You may not have heard of Bruxism – but you’ve probably experienced it. The term refers to the phenomenon of grinding the teeth and clenching the jaw – and often, we are unaware that it is happening. Chronic teeth grinding affects up to 20% of the population – with numbers on the rise due to increased levels of stress and the demands of modern lifestyles.
Why do we grind our teeth?
The exact cause of Bruxism is not always known – but it commonly affects people who are suffering from anxiety and stress. This is being attributed to rising cases of Bruxism, since modern lifestyles are often more demanding, busy and stress-inducing. A lesser known but just as prevalent cause is abnormal bite, and missing or crooked teeth. This is where innovative dental treatments come in, which can help to relieve not only the symptoms of Bruxism, but over time eliminate the issue altogether.
Why is Bruxism a problem?
Bruxism may seem harmless – and occasional teeth grinding is perfectly natural – but in the long-term it can have harmful and lasting effects. Consistent grinding of the teeth can wear down precious enamel and lead to loose or crooked teeth. In serious cases patients require crowns, implants, root canals, bridges or even dentures to repair the damage. Long-term, chronic Bruxism can even change the shape of your face, cause damage to your jaw and result in hearing loss. If you suspect you are grinding your teeth regularly or have symptoms of Bruxism, it’s crucial to speak with your dentist and ask them about preventative strategies and treatments.
How do I know if I am grinding my teeth?
One key problem associated with Bruxism is that many people aren’t aware that they are doing it. It often occurs at night during sleep, meaning for many people it’s only possible to know when symptoms occur. Side effects include:
- Sore or aching jaw, most commonly in the morning upon waking
- Constant headaches (usually caused by tension in the jaw area)
- Stiffness in the neck and jaw
- Disrupted sleep
- Worn-down teeth – often resulting in heightened sensitivity
- The noise of grinding – sometimes a partner or close family member can tell when you are grinding your teeth
If you are unsure, it’s best to check with your dental professional. They will be able to check for abnormalities in your teeth and gums, and jaw tenderness, to diagnose Bruxism properly.
How can I stop grinding my teeth?
If you grind your teeth or suspect that Bruxism is an issue for you, don’t worry. There are a variety of treatment options available, all of which are minimally invasive, pain free and highly effective. The key is identifying the possible cause and selecting a treatment that tackles the root of the issue. Often a blend of techniques work well together – some to be administered at home by patients, some in-office managed by professionals. The first (and most important?) step is speaking to your dentist at The Eram Clinic to discuss the issue. Treatment options include:
- Relaxation: If stress is a factor in your teeth grinding using proven relaxation techniques can help. Notice when you are clenching your jaw during the day, and practice relaxing it, lowering your tongue from the roof of your mouth, massaging your jawline to release tension. Any practice such as meditation, yoga or mindfulness that activates the parasympathetic nervous system can be beneficial.
- Avoiding alcohol: Alcohol can exacerbate stress and anxiety leading to more frequent Bruxism especially after drinking.
- Wearing a night guard: One of our most effective defences against persistent Bruxism is a fitted night guard, specially made by our expert dental team to protect your teeth. It won’t stop the grinding, but it will prevent damage to your teeth as a result
- Corrective dental work: In cases where abnormal bite or crooked, misaligned teeth are the reason behind teeth grinding, we can put together a course of corrective treatment to eliminate those root causes. The exact course of treatment will be decided by your dentist based on your specific situation and requirements.
In most cases we tend to recommend a multi-faceted approach comprised of a fitted Night Guard in conjunction with several other stress-busting techniques. Our specialist Bruxism clinic enables us to assess your individual needs before putting together a tailored treatment plan to suit your concerns and lifestyle.
Visit our Bruxism page to learn more about our extensive range of dedicated Bruxism treatments or speak to our dentists to discuss your personal requirements. ＋41 44 222 21 11 | firstname.lastname@example.org.