Bruxism is a condition that causes you to grind and clench your teeth. If you are a victim of this condition you may unconsciously clench or grind your teeth when sleeping or even clench your teeth when you are awake.
Sleep bruxism is considered as a sleep-related disorder and people who suffer from this problem are likely to have other sleep disorders such as snoring and pauses in breathing. Bruxism of the mild variety may not need any treatment but in severe cases, it can lead to jaw disorders, headaches, damaged teeth, and other problems.
You may be suffering from the problem of bruxism but may not realize it until you develop complications and therefore it is important for you to understand the symptoms of bruxism and to seek dental care.
The following are the signs and symptoms of bruxism:
If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above you should see your dentist or doctor as soon as possible.
The problem of bruxism can also affect children and if you notice your child grinding your clenching his or her teeth mention it to the pediatric dentist during the next appointment.
The causes of bruxism haven’t been understood by the medical fraternity but it could be a result of stress, physical, psychological, and genetic factors. The factors that can increase your risk of bruxism could be stress, age, personality type, medications or other substances, hereditary conditions, and other disorders.
In most cases, bruxism does not cause any serious complications that may require you to undergo sedation dentistry. However severe conditions can cause:
Your dentist will be looking for signs of bruxism during your regular dental visits. If any signs are detected your dentist will look for changes in your teeth and mouth over subsequent appointments to determine if the process is progressive and recommend treatment if necessary. If bruxism is suspected the dentist may question you about your general dental health, daily routines, medications, and sleep habits to determine its cause. He or she will also look for tenderness in your jaw muscles, dental abnormalities like broken or missing teeth and other damage to your teeth and the underlying bone and cheeks by taking x-rays. The dental examination will also allow the dentist to detect other disorders that can cause similar pain such as TMJ disorders and health conditions.
You may be recommended to a sleep medicine specialist if bruxism is related to major sleep issues where even more tests will be conducted like a sleep study to assess the episodes of teeth grinding and to determine whether you have sleep apnea or any other sleep disorders. If it is a problem related to anxiety you may be referred to a licensed therapist.
Bruxism is a condition, unlike periodontitis where you will need periodontal treatment and therefore your doctor or dentist will recommend ways to preserve and improve your teeth. Many cases have been noticed where treatments were not necessary because many children outgrow the condition without treatment and adults do not grind or clench their teeth intensely to require therapy. However, if it is a severe condition the dentist may adopt some dental approaches and therapies that can prevent further tooth damage and relieve discomfort from jaw pain.
You may also be offered mouth guards to wear that will be designed to keep your teeth separated for avoiding the damage caused by clenching and grinding. In some cases, medications may also be prescribed for a short period and Botox injections may be given if you have a severe condition of bruxism.
You can use some home remedies that will help you to overcome this problem by trying to reduce stress, avoiding stimulating substances, practicing good sleep habits and scheduling regular dental exams because it is the best way to identify bruxism.