26 Dec Background on Bruxism
Many people suffer from bruxism, or teeth grinding. However, few people realize that bruxism is a serious condition that could result in damage to your teeth. Learn about the dangers of teeth grinding and what you can do about it.
What is Bruxism?
Although it sounds like a complicated term, bruxism is far from complicated. It refers to teeth grinding, which happens to many individuals. In some situations, teeth grinding occurs during your waking hours. People with awake bruxism are not aware that they grind their teeth. As a subconscious habit, teeth grinding is impossible to stop on your own.
Another type of teeth grinding is sleep bruxism. Like the awake form, this type of teeth grinding is subconscious. However, it occurs while you sleep. As such, it is a seep-related movement disorder. It sometimes accompanies other sleep disorders, like sleep apnea.
In either form of teeth grinding, you could also gnash or clench your teeth. Any of the actions cause damage to your teeth. If you have a mild form of it, then you might not need treatment. However, teeth grinding can be quite serious. Many people develop issues like headaches, jaw trouble, and teeth damage from teeth grinding.
Causes and Risk Factors for Teeth Grinding
No one is completely certain what causes bruxism. However, professionals do have some ideas as to the cause of it. There are a variety of genetic, psychological, and physical factors that could make it more likely for you to grind your teeth. Here are a few of the factors that could influence whether you have bruxism:
1. Anxiety, stress, anger, or other strong emotions
These emotions make it more likely that you grind your teeth. You might grind them as a coping mechanism to handle your emotions. During times of high stress, your grinding could worsen.
2. Your age
In young children, teeth grinding is common. Often, the behavior stops as the child gets older. It’s not impossible for an adult to suffer from bruxism, but it is less common.
If you have an aggressive personality, then you could be more likely to grind your teeth. Likewise, being overly competitive or hyperactive has the same result.
4. Taking medications or substances
Certain medications or substances make it more likely that you will grind your teeth. For example, psychiatric medications often have this side effect. If you drink alcohol, caffeine, or use drugs, then you could also develop bruxism.
If you have family members who grind their teeth, then you might do it too. It often runs in families. Like many other genetic issues, teeth grinding could just be in your DNA.
6. Medical history
If you suffer from certain medical conditions, then teeth grinding could be a side effect. For example, teeth grinding often accompanies GERD, epilepsy, sleep apnea, and ADHD. If you suffer from Parkinson’s, you might also grind your teeth.
Symptoms and Results of Bruxism
While teeth grinding might seem fairly innocent, it’s not. There are many symptoms of teeth grinding. Often, the symptoms can cause you discomfort.
- Noisy grinding of your teeth
- Flattened or chipped teeth
- Worn out tooth enamel that exposes other layers of your teeth
- Tooth sensitivity or pain
- Jaw muscles that feel tight or tired
- A locked jaw that is difficult to open or close
- Ear pain
- A headache in your temples
- Chewing the inside of your cheek
- Trouble sleeping
The damage that teeth grinding can do to your teeth is surprising. If you grind your teeth frequently, then you can wear down your teeth. Instead of being able to chew your foods easily, chewing could become difficult. You could also expose the inner parts of your teeth and end up with tooth pain.
If you want to prevent teeth grinding from damaging your teeth, then you need treatment. However, treatment is not a one-size-fits-all procedure. The type of treatment that you get for teeth grinding depends on the causes of your grinding. For example, your cause might be anxiety. In this case, you might need to see a therapist to learn how to manage your anxiety. When you treat the anxiety, the grinding might stop.
Your dentist can help you determine the cause of your teeth grinding. Additionally, he can help you find a way to minimize the damage from the grinding. He might recommend wearing a splint. By wearing a mouth splint, you can protect your teeth from the damage of grinding. Night bruxism can often be treated by wearing a splint at night. When you see your dentist, he might recommend getting a custom splint that fits your teeth perfectly.
It might also be necessary for your dentist to repair the damage done by teeth grinding. If the damage is extensive, he might need to reshape your chewing surface or put in crowns. In doing so, he can repair the damage. You do still need to take care not to do further damage, however.