If you’re keeping your family members awake at night with the sounds of your teeth clenching and grinding, you might have a condition called bruxism.
Because grinding or clenching your teeth usually occurs at night, and if it only happens occasionally, you may not be aware of it. But when bruxism becomes a regular occurrence, it may affect your dental health.
At The Glenroy Dental Group we want to introduce you to what you need to know about bruxism!
The problem with bruxism
Prolonged bruxism can create cracks and fractures in teeth. These cracks may be invisible, but they are big enough to allow harmful bacteria inside. This can cause tooth decay. The tiny cracks and fractures can weaken your enamel. Weak enamel can lead to larger cracks, chipping, and breakage.
Fractures in your teeth can also cause sensitivity to cold, hot, or overly sweet food. Grinding can also lead to enamel surface loss, making the teeth shorter and in some cases sensitivity. Shorter teeth can cause the look of an over-closed mouth, which we associate with old age.
In some cases, chronic teeth grinding can lead to loosening, or loss of teeth. Bruxism can even wear teeth down to stumps and attack bridges, crowns, root canals, and implants.
Not only can bruxism harm teeth and lead tooth loss, it can also affect your jaws, cause or worsen TMD/TMJ, and even alter the appearance of your face. Continued clenching can cause jaw muscles to bulk-up, which can give the face a broad appearance.
Why Do People Grind Their Teeth?
There are many reasons people suffer from bruxism. Here, we present some of the most common
Stress and Anxiety. Studies have shown that up to 70 percent of bruxism is triggered by stress. A person with a good outlet for their stress, such as exercise or therapy, is less likely to develop bruxism.
Hyperactive Personality. Hyperactive people, including those with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, have a greater incidence of bruxism than the general population.
Medications. Bruxism can also be attributed to medications such as antipsychotics and antidepressants, particularly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors like Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil.
External causes of bruxism. Some common external triggers for bruxism are are:
- Daytime stress
- Eye strain
- Sinus infections
- Caffeine withdrawal
- Changes in the weather
- Adjusting to new eyeglasses
- Hormonal changes
At home approaches to bruxism
Because a lot of bruxism is related to daily stress, there are also some daily strategies that can battle it:
- Take a bath, listen to music or do regular exercises and activities (e.g. yoga or massage) that ‘bust’ stress.
- Practice good sleeping habits.
- If your jaw is sore, use either ice or wet heat.
- Learn relaxation exercises such as mindfulness, deep breathing or meditation.
- Don’t chew gum.
- Avoid smoking, alcohol consumption, and drinking caffeinated beverages.
- For children, give them stretching and massaging exercises to loosen up muscles.
- Drink water as dehydration is associated with teeth grinding.
- Schedule regular dental exams. Your dentist can detect signs of bruxism in the jaw and mouth with regular exams and dental visits.
What can your dentist do?
Talking to your The Glenroy Dental Group dentist is among the first steps you should take if you believe you suffer from bruxism. During routine exams your dentist will search for wear, tissue abrasion, or other signs of bruxism. You will be asked about your health, habits, and other factors, which may reveal the cause of your bruxism.
If your bruxism is severe, your dentist may recommend a dental appliance to prevent you from grinding your teeth or at least prevent any more damage.
- Splints and mouthguards are the most commonly recommended appliance for controlling bruxism. They keep your teeth separated and prevent damage caused by grinding as well as eliminating grinding sounds that may disturb your family.
- Mandibular Advancement Devices are also oral appliances. However, instead of preventing your teeth from coming together, they slightly depress your lower jaw and pull your tongue forward. MADs are a treatment for obstructive sleep apnea and have been shown to be work in treating bruxism both with and without related apnea.
However, these mechanical approaches are not cures – the real way to deal with your bruxism is to understand the causes underlying it, and remove those causes. The Glenroy Dental Group is here to help!
The Glenroy Dental Group and You
At The Glenroy Dental Group, your health and happiness, and that of your children and family, are our dental goals. We use the most modern technology available and employ the latest dental techniques to ensure that your dental health and appearance are at the highest level. We want you to receive the best possible dental care with no pain or anxiety!
Our offices are conveniently located in the Pascoe Vale Road shopping strip, Glenroy, with ample parking space, we are located within easy walking distance of the Glenroy train station.
Call us one (03) 9306 6511 or visit us at: 2/830 Pascoe Vale Rd in Glenroy.