Bruxism – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment Options
Grinding your teeth together and clenching your jaw during sleep is a common reaction to stress and anxiety, and you may not even be aware that you’re doing it. Approximately one-third of the population unconsciously adopts the habit, which may go unnoticed until a dental exam reveals excessive wear of tooth enamel. Even the young are at risk; up to 33 percent of children may grind their teeth before their permanent set erupts. Over time, teeth grinding leads to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems, osteoarthritis, tooth decay. and other symptoms.
Everyday stress causes teeth clenching and grinding in about 70 percent of cases. Whether or not it causes noticeable symptoms depends on a variety of factors such as posture, muscle strength, diet, and the ability to relax. In some cases, the condition may be related to an abnormal bite or malocclusion; this occurs when your top and bottom teeth do not meet correctly. Rarely, teeth grinding may be a side effect of medications like antidepressants and antipsychotics. Since overly vigorous brushing and acidic foods can also cause excessive wear of tooth enamel, it may be difficult to diagnose bruxism through visual evidence alone. However, it can be revealed through electromyographic studies, which identify the muscle contractions that occur during teeth grinding motions.
Signs and symptoms of teeth grinding, which your dentist calls bruxism, include jaw pain, worn teeth, headache, insomnia, anxiety, ear pain or full sensation in ears, sensitivity to hot and cold foods, clicking or popping in jaw (TMJ syndrome), and complaints from sleeping partners about teeth grinding noises.
Custom mouth guards can prevent you from damaging your teeth at night, but the most effective way to treat a teeth grinding problem is to address the underlying stress that is causing it. Managing stress may be as simple as getting enough sleep or exercise. Practicing meditation or guided relaxation is also helpful. In severe cases, medication or cognitive behavioral therapy may be required. If your bruxism is caused by tooth or jaw misalignment, orthodontic treatment can resolve it. Your dentist will determine the best way to alleviate symptoms and protect your smile.
To get the dental care you deserve from an affordable dentist in South Philadelphia, call Gentle Dental at Oregon Avenue today at (215) 310-5817 or make an appointment.
Gentle Dental offers affordable family dentistry and gentle, compassionate dental care in South Philadelphia. With 14 affiliated practices in the Greater Philadelphia area, our offices are conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. At Gentle Dental at Oregon Avenue, we provide most dental services, from basic preventative care and general dentistry to specialized procedures and complete dental reconstruction. We accept most dental insurance plans and offer affordable financial solutions for any budget. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable dental care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping those smiles healthy, beautiful, and bright. Discover an affordable dentist who truly cares at Gentle Dental at Oregon Avenue.