Also known as teeth grinding, bruxism is a condition in which people grind, clench or gnash their teeth. Most people clench at night, but others do it unconsciously throughout the day. Bruxism does not usually cause harm, but when teeth grinding occurs on a regular basis the teeth can become damaged and other oral health complications can arise.
Chronic acts of grinding can result in a fracturing, loosening or loss of the teeth. Severe cases can also lead to jaw disorders, like temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder and frequent headaches.
Common warning signs and symptoms of chronic teeth grinding may include:
- Worn down, flattened or chipped teeth
- Frequent earaches, facial pain or jaw pain
- Unexplained headaches, particularly in the morning
- Increased tooth sensitivity
- Indentions on tongue
- Worn tooth enamel, exposing deep layers of the tooth
- Chewed tissue on inside of cheek
- Enlarged or tightened jaw muscles due to severe contractions
- Grinding or clenching that is loud enough to awaken others in your household
There isn't one cause of bruxism, but many times teeth grinding is related with reasons such as stress or a natural response due to the misalignment of teeth. In children, many times bruxism is a result of the growth and development of the jaws and teeth.
Treatment for bruxism will vary, depending on the severity and cause. Sometimes simple behavior modification or relaxation techniques may be enough to reduce teeth clenching. If bruxism is caused by dental problems, The Dental Dimensions can work with you to correct the malocclusion. Other possible solutions include dental appliances which can also protect the teeth from the impact of grinding.
Unfortunately, you may not even realize that you have bruxism until it causes significant damage to your teeth. If you suspect you may be grinding your teeth, visit The Dental Dimensions for an evaluation. During regular visits to our San Jose office, the teeth are examined for evidence of grinding, such as jaw tenderness and abnormalities in your teeth. The Dental Dimensions can help you identify your cause of grinding and determine the best treatment to help you stop.