More commonly known as teeth grinding, bruxism is a serious dental health issue that needs to be addressed with your dentist. Here, we’ll explain the signs and symptoms of bruxism so you know what to look out for.
What Is Bruxism?
First, let’s talk about what bruxism is. Bruxism is an oral condition that is characterized by a person clenching, gnashing, or grinding their teeth either while they are awake or when they are asleep. Though some people may not require treatment for their bruxism if it’s mild, those whose bruxism is severe will need treatment. This is because if their bruxism is frequent and severe enough, they might suffer from serious issues in the future such as damaged teeth and jaw disorders unless it’s treated. For those who suffer from sleep bruxism, diagnosing themselves will be more difficult which is why it’s vital to go in for regular dental checkups so the dentist can spot the signs.
What Causes Bruxism?
While there is no all inclusive cause for bruxism, there are a number of theories on what causes the disorder. Some believe that bruxism is caused by stress, anxiety, tension, anger, frustration, or another similar emotional issue. There are other theories that bruxism is caused by a symptom of rare conditions that affect muscles and nerves in the face, malocclusion, which is when the jaw and teeth don’t line up correctly, or complications from Parkinson’s or Huntingon’s diseases. It is very rare, but bruxism could also be a side effect of depression medications like Zoloft, Prozac, and Paxil.
What Are Signs & Symptoms of Bruxism?
So what are the signs? Some ways to identify if you are suffering from bruxism include: tooth enamel that is so worn that it exposes the other layers below; tooth sensitivity; teeth that are flattened or chipped; teeth clenching or grinding that is loud enough to wake up someone sleeping in the same room; neck, face, or jaw soreness or pain; tight jaw muscles; dull headaches at the temples; and pain that feels like an earache but isn’t an earache. If you experience any of these signs and symptoms, make an appointment with the dentist right away.
How Is Bruxism Treated?
Bruxism is only treated in cases where the disorder is severe and frequent. If this is the case, there are a few treatment options. The most common is a mouth guard which is helpful with separating your teeth so that you don’t grind at night. Other treatments include anxiety and stress management, as well as behavioral change treatment in which you will learn how to practice proper jaw and mouth positioning.
Contact us to schedule an appointment if you are experiencing any of the signs and symptoms of bruxism. We can help!