Bruxism is the condition of grinding or clenching your teeth. Those with bruxism do not always know they are prone to teeth grinding because they do not notice any symptoms and are grinding their teeth while sleeping. Bruxism can cause serious damage to your teeth and lead to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder.
Chronic grinding damages your teeth. Common symptoms include worn down, flattened, fractured, or chipped teeth. Bruxism can wear down tooth enamel and expose the deeper layers of your teeth to extreme temperatures of hot and cold. This causes increased tooth sensitivity. Bruxism can also lead to jaw pain or muscle tightness. These symptoms may be associated with TMJ disorder or misalignment of the TMJs. Other symptoms associated with TMJ disorder include earache, chronic facial pain, and headache. Bruxism patients may also notice damage to the inside of the cheeks and indentations on the tongue.
The exact causes of bruxism are unknown. Possible causes may include anxiety or stress, suppressed anger, and complications resulting from Huntington’s or Parkinson’s disease. Some antidepressants may cause bruxism. Malocclusion, or an abnormally aligned jaw, may also cause the condition. Age is a risk factor for bruxism as the condition is more common among young patients. Stimulating substances like caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, or illegal drugs also put a person at risk for teeth grinding.
To alleviate the damage bruxism causes to the teeth, as well as to retrain your jaw to stop clenching, occlusal splints, or nightguards, are the best available treatment options. A splint protects teeth from the pressures of grinding and helps reduce clenching. There are many types of splints. Some fit over teeth on the top of the mouth, others fit over the bottom. Orthodontic bite adjustment may also help some patients.
At Snow Park Dental, we offer bruxism appliances and treatment. If you think you may have bruxism, please call our Albuquerque dental office at (505) 596-4479 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Miller. We serve patients from Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, Corrales, Los Lunas, Tijeras, Mountain Air, Santa Fe, and Taos.
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