Overcoming Bruxism

by on June 12, 2013 in General Dentistry
Overcoming Bruxism

Everyone does it once in a while, but for some it is a habit that cannot be overcome. However, there is a solution for teeth grinding, a problem known by dentists as bruxism.

Why is grinding your teeth a problem?

Some teeth grinding is expected at times, but when you grind your teeth excessively, it damages them. This can lead to painful and extensive problems that require dental fillings, dental crowns, root canals, and even dental implants. If bruxism goes unresolved for too long, you may feel pain in your jaws, develop TMJ, endure hearing loss, or experience a change in your facial appearance. 

You are much better off eliminating bruxism before such problems occur. Feel free to ask your dentist in Cambridge or one of the professionals in our Cambridge dental office for personal assistance regarding teeth grinding.

What causes teeth grinding?

Teeth grinding occurs during sleep most often, and the victims are not normally aware that they do it. It can be caused by stress, anxiety, or due to a misaligned bite or crooked teeth. 

How do I know if I grind my teeth?

At Fresh Pond Dental, this is a question many of our patients ask. The answer is fairly simple. If you experience a dull headache or sore jaw consistently when you wake, these are clear indications of bruxism. Sometimes loved ones are more aware of the unconscious habit and may inform you. 

If you think you may be suffering from bruxism, pay a visit to your dentist. He or she can assess your teeth for evidence of grinding, including jaw tenderness and tooth abnormalities. 

What can be done to avoid teeth grinding?

There are many ways to reduce the tendency to grind your teeth, or avoid it altogether. We often tell patients to stay away from caffeine and alcohol late at night, keep pen caps and pencils away from their mouths, and to avoid chewing gum habitually. These habits tend to reinforce the subconscious desire to grind your teeth. 

If you grind during the day, train yourself not to clench by positioning the tip of your tongue between your front teeth. This will relax your jaw muscles.

We offer custom-fitted night guards that can be used for patients with bruxism. This will prevent your teeth from grinding against one another as you sleep. It’s best to use custom night guards because generic ones can be too bulky and uncomfortable. 

In instances where anxiety is the cause, see your doctor or dentist about ways to reduce stress. They may recommend more exercise, physical therapy, counseling, or even muscle relaxants. If you live in the Cambridge area and would like to speak with a professional,  is a specialist in restorative dentistry and ways to prevent the problems she encounters daily at Fresh Pond Dental. 

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