Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)

Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)

People grind and clench their teeth. Teeth grinding medically known as bruxism and occasional grinding is not harmful. Regular grinding can cause damage to the teeth and other oral health complications.

During regular dental exams, the dentist will check for the signs of bruxism. If there are any signs, the dentist looks for changes in teeth and mouth. If the process is progressive, they determine whether you need further treatment.

Determining the cause

If you’re diagnosed with bruxism, the dentist will determine the cause by asking about your general dental health, medications, daily routines and sleep habits.

The dentist may check for-

  • Tenderness in jaw muscles
  • Broken or missing teeth

A dental exam may help in identifying other disorders such as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders.

Treatment

If bruxism is related to sleep issues, the dentist will recommend a sleep medicine specialist. If teeth grinding is related to anxiety or other psychological issues, you will be referred to a therapist or counsellor.

In many cases, treatment is not required. If the problem is severe, visit the dentist for therapies and medications to prevent further tooth damage and relieve jaw pain.

Approaches to relieve bruxism

To prevent or relieve bruxism, the dentist recommends-

  • Splints and mouth guards

The keeps the teeth separated to avoid the damage caused by clenching and grinding. They can fit over upper or lower teeth.

  • Dental correction

If the tooth wears lead to sensitivity or the inability to chew properly, the dentist reshapes the chewing surfaces of teeth or use crowns.

  • Manage stress or anxiety

Many people grind teeth due to stress learn strategies that promote relaxation such as meditation. This helps in preventing bruxism.

  • Change behaviour

If you have bruxism, change the behaviour by practising proper mouth and jaw position.

Medications

Medicines are not very effective for the treatment of bruxism. A few medications that may be used-

  • Muscle relaxants

The dentist recommends taking a muscle relaxant before bedtime for a short time period.

  • Medication for anxiety or stress

Dentist suggests short-term use of antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications.

Visit a dentist regularly to determine teeth grinding (bruxism).

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