Bruxism is very common and it’s something that both children and adults can develop. While bruxism alone is not very serious it can be indicative of something serious and can lead to long-lasting problems if it’s not addressed properly.
Bruxism Definition and Causes
Bruxism is excessive grinding of the teeth or clenching of the jaw. This can happen any time of day or night but is very commonly seen while sleeping. Some people have few to no symptoms. Others experience headaches, jaw pain, tooth pain, sensitivity of the teeth, and ear pain. It isn’t known to have a single particular cause and is instead seen as a feature of an underlying issue or medical concern. Situational anxiety, anxiety disorders, stress, sleep apnea, and abnormal alignment of the jaw are a few examples of conditions that have been known to cause bruxism.
It can last only a few consecutive days or it can go on for months at a time. Prolonged bouts of teeth grinding and jaw clenching can fracture teeth, loosen teeth, or even grind them down to stumps. If the latter occurs then crowns, root canals, bridges, and even dentures may be necessary. Chewing on things like pencils can also worsen the effects because it doesn’t discourage the jaw from unnecessary movement; if you’re experiencing bruxism you should only chew when necessary like while eating.
Children with bruxism will often grow out of teeth grinding and jaw clenching. A custom tooth guard is often used in cases of long-term teeth grinding or teeth-grinding resulting in pain. A tooth guard is best used when prescribed by a professional; guards purchased at popular retailers are often a ‘one size fits all’ which may fit unevenly, thus exacerbating the symptoms. To manage the pain from excessive jaw clenching, there are exercises people can do to ease jaw pain and lessen the unconscious behavior. It’s also advised to avoid foods that are high in caffeine or consuming too much alcohol.
To truly ‘cure’ bruxism it’s necessary to identify and adequately treat the underlying cause. In some cases, this may require medication, therapy, and stress management techniques.
If you or someone you know suspects that you have bruxism or any other oral health concern, it’s advised you see a dentist right away. Not only is ZDental the best dentist in Philadelphia, but we are also available for appointments. Give us a call or visit our website to learn more about our incredible, affordable dental healthcare services.