Is work or school stressing you out?
Your teeth, joints and muscles may be suffering from clenching or grinding (bruxism). Researchers find it both a habitual behavior and a sign of sleep disorder. Untreated bruxism can trigger other health issues, damage the teeth, gums and supporting bone, and be part of jaw joint disorder (TMD). We’ve treated these conditions for over 30 years at Stadium Dental Center in Jefferson City, MO.
What causes bruxism?
There are several causes, e.g., bite problems, stress, medical conditions, or certain medications.
What are the signs of bruxism?
Most of the time, people with bruxism don’t know they have it. Only about 1 in 20 people affected develop symptoms (such as jaw pain and headaches) that require treatment. Usually, a sleeping partner or parent notices the bruxism before the person experiencing it finds out about it. The abrasive noise caused by clenching or grinding may be heard a ways away from the person doing it.
Bruxism inflicts accelerated wear on the opposing surfaces of teeth. This contributes to unusually sensitive teeth, notching of the teeth near the gumlines, as well as more severe damage to the teeth, such as fractures. These effects can lead to tooth loss, gum recession, and loosening of the teeth.
What are the symptoms of bruxism?
The symptoms of bruxism vary and can include anxiety, stress, and tension; depression; earache; eating disorders; headache; insomnia; and a sore or painful jaw. If left untreated, it gradually shortens and blunts the teeth and can produce muscle pain in the head and neck and joint pain (TMD). In severe chronic cases, it can be associated with arthritis of the jaw joints.
How is bruxism diagnosed?
We can detect signs of the clenching and grinding during routine oral examinations in our Jefferson City dentist office. Because it can be associated with sleep disorders, we may suggest deeper analysis of your bruxism, such as by referral to a physician for a sleep study.
How is bruxism treated?
Although there is no “cure” for bruxism, the signs and symptoms can be relieved or corrected through dental treatment. Treatments can include mouthguards, bite adjustments, biofeedback devices, and repair of damaged teeth. Associated sleep apnea treatment may also be beneficial in reducing the severity and preventing or managing other systemic conditions.