What You Need to Know About Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, affects people of all ages. It comes in many variations: Some people grind their teeth in their sleep, while others do so during the day. In all cases, the grinding wears down the teeth. In more severe cases, bruxism causes pain and damage to the jaw.

So, what causes teeth grinding and how can we make it better?

What causes a person to clench or grind their teeth?

Bruxism is not caused by a single factor. Many things contribute to it, including stress, malocclusion, jaw misalignment and medical conditions like cerebral palsy and anxiety. Bruxism can occur periodically or constantly. Even when the condition is severe, most people who suffer from teeth grinding do not even notice that they are doing it.

How does teeth grinding affect oral health?

  • Bruxism causes toothaches
  • Pressure from the grinding may fracture teeth
  • Fractured teeth expose the dentine to infection and tooth decay
  • The jaw, shoulders and neck may become stiff
  • With time, the enamel is worn away, resulting in tooth sensitivity

Who is likely to be affected?

The most common causes of teeth grinding are emotional. People who suffer from chronic stress, anxiety or depression are likely to take it out on their teeth. Young children whose teeth are growing in may grind their teeth as a way of soothing sore gums. Fortunately for them, as soon as the teeth come through, the grinding usually stops.

People with malocclusion may also suffer from bruxism. When caused by missing molars, malocclusion causes the patient to bite down in an attempt to align the teeth.

What are the symptoms?

This is where regular dental visits save the day. Because most people do not realize that they grind their teeth, it is the dentist who notices that something is wrong. The dentist will notice that the chewing surfaces of the teeth have become smooth and flattened. Any fillings in the teeth will be coming apart. If the teeth have become fractured because of the pressure, the dentist will notice the cracks.

How is bruxism treated?

One approach is the treatment of the underlying cause. If the cause of teeth grinding is emotional, then psychological treatment is offered to the patient. Once the psychological trigger is brought under control, the grinding subsides.

If the grinding is caused by malocclusion, then dental treatments like tooth restoration or orthodontic remedies like braces are used to cure the bruxism.

A second approach is simply to manage and mitigate the bruxism. This is done with the use of a mouth guard. When a patient wears a mouth guard, they prevent their teeth from grinding against each other. Mouth guards are made of a soft material that prevents the upper and lower teeth from coming into contact.

Pay attention to mysterious pains in the mouth

If you constantly suffer from painful face muscles and sore teeth, it may be time to consult a doctor or dentist. If the problem is found to be teeth grinding, have no fear. Once diagnosed, the condition is easy to manage. At the very least, you can get a mouth guard to protect your teeth as you sleep.

Dealing with bruxism?

Request a dental appointment here: https://www.drfrankgalka.com or call Eastside Dental at (414) 888-4000 for an appointment in our Milwaukee dental office.

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