What Is Bruxism and How to Prevent It?

If you’ve been waking up with headaches or jaw pain, chances are you have bruxism, a condition that involves habitually grinding or clenching your teeth. That can be quite a serious matter, with devastating impacts on your oral health and quality of life. Your trusted team at Tracey Dental will work with you to get your bruxism in check so you can enjoy restful sleep once again!

Bruxism Overview

Bruxism involves chronic teeth grinding or clenching, usually during your sleep. You may be unaware of this condition, but a family member or significant other may alert you to your constant grinding. The pressure clenching and grinding exert on your teeth is up to ten times greater than your normal chewing, wreaking havoc on your oral health.

Bruxism has many causes, including the following:

  • Worry, stress, anxiety, or frustration
  • Snoring or a sleep disorder
  • Smoking or the use of tobacco products
  • Consuming caffeinated or alcoholic beverages
  • Taking certain medications, such as antidepressants
  • Different health conditions, such as Huntington’s disease or Parkinson’s disease

What Are the Symptoms of Bruxism?

According to the Bruxism Association, the most common symptoms of teeth grinding are morning headaches and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) discomfort. Patients also report sleep disruptions, sore gums, facial pain, ear pain, and stiffness of the jaw, neck, and shoulders.

How Does Bruxism Affect Your Oral Health?

Chronic teeth grinding can weaken your teeth, leaving them prone to developing a host of problems, such as tooth wear, which may result in increased sensitivity due to the diminished amount of tooth enamel. Moreover, the forces of grinding and clenching can result in chipped, fractured, or loose teeth, potentially leading to tooth loss. It can also damage your restorations, including bridgework, implants, or dental veneers.

How Can You Stop Grinding Your Teeth?

One of the leading causes of bruxism is stress. Consider relaxation methods such as listening to music, yoga, deep breathing, massages, taking walks, or taking warm baths before going to bed. If you continue struggling with stress and anxiety, you may want to seek professional help.

Many patients find that avoiding alcohol and stimulants such as caffeine before going to bed helps reduce teeth grinding. Moreover, switching medications to alternative ones may address your condition, so it may help to talk to your healthcare provider about any current prescriptions.

Bruxism Treatment Options

When you visit Tracey Dental for your twice-a-year dental exams and cleanings, we will examine your teeth for tell-tale signs of bruxism. We may recommend using a custom-fit mouthguard known as a nocturnal bite plate or night guard. Your oral appliance will fit over your tooth surfaces to protect them from grinding damage while reducing jaw muscle pain.

If your bruxism results from a sleep disorder, we may recommend a mandibular advancement device, which is a specially fitted oral appliance that helps position your bottom jaw forward during sleep. It will also help reduce snoring and manage sleep apnea, allowing you to enjoy restful, rejuvenating sleep.

In severe cases with extensive tooth wear or damage to your restorations, we may need to repair your teeth’s chewing surfaces to restore their health and function and prevent further deterioration. Protecting your teeth with dental appliances will not cure your bruxism but will help redistribute the grinding and clenching forces, protecting your teeth and alleviating any bruxism-related symptoms.

Bruxism Treatment Near Me

Visit Tracey Dental in McKinney, TX, to learn more about bruxism management and treatment for refreshing sleep and healthy smiles. Dr. Long and his team are here to support your oral health every step of the way. Call us and schedule your appointment today!

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.