Posts for tag: Bruxism
It’s hard to avoid stress in the 21st Century. We’re all bombarded with stressors, from work to family — even our smart phones!
The problem really isn’t the stressors themselves but how we respond to them and try to relieve stress. This can often have a negative effect on our health. One example: bruxism, also known as teeth grinding or clenching.
These habits involve the rhythmic or spasmodic clenching, biting or grinding of the teeth, often involuntarily, beyond normal chewing function. It often occurs while we sleep — jaw soreness the next morning is a telltale sign. While there are other causes, stress is one of the most common for adults, bolstered by diet and lifestyle habits like tobacco or drug use, or excessive caffeine and alcohol.
Teeth grinding’s most serious consequence is the potential for dental problems. While teeth normally wear as we age, grinding or clenching habits can accelerate it. Wearing can become so extensive the enamel erodes, possibly leading to fractures or cracks in the tooth.
When dealing with this type of bruxism, we must address the root cause: your relationship to stress. For example, if you use tobacco, consider quitting the habit — not only for your overall health, but to remove it as a stress stimulant. The same goes for cutting back on your consumption of caffeinated or alcoholic drinks.
Adopt an “unwinding” pattern at night before you sleep to better relax: for example, take a warm bath or keep work items or digital media out of the bedroom.Â Many people also report relaxation or stress-relief techniques like meditation, mindfulness or biofeedback helpful.
There’s another useful tool for easing the effects of nighttime teeth grinding: an occlusal guard. This custom-fitted appliance worn while you sleep prevents teeth from making solid contact with each other when you clench them. This can greatly reduce the adverse effects on your teeth while you’re working on other stress coping techniques.
Teeth grinding or clenching can prove harmful over time. The sooner you address this issue with your dentist or physician, the less likely you’ll experience these unwanted consequences.
If you would like more information on the causes and treatments for teeth grinding, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Teeth Grinding: Causes and Therapies for a Potentially Troubling Behavior.”
Teeth grinding is one childhood habit that sounds worse than it usually is: often the most harm done is to your night’s sleep. That said, though, it’s still a habit to keep your eye on.
Also known as bruxism, teeth grinding is so common among children that it’s considered normal behavior by many healthcare professionals. As for causes, some suggest a child’s immature neuromuscular chewing control may trigger it, while others point to the change from deeper sleep to a lighter stage as a possible cause. Problems like airway obstruction, medications or stress also seem to contribute to the habit.
For most children, teeth grinding usually fades by age 11 with no adverse effect on their teeth. If the habit extends into adolescence, however, there’s an increased risk for damage, mainly tooth wear.
This can happen because grinding often produces chewing forces 20-30 times greater than normal. Over time this can cause the biting surfaces of the teeth to wear and reduces the size of the teeth. While teeth normally wear over a lifetime, accelerated wear can pose a significant health risk to your teeth. Any sign of tooth wear in a child or adolescent is definitely cause for concern.
If your child’s tooth grinding habit appears to be developing into a problem, your dentist may recommend a few treatment options. The most common is a thin, plastic night guard worn in the mouth during sleep that prevents the upper and lower teeth from making contact. If the suspected cause is airway obstruction, they may refer you to an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist to seek treatment for that, as well as other professionals to help with managing stress or medications.
Like thumb sucking, the habit of teeth grinding usually ends with no permanent ill effects. But if you notice it continuing late into childhood or your dentist finds tooth wear or other problems, take action to avoid problems long-term.
If you would like more information on childhood bruxism, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “When Children Grind their Teeth.”
Also known as teeth grinding, bruxism is a condition in which people grind, clench or gnash their teeth. Most people clench at night, but others do it unconsciously throughout the day. Bruxism does not usually cause harm, but when teeth grinding occurs on a regular basis the teeth can become damaged and other oral health complications can arise.
Chronic acts of grinding can result in a fracturing, loosening or loss of the teeth. Severe cases can also lead to jaw disorders, like temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder and frequent headaches.
Common warning signs and symptoms of chronic teeth grinding may include:
- Worn down, flattened or chipped teeth
- Frequent earaches, facial pain or jaw pain
- Unexplained headaches, particularly in the morning
- Increased tooth sensitivity
- Indentions on tongue
- Worn tooth enamel, exposing deep layers of the tooth
- Chewed tissue on inside of cheek
- Enlarged or tightened jaw muscles due to severe contractions
- Grinding or clenching that is loud enough to awaken others in your household
There isn't one cause of bruxism, but many times teeth grinding is related with reasons such as stress or a natural response due to the misalignment of teeth. In children, many times bruxism is a result of the growth and development of the jaws and teeth.
Treatment for bruxism will vary, depending on the severity and cause. Sometimes simple behavior modification or relaxation techniques may be enough to reduce teeth clenching. If bruxism is caused by dental problems, Parker Dentistry Facial Rejuvenation & Wellness can work with you to correct the malocclusion. Other possible solutions include dental appliances which can also protect the teeth from the impact of grinding.
Unfortunately, you may not even realize that you have bruxism until it causes significant damage to your teeth. If you suspect you may be grinding your teeth, visit Parker Dentistry Facial Rejuvenation & Wellness for an evaluation. During regular visits to our Hollywood, FL office, the teeth are examined for evidence of grinding, such as jaw tenderness and abnormalities in your teeth. Parker Dentistry Facial Rejuvenation & Wellness can help you identify your cause of grinding and determine the best treatment to help you stop.