Even if you brush and floss daily as directed by your dentist, your teeth may still suffer damage from bruxism. Bruxism is not directly related to tooth decay, which is caused by bacterial acids. Instead, it refers to the unintentional grinding of the teeth of the top palate against those of the bottom palate.
The condition, which may take place as you sleep, harms the teeth by eroding the enamel of the chewing surfaces. In some cases, it even applies enough pressure to crack or chip the teeth.
Here is some information about bruxism to help you understand its causes, symptoms, and treatment options.
What Causes Bruxism?
Bruxism is usually caused by feelings of stress or anxiety. It provides the body with a way to release some of the tension associated with the stress. Additionally, bruxism may also be associated with other conditions, such as dental alignment problems, substance abuse, and excessive caffeine intake.
Symptoms of Bruxism
Although many people do not realize that they are grinding their teeth, they may still suffer from symptoms of bruxism. Here are some signs that you may be grinding your teeth at night:
- Sore jaws- If you notice mouth or jaw soreness upon waking, you may suffer from bruxism.
- Enamel wear- Dental grinding can cause your teeth to wear away in unusual patterns.
- Grinding noises- Your spouse or partner may notice your grinding because of the clenching sound that your teeth make during the night.
- Earaches- Earaches can be caused by the strain placed on the jaw during episodes of grinding.
Your dentist may diagnose your bruxism during a routine appointment as they notice the erosion of your tooth enamel. Additionally, the dentist may examine your jaws for signs of grinding. Once your dentist has diagnosed your condition, they may prescribe the following:
- Night Guard- A night guard is a shock-absorbent mouth guard that is worn at night to absorb the pressure of the grinding. The guard is customized to fit the contours of your mouth and teeth, so it is comfortable when worn.
- Psychotherapy- To address the underlying causes of the grinding, therapy may be prescribed.
Additional suggestions to help alleviate the bruxism include stress-relieving activities, such as meditation and breathing exercises.
If you believe that you may be suffering from bruxism, contact offices like Pacific Ave Dental/Allan L. Hablutzel, DDS in your area to schedule an appointment. The prompt treatment of your condition can help prevent further damage to your teeth.