What is Bruxism?
Bruxism, often referred to as teeth clenching, is a condition in which you unknowingly gnash, grind, or clench your teeth. Bruxism that occurs when the patient is awake typically involves involuntary and unconscious clenching of the teeth. Bruxism that occurs while a patient is asleep usually involves repetitive teeth grinding or teeth clenching. Sleep bruxism is classified as a sleep disorder and is often diagnosed along with other sleep conditions.
What Are The Symptoms of Bruxism?
While some symptoms of bruxism are less apparent, as they occur unconsciously, so it is sometimes difficult to diagnose bruxism.
Common symptoms of bruxism include:
- Grinding or clenching teeth
- Worn, fractured, or chipped teeth
- Tired or taught jaw muscles
- Increased tooth pain and sensitivity
- Neck, facial, or jaw pain
- Worn tooth enamel
- Mild headaches that originate around the temples
- Pain that may feel like it occurs in the ear but there are no signs of ear problems
- Disruption to sleep
- Damage from biting cheeks
How Can Bruxism Cause Permanent Damage to Your Teeth?
The repetitive grinding of teeth and clenching of teeth can lead to headaches, jaw pain, and tooth pain. Untreated bruxism will slowly remove the enamel of your teeth and grind the top of the teeth often leading to wear, chipping, and cracking. Once the enamel has been worn down, there is a higher risk of tooth decay. Grinding can also lead to cracking and the possibility of wearing teeth down far enough to where they need to be restored with a crown. Often untreated teeth grinding can lead to wear that can damage the look of your teeth requiring cosmetic, restorative procedures such as veneers.
What to Do if You Think You May Suffer From Bruxism?
If you have symptoms of bruxism or notice some unusual wear on your teeth, contact Poff Dental Associates Family Dentistry to schedule an appointment. The experienced team at Poff Dental Associates will be able to evaluate your symptoms and monitor the wear on your teeth over several visits to determine the possible cause and what treatment options may work best for you. Common methods of treatment include:
Mouth Guards or Splints
This appliance can keep your teeth separated during sleep to prevent grinding and the wear that comes with it. They are often made of soft materials or hard acrylic that are fit to the top and bottom of your teeth.
In severe cases where the teeth are grinding has resulted in a severe sensitivity, and difficulty chewing, your dentist may opt to reshape your teeth to reconstruct your chewing surfaces by utilizing crowns.
If you suspect you have bruxism, it is important to schedule an appointment immediately with our dentists to begin the monitoring and assessment process.
Contact Poff Dental Associates Family Aesthetic and Comprehensive Dentistry today to schedule your appointment.