Bruxism, or teeth grinding, is a common practice for millions of Americans both young and old. Many children will grind their teeth while sleeping at some point, and most outgrow the practice after a while. Teeth grinding in adults can be more serious and have more consequences. Some people grind their teeth only when under extreme stress. When the stress relents, the grinding stops. Others have developed the habit of grinding their teeth, and it could be causing dental problems as well as pain or discomfort in the jaw and surrounding areas.
Chronic bruxism can be treated with a nightguard. This oral appliance is much like an athlete’s mouth guard. It fits in the mouth and over the teeth. In the case of the nightguard, it prevents you from grinding your teeth. It is custom-made and prevents the upper and lower teeth from touching. It eliminates damage to the teeth and eases the stress on the teeth and jaw muscles caused by bruxism.
Symptoms of Bruxism
Over eight percent of the population grind their teeth during sleep. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms you may be one of them:
- Disrupted sleep
- Your partner complains about you making noises with your teeth
- Your tooth enamel is worn down
- You have sensitivity in your teeth
- You experience a dull headache in your temples
- You have pain or discomfort in your face, jaw, neck or shoulder
- Your jaw muscles feel tight or fatigued
- Some of your teeth are fractured, loose or flattened
- Ear pain with no sign of ear problems
- You have damage on the inside of your cheek
- Your jaw locks or has trouble opening or closing completely
About a third of all parents report teeth grinding in their children, but most kids outgrow the practice. Dentures can mask the problem in older adults, and some people have this problem throughout life.
If you are suffering from bruxism, contact Rivers + West Family Dentistry for an exam and treatment. Save your teeth from further damage, and get tips on how to manage the stress that leads to grinding. Call us today to schedule your appointment.