Bruxism means any kind of strong contact between the teeth. It can be noisy teeth grinding or silent teeth clenching. No matter the type of contact, it can cause damage to your teeth
Do you think you suffer from bruxism? Make an appointment today for a consultation on the options available to you to diminish it.
The cause of bruxism
The cause of bruxism remains unknown despite research to find the factors responsible. It is believed, however, that increased stress and anxiety can greatly affect the frequency and severity of teeth grinding. It is also believed that biting abnormally or having a missing or incorrectly positioned tooth can contribute to grinding of the teeth.
Many people occasionally grind their teeth, which causes little or no damage to the teeth or to the jaw. On the other hand, those who continually grind their teeth can cause more serious damage to their teeth and other complications related to their oral health. Some people do not even know that they suffer from it, as they only grind their teeth during their sleep. Bruxism, however, can occur when awake. People with sleep apnea tend to grind their teeth especially more.
Both adults and children can suffer from bruxism. It often happens that the pain associated with the piercing of teeth or earaches also causes teeth grinding in toddlers.
Damage caused by bruxism
Occasional bruxism may not cause damage to the teeth or the jaw. Chronic teeth grinding can, however, alter them. Grinding teeth for several years without treatment may, in rare cases, wear the teeth to the stump, exposing the second layer of the tooth structure. This exposure could eventually lead to the need to install bridges, crowns or implants or to repair dentures if teeth cannot be saved.
Bruxism is not only bad for your teeth, it can also damage your jaw and cause:
- the fracture of your teeth;
- their mobility;
- their loss;
- premature wear;
- Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain;
- a disturbance in the ear;
- a change in the appearance of the face;
- chronic pain;
- aching muscles.
If you are suffering from bruxism, your dentist will be able to determine if your habit of teeth grinding appears to be responsible for a temporomandibular joint disorder or another problem during a consultation and, if necessary, to propose suitable solutions to your needs in order to better control your bruxism and / or treat its consequences.
The prevention of bruxism
Although the exact cause of bruxism is unknown, it is possible to reduce teeth grinding by performing certain gestures throughout the day and before going to bed:
- reducing your consumption or eliminating caffeinated foods from your diet, including coffee, soft drinks, tea and chocolate;
- avoiding alcohol;
- avoiding parafunctional habits, ie chewing non-food items such as gum, pencils or pens. Chewing constantly conditions the muscles in your jaw to stay tight and increases the chance that you grind teeth;
- pay close attention to your mouth. If you notice that you grind your teeth or squeeze your teeth during the day, you must train yourself to relax. Place the tip of your tongue between your front teeth so that it is harder to squeeze or grind your teeth;
- relaxing the muscles in your jaw before going to bed. Placing a warm washcloth over your face at night will help you relax your jaw before sleeping. For optimal results, place the washcloth on your cheeks, in front of your ear lobes;
- consult a pulmonologist to treat sleep apnea.
If stress is the cause of your bruxism, ask your dentist to educate you on stress reduction techniques. Exercising, counseling, meditation or prescribing muscle relaxants can relax you and, as a result, could help reduce the frequency or severity of your teeth grinding.
Wearing a custom occlusal plaque or night guard may help protect your teeth from the effects of grinding your teeth while you sleep. However, it is important to treat the triggers responsible for your bruxism to stop grinding completely.