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Bruxism

Bruxism - Teeth Grinding

What is bruxism (Teeth Grinding) ?

Bruxism is a condition affecting approximately 8% of our population, in which an individual grinds or clenches their teeth together in an excessive manner that leads to a variety of variable symptoms. Individuals with mild forms of bruxism may not experience any symptoms or need treatment. Severe cases of bruxism can lead to jaw problems, headaches and excessive damage to your teeth down. Bruxism is usually classified into day time and night time (nocturnal) types. Many people that suffer from nocturnal bruxism aren't even aware that they are grinding their teeth in their sleep.

What are the symptoms of bruxism (Teeth Grinding)?

Depending on the severity of your teeth grinding the symptoms of bruxism could include a combination of some or all of the following:
  • Daytime or night time clenching or grinding of your teeth.
  • Painful jaw joints
  • Tenderness, tightness and or stiffness in the jaw muscles
  • Headaches and earache
  • Worn, flattened, chipped teeth
  • Tooth pain or sensitivity

Causes of bruxism (Teeth Grinding)

Bruxism can have multiple causes. A thorough evaluation by your dentist is required to determine the potential individual causes of a patients symptoms. Frequently seen contributors to an individuals bruxism habit may include:
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Generalized stress
  • Side effects of certain medications
  • Sleep disturbances or poor quality sleep
  • An effect of certain conditions such as Parkinson's disease
  • Excessive consumption of caffeinated drinks
  • Certain athletic activities, for example weightlifting
How is bruxism (Teeth Grinding) diagnosed?

If you visit a dentist regularly they would usually notice a change in your oral health that would indicate that you suffer from bruxism or it may be obvious to you and people around you. Signs that may indicate to your dentist that you suffer from bruxism include:
  • Excessive wear on front teeth
  • Increased tooth sensitivity
  • Fractured or chipped teeth
  • Fractured dental restorations
  • Pain in your jaws, temples or near the ears
  • Tightness in your jaw muscles
  • Frequent headaches

How is Bruxism (Teeth Grinding) treated?

The proper treatment of bruxism involves the establishment of a correct individual diagnosis for it's cause in the patient. Treatment is then focused on modifying and or eliminating the causative factors.

Therapy for stress behavioral disorders - If you suffer from any anxiety disorders, aggression or excessive amounts of stress then treating the cause of these with counseling or appropriate medications / therapies would be the first point of action.

Occlusal guard and Sports mouth guards – A very effective way to decrease the frequency and intensity of bruxism is to wear a specially fabricated hard plastic mouth guard, called an Occlusal Guard. Each occlusal guard is custom made to precisely fit each individuals teeth. The occlusal guard prevents the teeth from grinding together. It is generally worn during sleep but can also be used during the daytime if needed. Athletes that grind their teeth during sporting activities will benefit from wearing a mouth guard.

Medications – Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as Ibuprofen or Naproxen can be very effective at reducing the inflammation and pain associated with bruxism. Occasionally muscle relaxants, anti-depressants and sleeping aids may be indicated. Substituting alternative medications for those considered to by contributing to bruxism may be indicated.

If I think I suffer from bruxism (Teeth Grinding) what should I do?

If you destructively grind your teeth or think that you may be suffering from bruxism and need some assistance in dealing with it you are welcome to call our office to schedule and evaluation appointment to discuss your concerns.

For our patients interested in proper care of their nighttime occlusal guard please visit our Biteguard Care Page

Excessive worn teeth due to severe grinding (bruxism)