Teeth Grinding and Nightguards
"Bruxism" is the technical term for grinding and clenching that abrades teeth and may cause facial and jaw pain. People who are bruxers unintentionally bite down with great force at inappropriate times such as during their sleep. Many people do not realize that they suffer from this debilitating problem but approximately 1 in 3 people suffer from bruxism.
If bruxism is not treated, a patient may have to deal with:
- Enamel loss leading to exposure of dentin, a very sensitive area of the teeth.
- Gum recession causing sensitivity and concurrent loss of supporting bone.
- Temperomandibular Joint misalignment leading to jaw pain.
- Tense muscles and headaches.
The signs of bruxism are:
- Teeth cusps and edges look flat
- Sensitivity of teeth due to exposure of dentin
- Gum recession in insolated areas or throughout the mouth
- Clicking of the jaw with or without pain
- Constant headaches
Etiology of Bruxism:
- Nervous tension
- Anger, pain and frustration
- People who are aggressive, competitive and constantly hurried may be at a greater risk for bruxism
Treatment for Bruxism:
- Behavior modification
- Stress control
- It is sometimes necessary for patients to protect their teeth by wearing a night guard. Fabrication of a plastic mouth appliance, like a night guard, can help absorb the force of biting and excessive grinding, and save your teeth!