Bruxism or teeth grinding happens when you unconsciously grind your teeth and clench your jaw. Bruxism affects individuals worldwide and both Australian adults and children suffer from this common condition daily. It can happen when you are asleep or awake but individuals don’t even realize, they clench or grind their teeth when sleeping. While occasional bruxism is harmless and natural, habitual grinding or clenching can require intervention from a dental professional to repair the damage. If you think you might be dealing with this condition, here’s a guide prepared by our team at Dentist Guide Master that will answer the top seven frequently asked questions about bruxism.
Answers To The Top 7 Common Questions About Bruxism
Practicing good oral hygiene habits at home and regular dental check-ups are essential to keeping your teeth and gums healthy. However, grinding your teeth and clenching your jaw in your sleep can cause multiple dental problems. Find out more about bruxism or teeth grinding bruxism with these commonly asked questions.
1. What Exactly Is Bruxism?
To simply put, bruxism is the act of grinding, gnashing or/and clenching your teeth. The clenching and grinding are often done subconsciously, either when awake or sleeping. Many things are thought to cause people to grind their teeth, including stress, anxiety, and sleep apnea. Most people who have this problem often do not realise it because they usually stop before waking up.
2. How Common Is This Condition?
Bruxism or teeth grinding is a common condition in dentistry. It affects about ten per cent of adults and up to fifteen per cent of children. If you are worried that you may be grinding or clenching your teeth but are not sure, then the best way to find out is to seek an accurate diagnosis from a dental professional.
3. Why Do People Grind Their Teeth?
Several things could be causing you to grind and clench your teeth from time to time. For starters, lifestyle habits such as smoking, drinking alcohol and consuming a lot of caffeine can play a major role. Some studies indicate that individuals who smoke and drink alcohol are two times more likely to grind their teeth than individuals who don’t. Grinding or clenching done during the day is often a result of anxiety and stress, though it can also be caused by an uneven or abnormal bite. The same is true for sleep bruxism, though it can also be a result of sleep disorders like sleep apnea.
4. How Is This Harmful?
As your teeth grind together, the outer protective layer of the teeth, enamel wears down exposing the underlying soft tissues. Clenching the jaw can also lead to cosmetic issues like chips, cracks, and uneven teeth surfaces. Excessive grinding puts pressure on the tooth roots and gums as well, making them inflamed, sore and more prone to tooth infections.
5. How To Know If I Am Grinding Or Clenching My Teeth?
Because it mostly occurs while you are sleeping, it can be hard to recognise teeth grinding bruxism. However, there are a few symptoms and warning signs you should keep an eye out for.
- Loose or painful teeth
- Pain while chewing
- Jaw locking
- Disrupted sleep
- Gum recession
- Facial pain or severe headaches, especially after waking up
- Sore jaw muscles
- Increased teeth sensitivity due to damaged enamel
- Teeth fractures
- TMJ, which sounds like popping or clicking in the jaw
If you have noticed any of these above-mentioned symptoms, it’s best to contact a dental professional for assistance. The professionals can review the symptoms, make a correct diagnosis, and recommend a treatment plan.
6. Is There A Non-Invasive Treatment Option For Teeth Grinding?
For many patients experiencing the problem, the good news is that treatment is often as simple as wearing a custom-made minimally-invasive mouthguard or nightguard as you sleep. The mouthguard will fit over your teeth and build a barrier, allowing your jaw to rest and preventing your teeth from touching directly. It may also help with jaw pain, and headaches and it would prevent some mouth wounds.
7. How Can Bruxism Be Prevented Or Avoided?
To prevent bruxism or teeth grinding:
- One should avoid smoking, and limit consumption of alcohol, which can worsen the condition.
- Limit your caffeine intake.
- Keep your jaw muscles relaxed to prevent pain and inflammation.
- See a dental professional twice a year. The professionals can treat various dental issues occurring from teeth grinding bruxism ASAP, so you can avoid long-term damage.
Over to You
Teeth grinding or bruxism is a common condition, but it can affect your oral health and do some serious damage to your jaws and teeth. So, if you are worried that you might have this problem but are not sure now is the time to consult the dentist.