Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)
Bruxism (ˈbrək-ˌsi-zəm) is the medical term for the unconscious habit of clenching and grinding of one’s teeth, also referred to as “teeth grinding”. Bruxism is surprisingly common, with estimates from 8-15 percent of the general population that suffer from teeth grinding. That’s a lot of people. Despite the widespread nature of this condition, scientists know surprisingly little about what causes it. Theories abound, and studies have linked Bruxism to a wide variety of human habits, from smoking to sleeping lying face up to plain old stress. In all probability, teeth grinding is probably triggered by a combination of these factors which will vary from one person to the next.
While many with bruxism aren’t always aware of their condition since it often occurs while they are asleep, those in the vicinity will notice a loud grinding noise. One of the most obvious signs of bruxism is excessive tooth wear, particularly attrition, which is caused by tooth-on-tooth action. Other symptoms include tooth fractures, hypersensitive teeth, periodontal inflammation, and waking up with pain or tenderness in the jaw, or a headache.
Bruxism left untreated can result in major dental concerns. Teeth grinding will eventually wear teeth down, destroy enamel and, in severe cases, even grind away the dentin below. Bruxism doesn’t just affect the teeth. It also damages soft tissues directly, such as the gums, and can cause all sorts of oral complications including gum recession, infections, and crenelated tongue.
If you suspect that you may have Bruxism, schedule an appointment with Dr. Reza Khazaie of Willow Pass Dental Care. Dr. Reza and his team will be able to determine whether grinding teeth may be responsible for any dental damage. Our office also offers BiteStrips, which can be used at home to diagnose Bruxism.
Treatment for Bruxism
While there is no known cure for the condition, there are a variety of methods available for controlling bruxism and minimizing the potential damage.
- Mouthguard: This straight-forward treatment prevents clenching and grinding by employing a custom mouthpiece. These guards are typically crafted from acrylic and designed to fit a patient’s teeth perfectly. A specific type of guard is the NTI-TSS device which functions as a bite-stop and can reduce the negative effects of Bruxism such as tension headaches. This covers the front teeth and must be fitted in our office. It helps to limit and prevent the rear molars from grinding.
- Botox: By directly injecting a precise amount of the toxin into specific muscle groups in the jaw, teeth grinding and clenching can be significantly reduced. This relaxes the jaw muscles enough to reduce grinding but not normal functions such as chewing and speaking.
- Dealing Directly With Triggers: Sometimes the best solution to controlling Bruxism is to target the prospective triggers. Alleviating these triggers, which could include stress, sleep apnea, or underlying physiological causes, can sometimes reduce or eliminate teeth grinding. Sometimes something as simple as kicking a caffeine habit (if that is determined to be a trigger) can significantly reduce teeth grinding episodes in some patients.
Once a patient’s teeth grinding is under control, our highly-trained dental professionals here at Willow Pass Dental Care can work with our patient to repair, restore, and completely redefine their smile.
Looking for a friendly and professional private dental office to call home? Look no further than Willow Pass Dental Care in Concord, CA. Schedule an appointment by calling us at 925-326-6114 or complete our Schedule an Appointment form below. We look forward to meeting you.