REVIVE DENTAL LEWISVILLE
TEETH GRINDING / BRUXISM
LEARN ABOUT TEETH GRINDING, BRUXISM
Teeth grinding habits can fracture teeth or wear down the tooth structure. If you have bruxism, we may fit you with a nightguard to prevent damage while you sleep. We can also recommend lifestyle changes to help keep you from grinding your teeth and clenching the jaw.
Bruxism is the habitual teeth grinding or clenching of teeth, and can occur when you are awake or while sleeping. Sleep bruxism tends to be a good indicator of people who also have awake bruxism. SB is considered a sleep-movement disorder, and people who have SB often have other sleep disorders too, such as heavy snoring or sleep apnea. A number of studies have also found a strong link between bruxism and temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD) – which is an umbrella term for a group of over 30 conditions that cause pain and dysfunction in the sliding jaw joint that connects our jaw to our skull.
What causes bruxism in adults
Stress and anxiety are the main causes for bruxism in adults, but there are many potential causes for bruxism. Here are the most common causes of bruxism in adults:
Too much stress and/or anxiety
Excessive anger, frustration or tension
Certain medications, in particular SSRIs
(selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors)
Sleep disorders, like snoring and sleep apnea
Certain personality types, such as people prone to very competitive, aggressive or hurried tendencies
Bruxism is also surprisingly common in children, with about 20% of children developing bruxism. Most children outgrow bruxism after losing their baby teeth, and bruxism in children often has different causes than for adults, such as:
Misaligned teeth or bite
Pain or irritation, such as teething or an earache
Medical or hereditary reasons, such as cerebral palsy or hyperactivity
Stress, such as changes in routine, difficulties in school, disruptions or arguing at home, etc.
What are the negative effects of
In and around the mouth alone, bruxism can cause:
Teeth that have become flattened, fractured, chipped or loose
Worn and weakened tooth enamel, exposing dentin
(the softer, yellow layer of the tooth beneath tooth enamel)
Teeth more susceptible to cracks, breaking, and cavities
Damaged tooth restorations
(crowns, veneers, fillings, implants, etc.)
Increased tooth sensitivity or pain
Increased risk of receding gums and gum disease
Increased risk of developing TMD
For people with sleep bruxism, the condition often goes unnoticed unless a partner alerts them to the fact.
Sleep bruxism often results in disrupted sleep, negatively affecting the quality and quantity of sleep, and often coincides with other sleep disorders as well. Many people with SB frequently wake with lingering aches, soreness
or pain in the jaw, neck, ears, face and/or head. And as a result of stiffness, soreness or pain in the jaw, bruxism can also cause difficulty when speaking or eating.
How is bruxism diagnosed
During a dental exam, one of the many things our dentist checks for is signs of abnormal wear on your teeth. Flattened teeth are one of the most common signs of bruxism, caused by excessive grinding of the teeth against one another. Other signs and symptoms of bruxism include:
-Cracked, chipped or loose teeth
-Worn tooth enamel
-Overly sensitive teeth
-Tense facial or jaw muscles
-Frequent headaches, jaw aches or neck aches
-Locking of the jaw
-Popping or clicking of the jaw
-Damage to the inside of the cheek
-Stiffness of the jaw, resulting in difficulty eating or speaking
-Tinnitus (ringing in the ear)
Many signs and symptoms of bruxism can look like other health issues or conditions, so it is important to let us know if you think you may be grinding your teeth. If us knows that you may have bruxism, they can focus their examination of your teeth, mouth, and jaw for specific signs of bruxism, and ask additional questions about your experiences and lifestyle.
Prevention & Treatment
There are many potential causes of bruxism, including: anxiety, stress, certain medications, certain health conditions, sleep disorders and more. Depending on the cause of bruxism, prevention and treatment methods of bruxism may include:
Mouth guards, particularly for those who suffer from sleep
bruxism. Your dentist can fit you for a custom made night
guard, or you can try an over-the-counter mouth guard.
Be aware that sports mouth guards are made of different materials and designed for different purposes compared to night mouth guards, so we do not recommend using a sports guard for teeth grinding, or a night guard for sports protection.
Behavior changes. Bruxism can sometimes be prevented simply by practicing proper mouth and jaw positions and exercises; ask your dentist for tips.
Lifestyle changes. Sometimes, bruxism is simply caused by lifestyle habits like excessive caffeine intake or smoking. If this is the case, reduce the amount of caffeine you have and quit smoking!
Stress or anxiety management. If your bruxism is due to stress, learning how to manage your stress and anxiety can help prevent bruxism. Mindfulness and relaxation techniques such as meditation can help, as can regular light exercise, breathing exercises, talking with a licensed therapist or counselor, or medication to alleviate anxiety disorders.
Botox injections into the masseter muscle (the large muscle that moves the jaw) can help people with severe bruxism who do not respond to other types of treatment. It works by weakening and relaxing the muscle enough so that the jaw can no longer forcefully grind or clench, which in turn significantly reduces the amount of wear and tear on teeth.
Dental restorations. If excessive tooth wear due to bruxism has caused extreme sensitivity or the inability to chew properly, your dentist may recommend a dental restoration to restore the strength and functionality of your teeth, such as dental bonding, veneers or crowns.
Treating underlying health conditions. Bruxism can sometimes be caused by a different medical or health issue, such as a sleep disorder (like sleep apnea), side effects of certain medications, or conditions like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). In these cases, addressing the underlying condition may improve bruxism.