The Crux of Bruxism
Some patients react to stress by grinding or clenching their teeth unconsciously during the day or more commonly, while sleeping. The constant pressure and motion harms teeth, as well as muscles and tissues in and around the jaw. The condition, known as bruxism, is remedied with a nightguard.
The Facts About Clenching and Grinding
Common symptoms of bruxism include a sore jaw, headaches, or earaches. Causes vary, but may include stress, anxiety, tension, misaligned teeth, posture, diet, sleeping habits, and other factors. Bruxism is found in about one-third of the population and is most prevalent in women.
People with bruxism may have other biting habits, such as biting fingernails, pencils, lips, or the insides of their cheeks.
Constant clenching and grinding of the teeth causes the aforementioned symptoms, and it may also contribute to TMJ (temporomandibular joint) dysfunction, which has a long list of side effects associated with pain in the head and neck. Teeth rubbing together consistently results in surface wear over time, which causes dental problems. Insomnia, eating disorders, and depression can result from bruxism if left untreated.
A Solid Solution
How can you stop an unconscious habit? A thorough evaluation allows us to check teeth, soft tissue, and muscles. If we determine that you suffer from bruxism, we'll create an orthodontic appliance, also called a nightguard or splint, to prevent grinding and clenching. Many types of nightguards exist, and patients react differently to the various styles. If one appliance does not work, another may. In many cases, simply wearing a nightguard eliminates the problem. However, if the condition persists, we prescribe alternative therapies.
Some practices that relieve symptoms of bruxism include stress and anxiety management, focused facial relaxation, massage and stretching of face and neck muscles applying ice or wet heat, proper rest, eating soft foods, and hydrating the body. If your teeth were damaged because of bruxism, or if we find TMJ to be a factor, our team repairs and treats you to provide complete relief.