Simply put, the term bruxism defines grinding your teeth. Usually occurring when someone is sleeping, the force combined with the motion of rubbing your teeth together for extended periods of time can lead to your molars getting worn and damaged, and a host of unpleasant symptoms such as jaw pain and headaches. Severe bruxism can even lead to a condition you may have heard of called TMD (temporomandibular joint disorder) which can cause severe discomfort and limited mobility when trying to open your jaw. The grating sound that bruxism creates might disturb your sleep as well as anyone sleeping in the same room with you.
What Causes One to Grind Their Teeth?
There are several possible causes of bruxism. It is believed that teeth grinding can be a subconscious reaction to stress and anxiety, wherein the physical tension of stress locates itself in your jaw as you move your upper and lower teeth back and forth against each other in an attempt to relieve stress. The tension it adds to your body only leads to higher levels of stress throughout the day, causing a vicious circle. Bruxism can also be the result of an abnormally aligned bite (AKA an occlusal discrepancy). Bruxism also links to missing teeth, or teeth that are extremely crooked. Grinding your teeth can even be a side effect of certain medications, so if a prescription you were given by your physician correlates with you beginning to grind your teeth, it might be worth looking into.
Treatment for Teeth Grinding
If you suspect stress to be the cause of your bruxism, then a personal stress management plan might be a good place to start. You can talk with your general physician to get advice on sources for stress relief such as meditation, yoga, literature and medication for extreme cases. Reducing habits like chewing gum or extreme overeating throughout the day can help, as can a reduction of caffeine and alcohol, all of which are thought to possibly contribute to teeth grinding. In some cases, an orthodontist might need to be consulted to help realign the jaw. Additionally, mouth pieces are a possible solution to teeth grinding which Dr. Mai would be happy to consult with you on.
ABOUT YOUR GARLAND DENTIST:
Dr. Vi Mai and the caring staff at Mai Dentistry are dedicated to ensuring that our patients are proud of their beautiful, healthy smiles. With years of experience in general, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry, we can expertly diagnose and treat early dental trouble to preserve your natural tooth structure. To learn more, or to schedule your next appointment, call us today at (972) 530-0552.