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Introduction to Bruxism (Teeth Grinding)

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Bruxism is the grinding of teeth and clenching of the jaw. While it’s common for most people to experience mild bruxism at some point in their lives, severe cases can cause permanent damage to the jaw and teeth, with the most serious damage occurring when grinding teeth during sleep.

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Symptoms of Bruxism

It’s difficult to tell if you grind your teeth at night, and cases are usually identified as the result of a sleeping partner or parent who notices the distinctive grinding sound. A dentist will also be able to give you a clearer idea of the amount of wear to your teeth.

Symptoms include:

  • Worn down or damaged teeth
  • Abrasions on teeth
  • Sore jaw or face upon waking
  • Earaches
  • Headaches
  • Anxiety

Causes of Bruxism

Stress

Stress and bruxism are closely related. Bruxism not a reflex but a habit that is usually associated with stress and anxiety. In some cases, a stressful event may have triggered the habit, and it has continued even after the stress has passed.

Other causes include:

  • Teeth misalignment
  • MDMA and cocaine use
  • High blood alcohol levels
  • Smoking
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Disturbed sleep patterns and sleep disorders

Treatment of Bruxism

There is no cure for bruxism, although treatments are available to help reduce the damage to the teeth and help break the habit.

Mouth Protection – These include mouthguards and splits that are specially fitted by your dentist to be worn at night. These protect your mouth against the grinding that occurs during the night. These can cost from $300 – $700.

Stress Reduction – Since the root cause of Bruxism is usually stress, you should focus on identifying and removing major stressors in your life. However, this is usually easier said than done!

Muscle Relaxants – Your doctor can recommend relaxants to take before bedtime that may help with relaxing your body and reducing the severity of teeth grinding.

Reduce Stimulants – Try not to drink sugary, caffeinated drinks such as cola or coffee before bedtime.

Do you suffer from bruxism? Leave a comment below and share your experience!

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