What is bruxism?
If you woke with a pain on the jaw muscles or with a headache, you may be suffering from bruxism – the gnashing of teeth by clenching the jaws. Bruxism can lead to tooth pain or tooth loosening resistance, and sometimes simply wear down the teeth. Gradually, bruxism can destroy gum tissue and bone. Also, problems may occur in the jaw as Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (TMJ).
How do I know if I have bruxism?
Many people are not aware that they suffer from bruxism. It may even never know unless somebody tells them that they are very grinding very much the teeth during sleep. Others may find after a routine dental check that they have blunt teeth and cracked enamel.
Other potential signs of bruxism are pain in the face, head and neck. Your dentist can determine the exact diagnosis and determine if the source of facial pain is really bruxism.
Prescription of treatment for bruxism is based on the cause that causes it. After addressing some questions, your dentist can determine the potential source of the problem by full examining the teeth. Depending on degree of abrasion of the teeth and the probable cause, your dentist may suggest:
- Wearing a device during sleep. This device will be made especially for shaping to your teeth and cover the upper teeth to prevent them grind. The device is a way to control bruxism, but not a final cure.
- Finding ways to relax. It seems that everyday stress is a major cause of bruxism, so it is good to reduce stress by listening to music, reading a book, walk out or a doing a relaxing bath. You can try therapy sessions to identify an effective way to control stressful situations. Applying a warm wet compress on your face for relaxing the muscles tense because of the clenching can also help.
Polishing “high spots” of teeth to correct the bite. A poor occlusion, when the upper teeth do not overlap well over those below can be corrected and fillings, crowns or orthodontic treatment.