Bruxism is the technical term for teeth grinding. Many people grind their teeth out of habit, tension, or as a side effect or symptom of temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ). If you grind your teeth, it can cause long-term damage and even eventual tooth loss. Your dentist can recommend treatment to reduce or eliminate your grinding.
Causes and Symptoms of Bruxism
Bruxism, or teeth grinding, can occur for a variety of reasons. Often, it becomes a habit due to tension, stress, or misalignment. It can also be an indication that you are suffering from temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ. You might not even be aware that you are doing it, since many people grind or clench their teeth at night when they are asleep.
If you notice any of the following symptoms, they could be an indication that you’re grinding your teeth:
- Persistent headaches
- Chips, flakes, or cracks in your teeth
- Abnormal wear patterns
- Stiffness in the jaw or neck when you wake up in the morning
Another person might notice you grinding your teeth in your sleep, providing additional evidence you can take to your dentist to have your bruxism diagnosed and treated. Because bruxism can have detrimental long-term effects, it’s best to discuss treatment options as soon as you notice the issue.
Treatment for Bruxism
Bruxism treatment varies depending upon its root cause. If you grind your teeth because of stress, your dentist might recommend relaxation exercises or other forms of stress relief such as exercise. You can also wear a mouthguard at night to protect your teeth. If your bruxism is related to TMJ, treatment for this underlying disorder might be necessary to correct the teeth grinding. Orthodontic treatment can also be an effective way to eliminate grinding.
Although bruxism might not seem like a serious problem, it can lead to serious problems if it’s ignored. Premature wear in your teeth can lead to a need for restorations or even to tooth loss. If you suspect you might be grinding your teeth, call our office at Lynn Dental for a thorough evaluation.