Bruxism is the medical term for teeth grinding, and it’s more common than you may think. The condition can be broken down into two separate disorders known as awake bruxism and sleep bruxism. As the names imply, one condition occurs when you knowingly clench or grind your teeth, while the other occurs subconsciously during your sleep. Below, we take a closer look at both conditions and explain how your dentist can help treat them.
Causes and Symptoms of Bruxism
Medical professionals don’t know exactly what causes bruxism and teeth grinding, but they believe it may be caused by a combination of physical and psychological factors. In awake bruxism, the condition is believed to be tied to things like anxiety, stress, frustration or other intense emotions, while the sleep variety can be caused by sleep disturbances and other arousals while sleeping.
Symptoms of the condition include:
- Flattened, fractured or chipped teeth
- Worn tooth enamel
- Increased tooth pain or sensitivity
- Tired jaw muscles
- Jaw and facial muscle soreness
- Damage to the inside of your cheek
- Dull headaches
- Other sleep disorders, like sleep apnea or frequent waking
Bruxism Diagnosis and Treatment
While a mild form of the condition may only require monitoring, if the condition is affecting your teeth, jaw or face, you should seek out a diagnosis from a medical specialist or dentist. Aside from causing permanent damage to your teeth, the condition can also be costly, so uncovering the root cause and addressing it is important.
Your dentist can spot the signs of bruxism, so mention your concerns at your next appointment if you believe you may be consciously or unconsciously grinding your teeth. Your dentist will check for jaw soreness and damage to teeth, and they’ll also ask you questions about your lifestyle and sleeping habits to help determine a root cause. Since bruxism is oftentimes caused by psychological factors, common treatment options include finding ways to reduce stress, manage anxiety and safely manage emotions that can contribute to awake bruxism.
Contact a Bloomington MN Dentist
If your condition occurs while you’re sleeping, you may be referred to a sleep specialist. They’ll be able to look for reasons as to why you’re dealing with disturbances during your sleep, and they can help to develop a treatment strategy. Some common treatment options for sleep bruxism include making the sleep environment ideal for sleep (remove distractions, make it dark, go to bed at the same time each night), and healthy physical changes like avoiding caffeine or exercise right before bed. Your dentist or doctor may also prescribe sleep aids. Once the underlying cause is identified and treated, your dentist can perform necessary operations to restore the health of damaged teeth or mouth surfaces.
For more information, or to talk to a doctor about your teeth grinding, give Dr. Brooks’ office a call today.