Bruxism Treatment

What Is Bruxism and How Is It Treated?

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.

Night Grinding

How To Prevent Teeth Grinding At Night

Do you wake up with a sore jaw some days? If you do, you may be like a lot of people who suffer from regular jaw clenching or teeth grinding while you sleep. The condition is known as bruxism, and although it’s not the easiest condition to treat, your dentist can likely help you find a solution to your night grinding.

Research shows that bruxism has its origins in the central nervous system, as neural responses cause you to tighten your jaw or clench your teeth while you’re fast asleep. The reason the condition develops is different for each person, but in most cases diet, stress, lifestyle choices and family history are determined to be an underlying cause of bruxism.

Signs of Teeth Grinding at Night

If you’re dealing with one or more of these symptoms, there’s a good chance that you grind your teeth at night:

  • Grinding or clenching your jaw loud enough to wake your partner.
  • Flattened, chipped or loose teeth.
  • Worn down tooth enamel.
  • Increased tooth sensitivity.
  • Jaw soreness or facial pain in the morning.
  • Headaches or ear pain upon waking.
  • Tired or tight jaw muscles.
  • Clicking or popping of the temporomandibular joints (TMJ) when chewing or talking.

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, reach out to your dentist. Unaddressed teeth grinding can lead to tooth problems and TMJ issues, all of which can be both painful and costly. The sooner you treat the problem, the quicker you can put this issue behind you.

Treating Teeth Grinding at Night

There are a number of different ways to treat the condition, and it helps to try and pinpoint what might be causing your issues. Here’s a look at some treatments based on the underlying cause.

  • Stress – If stress is contributing to teeth grinding, try to limit stressful activities at the end of the day, or find ways to reduce the amount of stress in your life.
  • Medication – Medication can also contribute to restfulness and teeth grinding at night. Talk to your doctor about adjusting your medication regimen.
  • Alcohol and Smoking – Certain lifestyle habits like smoking and drinking alcohol can lead to an increased likelihood of bruxism. Limit your tobacco and alcohol intake within a couple of hours before bed.
  • Family History – If genetics seem to play a role in teeth grinding, your dentist may recommend a night mouthguard to limit damage from grinding. This is also an option for other underlying causes of bruxism.

Other ways to try and limit teeth grinding at night is to cut back on caffeine, avoid chewing on objects like pens or fingernails during the day, and avoid chewing gum if you grind your teeth because that can make TMJ pain worse. For more tips on how to prevent and treat teeth grinding, reach out to Dr. Brooks’ office today.

Teeth Grinding Symptoms

Teeth Grinding / Clenching – Causes, Symptoms & Treatments

Teeth grinding/clenching can be a painful and damaging habit many people aren’t even aware of because it happens during sleep.

Teeth Grinding/Clenching Causes & Symptoms

Teeth grinding can be the result of many factors, including stress, anxiety, sleeping disorders, abnormal bite patterns, or missing teeth. Grinding can occur in both adult and adolescent patients. With pediatric patients, teeth grinding can also be caused by allergies, misaligned teeth, and irritation in the mouth. However, since a child’s jaw and teeth change so rapidly as they grow, teeth grinding is typically not an issue that needs to be addressed until adulthood.

Common symptoms that may indicate teeth grinding:

  • Waking up with a sore jaw or headache
  • Painful or loose teeth
  • Fractured or chipped teeth

Preventing & Treating Teeth Grinding/Clenching

When it comes to preventing and treating teeth grinding, you have several options. Wearing a mouthguard while you sleep is one of the most direct treatment options. Your dentist can fit you with a mouthguard that will protect your teeth from the harmful effects of grinding while you sleep. While mouthguards are great for preventing the symptoms of grinding, they often do not address the root cause of the teeth grinding. If stress is causing your grinding, your dentist may recommend a muscle relaxant before bedtime. Exercises, meditation, and counseling can also significantly reduce stress and help prevent teeth grinding.

Minnesota Dental Clinic

Are you experiencing a dental health issue? Smiles for Life has you covered! Dr. Tim Brooks makes it a point to provide compassionate, individualized care to every patient that makes an appointment. No matter how big or small your dental issue is, we will offer you top-notch care at Smiles for Life. Our primary clinic is located in Bloomington, but we serve patients throughout the Twin Cities metro and surrounding areas. Give us a call today to set up your appointment!