Thousands of American children and adults experience bruxism issues every year, and many do not realize they have this behavior. Bruxism involves grinding and clenching of the teeth, and there are numerous reasons why this happens.
Teeth grinding occurs at any time of day or night due to anxiety or stress-related situations. Stress related to job loss, a gravely ill family member, or other painful circumstances could lead to bruxism. Extreme happiness and joy over good news or getting that needed job promotion could also increase chances for this condition.
What Causes Bruxism?
While some medical experts treat bruxism as a developed habit, it has a variety of causes. Excessively clenching and grinding one’s teeth may have been caused by a bad dental bite where the teeth do not align correctly in the mouth. Some depression medications are known to cause bruxism as a side effect in patients possibly, but it could also be a sign of an unusual disease affecting the face’s nerves and muscles.
Some diseases that might have bruxism as a symptom include:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Sleep disorders like sleep apnea
- Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Other mental health disorders
Side Effects of Bruxism
The side effects of bruxism depend on the sufferer. Severe episodes of this disorder not only cause tooth and jaw pain but may lead to damaged teeth and broken dental fillings. The outer layers of one’s tooth enamel will gradually rub away over time, which results in tooth sensitivity. Other conditions attributed to bruxism are:
- Dysfunctional jaw issues like TMJ
- Unknown facial pain
- Headaches in the morning
If you think you have bruxism issues, it’s vital that you speak with qualified dental care professional to determine how much damage has already been done. Common signs of bruxism are:
- Tight, painful jaw muscles, especially in the morning
- Ongoing facial pain
- Sore jaws and joints
- Regular jaw clenching and release
- Headaches when you wake up
- Broken teeth and fillings
- Making a grinding noise that others around you hear
- Occasional swelling of the lower jaw
Make an appointment right away with your dental provider if you experience any of these symptoms. There are a variety of treatment options available which will help alleviate these side effects.
Bruxism Treatment and Outlook
When first talking with your dentist about your teeth grinding or jaw clenching behavior, expect to review the stresses in your life and medications that you take. You will share your sleeping habits and if your partner hears you grinding at night.
During the examination, your dentist will check your jaw muscles for tenderness, signs of teeth grinding, and any missing, broken, or misaligned teeth. If found, your dentist will perform a further assessment of your mouth, looking for evidence of damaged gums. X-rays of your jaws and teeth are another possibility if you show signs of this condition.
Bruxism signs and symptoms may occur in children, as well. If you notice that your child shows grinding or clenching behaviors, speak with your family dentist. While it is typical for a child to grow out of bruxism, it’s important to make sure no permanent damage results in their teeth or jaws.
Some common causes and treatments for bruxism include:
Life stress — Stress-related bruxism may require professional psychological help. Whether you decide to work with a counselor or psychologist, they will help you determine what your significant stressors are and how to relieve them. Your dentist might give you a muscle relaxant prescription to help ease any muscle pain in your jaw.
Dental complications — If tooth alignment is the cause of your bruxism, your dentist will likely be able to correct it or refer you to an oral and maxillofacial (OMF) surgeon for the necessary procedures. It might be needed to reshape the surface of your teeth or use crowns to help correct your bite.
Medicines — Teeth grinding issues that are a side effect of certain antidepressant medications happens sometimes. If this occurs, you may need to speak with your prescribing doctor about switching medications to stop bruxism.
In addition to all of these possible causes and treatments, you may also have a custom-made night bite plate or bite splint created. Both of these aid in relieving the pressure of the facial muscles and jaws. If none of the above solutions work for you, your dentist will refer you to an OMF surgeon who possesses advanced training in bruxism surgical solutions.
Bruxism Treatments in Union City
If you have sore jaws in the morning or notice that your teeth are looking worn down or broken, call your physician or dentist right away. These symptoms of bruxism are painful and have a significant impact on your sleep and daily life. Don’t let your jaw clenching and grinding leave you with a bad night’s sleep and a headache in the morning.
Dr. Nancy Herbst of Union City Oral Surgery is available to help you get control of this behavior and discover a newer, healthier smile. Her 25 years of OMF surgery practice in the state of New Jersey has earned her recognition as one of the state’s best dentists in 2016. Our practice offers state-of-art equipment to provide you with an exceptional medical experience. Contact us today at (201) 601-9262 and learn how our outstanding care will help your teeth recover from bruxism.