek reduction techniques. Exercise, stress counseling, and prescription medication are ideas your physician may suggest.

Other tips to reduce bruxism include:

  • Eliminate foods that have caffeine, such as coffee, soda, tea, and chocolate.
  • Avoid alcohol, as it increases the severity and frequency of bruxism.
  • Stop chewing anything that is not food, such as pencils and pens. Chewing constantly can condition your jaw muscles to stay clenched, making you more likely to grind your teeth.
  • Pay attention to your mouth. If you notice that you grind your teeth during the day, train yourself to relax. Position the tip of your tongue between your front teeth to make it harder to clench or grind your teeth.
  • Relax your jaw before bed by using a warm washcloth on your face. Place it on your cheek in front of your earlobe to get the desired outcome.

 

If you have loose or missing teeth, and you are considering dental implants in McKinney, TX, call Dr. Choi for a consultation.