What Is Bruxism?

Bruxism is a medical term that refers to the grinding of one’s teeth or the clenching of one’s jaw. It is common, especially for children, and it usually gets resolved over time without too many complications. However, if it is not addressed, bruxism can cause pain in your face and jaw, headaches and, in some cases, temporomandibular joints disorder that will trigger a clicking sound when you open or close your mouth.

In addition, severe bruxism could cause damage to your teeth, resulting in worn-off enamel and impact on your crowns or other kinds of dental restorations.

Why Does Teeth Grinding & Clenching Happen?

Bruxism may develop for a variety of reasons. Some reasons include:

  • Teeth are not correctly aligned
  • Periods of stress or worry
  • A diagnosed or undiagnosed condition such as hyperactivity
  • Certain medications

It is common for children to develop bruxism when they experience earaches or start teething. Bruxism often goes undetected, or nothing is done to address it because it doesn’t cause any problems. Most of the time, bruxism is diagnosed because the people around the patient notice something unusual. Have you ever heard your significant other, friends or family pointing out that they hear you grind your teeth at night or during the day? Has anyone told you they could hear a clicking sound when you’re chewing food?

It is common to clench or grind your teeth subconsciously while awake. You may or may not experience pain while chewing food or feel that your jaw is sore. If that’s the case, talk to your dentist about any symptoms you’re experiencing.

How Is Bruxism Treated?

Most of the time, the best way to treat bruxism is by getting a custom-made mouth guard. In most cases, your dentist will recommend wearing a night guard, so you don’t have to wear a mouth guard throughout the day. 

The night guard acts as a cushion for your teeth and prevents them from grinding against each other while you sleep. Night guards are usually custom-made and will require a dental impression of your teeth to create a custom-made mould. In some cases, you can opt for an over-the-counter guard, although it may not be as comfortable as it won’t be an exact fit. Over-the-counter options are made with softer material, which does not last as long as the custom-made options.

We recommend regular visits to your dental clinic for children with early signs of bruxism. While it can take some getting used to, night guards are very effective, and you should notice an improvement quite quickly. If bruxism is caused by stress, you’ll be able to take the time to adequately address the root of the issue with the help of your doctor or a specialist without causing further damage or chipping any tooth in the interim.

Are There Other Treatment Options?

 In some cases, and depending on the underlying cause of your bruxism, you could discuss coronoplasty treatment with your dentist. It’s a dental procedure that will ultimately reshape the biting surface of your teeth and is particularly effective when bruxism is caused by teeth that are not correctly aligned or crooked.

If you want to discuss bruxism further, please book a consultation with us today.

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