The Impacts of Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)
Teeth grinding (bruxism) is a condition which affects people of all ages, though it most commonly develops during childhood. Repeated grinding, gnashing and clenching of teeth can lead to increased wear on teeth, along with a number of other symptoms that impact upon oral health and general wellbeing. It is important to address the condition early so that the impacts can be minimised. In this blog post, Big Smiles Dental will be sharing some insight into some common bruxism causes, symptoms to watch out for and helpful tips for managing the condition.
What is Bruxism? What Causes it?
Bruxism is a dental term for excessive teeth grinding and clenching of the jaw. This condition typically starts in childhood and is often carried through to adulthood, though it can start later in life too. The most common factors which contribute to tooth grinding are stress and anxiety, but some people grind their teeth out of habit without even realising. Bruxism can also be caused by malocclusion, which is when the upper and lower teeth are out of alignment.
Symptoms of Bruxism to Watch For
Many of those who experience bruxism are unaware of any issue. Usually, their dentist, parent or partner will bring their attention to it after observing the following symptoms:
- Teeth clenching/grinding/rubbing sounds during sleep
- Unusual mouth movements
- Regular headache and/or earache
- A jaw which is often stiff/sore
- Teeth clenching during periods of intense concentration
- Teeth which display unusual wear patterns
If you suspect that you or a family member may have an issue with tooth grinding, it is important to discuss this with your dentist at your next check-up. Bruxism is easily treated, and by doing so early you can minimise the risk of further dental complications arising later in life.
How does Teeth Grinding Affect Oral Health?
Those who regularly grind their teeth are at a greater risk of experiencing tooth sensitivity, enamel wear and jaw issues such as TMJ. It is also not uncommon to experience head and ear aches, as repeated clenching and grinding of the teeth exerts significant pressure. Enamel functions as a protective layer, and increased wear can make daily eating/drinking of hot and cold foods/beverages an uncomfortable experience.
How is Bruxism Treated?
As the causes are typically related to stress and anxiety, it is important to address these issues as part of an overall treatment plan. It is important to visit your dentist regularly so that observations can be made and new strategies trialled to keep your problem under control.
Common treatment options include:
- Use of a custom-made mouth guard to be worn during sleep
- Orthodontic treatment such as braces to correct alignment issues
- Therapy or counselling to address stress/anxiety issues
- Refrain from smoking and caffeine consumption, which can elevate cortisol levels in the body and contribute to stress
Book an Appointment at Big Smiles Dental Today
If you’re concerned about teeth grinding, please don’t hesitate to book an appointment at Big Smiles Dental today. Our team have a wealth of experience in diagnosing and treating this condition. To book an appointment, please call (02) 9921-1799 or use the booking tool on our website.