What is bruxism?
Teeth grinding, also called bruxism, is often viewed as a harmless, though annoying, habit. Some people develop bruxism as a way to deal with stress or anxiety. However, teeth grinding can literally transform your bite and severely damage your teeth and jaws over time.
Teeth grinding can cause abrasion to the chewing surfaces of your teeth. This abnormal wear and tear can prematurely age and loosen your teeth. Grinding and clenching can form small cracks in your teeth and expose dentin, which causes problems like hypersensitivity.
Bruxism can also cause chronic jaw and facial pain as well as headaches.
How can I tell if I have bruxism?
If no one has ever told you that you grind your teeth, here are a few clues that you may suffer from bruxism:
- Your jaw is often sore.
- You hear a popping sound when you open and close your mouth.
- Your teeth look abnormally short or worn down.
- You notice small dents in your tongue.
If you are suffering from any of these symptoms, please call for a consultation. We can provide an accurate diagnosis that will guide treatment options for your distressing symptoms.
How can I stop bruxism?
The good news is that bruxism is treatable. One therapy involves the use of an appliance worn while sleeping.
We can fit you with a night guard here at Tabor Dental Associates. This night guard can help to protect your teeth from the effects of teeth grinding while you sleep. However, in order to cease teeth grinding completely, it is important to treat the triggers behind your teeth grinding.
If stress is causing your bruxism, ask your dentist about stress reduction techniques and options. Exercise, stress counseling, or prescription muscle relaxers may help reduce how often or how severely you grind your teeth.
Other effective treatments involve biofeedback and behavior modification, such as tongue exercises and learning how to properly align your tongue, teeth, and lips.