Known more commonly as chronic teeth-grinding, bruxism affects millions but can have varying health effects. Those who suffer from this condition are predisposed to clenching or grinding their teeth together, often times at night or during times of stress. Today, we'll look at some of the symptoms that can arise from this disorder, how people can alleviate the impact and in what ways dental professionals can respond.
According to the American Dental Association, there are many underlying causes for bruxism, including allergies, mouth sores, stress, misaligned teeth, sleep disruption problems, or even obsessive compulsive disorder. Among the symptoms people first notice are headaches, tooth sensitivity, receding gum lines and, in serious cases, loss of adult teeth. Children are also prone to this condition, though no medical evidence exists that would suggest that certain age or racial groups are more inclined to developing bruxism.
Given the fact that teeth-grinding can significantly impact a person's quality of life, there are certain things that affordable dental care professionals can do to help. The simplest solution is to wear a mouthguard at night, similar to the one's those with braces put on before bed. This helps prevent enamel erosion caused by bruxism and reduces the risk of chipping. Muscle relaxants have also been known to alleviate the condition, including the popular cosmetic injection Botox. Medical experts also recommend stress-reduction techniques like meditation or yoga to help calm the body and naturally loosen muscle tension.
Dentists can also perform reactive care, such as restorative procedures to help rebuild lost gum density and tooth integrity. In extreme circumstances, crowns or dentures may be required if bruxism is left untreated.
If you or a loved one you know suffers from chronic teeth-grinding, contact your family dentist today to see if they require medical attention or preventative therapies.