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Posted by on Aug 28, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

Grinding your teeth

Bruxism.  It’s the technical term for teeth grinding, gnashing of teeth, or clenching of teeth.  If you have this condition you might not even know you are doing these things.  It can occur during the day or, most often, at night.  Most dentists don’t know what causes Bruxism, but one of the major causes is thought to be stress.  Grinding of teeth can also be a sign of suppressed anger or hyperactivity.  Perhaps your jaws and teeth not properly aligned or there’s an underlying disease such as Parkinson’s.

If you grind your teeth, the symptoms might be so mild that you don’t even notice them.  But if the symptoms are severe you can experience jaw pain, chronic facial pain, headaches, and worn down teeth.  Teeth can also become fractured from the grinding and clenching.  The pain can be debilitating.  You should see your Dr. Matthews if your teeth are fractured or sensitive.  Or if you have pain in your face or ear.  If a family member tells you that you make grinding noises in the night, make an appointment to get it checked out.

There are many factors that increase your risk of Bruxism.  Age is a factor.  Most children who have Bruxism outgrow it by adolescence.  Stress and aggression can lead to Bruxism.  Smoking tobacco, drinking caffeine, and taking certain drugs increases your risk of Bruxism.

Dr. Matthews can determine if you have Bruxism during an exam.  The pattern of wear on your teeth or fractured teeth is a good indicator of the condition.  Tell him if you have any of the other symptoms of the condition.  Dr. Matthews might recommend seeing a sleep therapist to monitor you while you sleep and determine the frequency and severity of your tooth grinding.

Bruxism can be a painful condition and should be treated by your dentist.  Ignoring the condition will only cause further damage to your teeth and jaws.

There are several things you can do to keep this condition under control.  Learn to manage the stress in your life.  Incorporate meditation and exercise in your daily routine to alleviate built up stress.  Dental approaches to the problem might be for your dentist to recommend a mouth guard or dental splint to protect your teeth from further damage.  Splints fit over your teeth and are made of acrylic.  They can be made in the dentist’s office.  Mouth guards can be bought over the counter or custom made by your dentist to fit your mouth.  For incorrect tooth alignment, Dr. Matthews might recommend braces to put the teeth back in alignment or use crowns or overlays to adjust the chewing surfaces of the teeth.

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