Teeth grinding is also known as bruxism. Usually it does not cause any harm. However, when the problem teeth grinding begins to occur on a regular basis, it can result in damaged teeth. It can also lead to complications with your oral health.
What are some of the causes for teeth grinding or bruxism?
Anxiety and stress are one of the main reasons that lead to bruxism and this mostly occurs while sleeping. Secondly, the other causes could be because of abnormal bite, crooked or missing teeth. A sleep disorder like sleep apnea can also be linked to bruxism.
- Excess use of Caffeine
- Drug abuse
- Certain prescription medication
- Excess use of alcohol
- Disorders such as Parkinson’s disease
How do you find out that you have been grinding your teeth?
Teeth grinding mostly occurs while you are sleeping. Moreover, a lot of people are not aware that they have been grinding their teeth. You will suffer from a dull and constant headache when you have woken up in the morning. You might also experience a sore jaw. Sometimes, individuals learn from their partner because of the sound of teeth grinding during the night.
You need to speak to your dentist if you believe that you have been grinding your teeth at night. You will undergo a mouth examination and your dentist will study your jaw for any sign of bruxism. Generally, if excessive wear is observed on the teeth and jaw tenderness is present, it’s a sign of bruxism.
Why does bruxism or teeth grinding pose a threat to your health?
Fracture, loosening and teeth loss, are a result of chronic teeth grinding. With this problem there is a high possibility that you may wear down your teeth. When this sort of events occur, the need for crowns, bridges, implants, root canals, partial or complete dentures arise. Severe teeth grinding can permanently damage your teeth and also lead to tooth loss. It will also affect the jaws, lead to or make TMD/TMJ worse, and it even affects the face.
What can you do in order to stop bruxism?
To prevent you from grinding your teeth during sleep, your dentist will recommend you to use a mouth guard. Stress is one of the factors that lead to grinding. In this scenario, consult your dentist or a doctor to help you lower down your stress levels. Some of the options that are available to you will include: stress counseling, be a part of a fitness program, undergo physical therapy or get a prescription related to muscle relaxants.
Tips to help you to battle bruxism
- Try to avoid food and beverages like coffee, colas and chocolate
- Also avoid alcohol as teeth grinding intensifies after consumption of alcohol
- Learn not to chew on pens and pencils, or anything else that’s not food
- You should also avoid chewing gum. The habit leads to clenching of your jaw muscles
- Also train yourself to avoid clenching or grinding your teeth
- Hold a washcloth that is warm beside your cheek before sleeping. This will help you relax the jaw muscles during the night
Do children undergo teeth grinding as well?
It’s just not adults who suffer from teeth grinding. Roughly 15%-33% children undergo this problem too. When the baby teeth emerges and permanent teeth begin to come in these are the two times where children experience teeth grinding.
There are no precise reasons as to why children undergo teeth grinding. However, teeth that is not properly aligned or the irregular touch between the lower and upper teeth are taken into consideration for this problem.
Medical conditions like: pinworm, nutritional deficiencies, endocrine disorders, allergies, psychological factors which include stress and anxiety play a role too. Speak to the dentist when you notice that your child’s teeth are worn. Secondly, if they are complaining about tooth pain or sensitivity.
What are the solutions available for teeth grinding?
There are many preventative measures which include stress management and occlusal splints, mandibular advancement devices and prescription drugs.
There are other recommended treatments for this condition like attending behavioral therapies. Sleep hygiene measures and muscle relaxation exercises will also help the patient to manage bruxism.
Mouth guards and splints
If you have been grinding your teeth during sleep, you will have to wear a mouth splint or a mouth guard at night. A mouth splint will help you even out the pressure that occurs across the jaw. In addition, it will create a physical barrier between the lower and upper teeth, and help you protect them from any kind of further damage. Moreover, they will reduce the grinding noises that happen during sleep.
You will notice that the mouth guards look similar to the ones used in the sport of boxing. The mouth guards will be made by your dentist and are generally constructed out of bendy plastic or rubber. They are also available to purchase from the local pharmacist. There are chances that it will not fit you perfectly when compared to your customized mouth guard from your dentist.
Mouth splint are also popularly known as bite plate or an occlusal splint. They are made out of harder plastic and will fit precisely over your lower and upper teeth. In reducing the symptoms of bruxism, mouth splints are no more effective than mouth guards. A mouth guard lasts for less than a year. However, a mouth splint will last for years and they are more expensive.
Mouth splints and guards will help you reduce the muscle activity in the jaw. It is important to note that they will only be able to control this condition but not a solution to cure it.
Lygon Family Dental is here to help you
Get in touch with us if you have any queries related to teeth grinding and mouth splints. Our experienced, professional and dedicated staff will be glad to assist you. You can call us at (03) 9939 0323.