Bruxism, or grinding your teeth… What causes it? How does it affect your dental health? What can be done about it? Let’s take a look:
The cause of bruxism is not always entirely clear, but in most cases bruxism is believed to be an unconscious reaction to stress or anxiety. Common, everyday life stress factors are thought to be the main cause for most people. Certain dental problems like malocclusion and some medications can also cause bruxism.
Bruxism can be very detrimental to your teeth. The force exerted by the jaw is more than typically required to chew food yet the contact is teeth on teeth. This can wear away enamel, crack and break teeth, bruise the roots of teeth and cause all kinds of havoc that can result in tooth loss and/or expensive restorations. Bruxism can also cause cosmetic issues and lead to TMJ disorders and headaches.
Treating bruxism is usually as simple as wearing a bite guard as needed. The majority or sufferers only clench and grind at night, but some people also wear theirs during the day if they find the stresses of life are unconsciously taken out on their teeth all day long. A bite guard cushions and protects the teeth from grinding against each other and distributes the force to minimize the impact. Boil-and-bite/over-the-counter bite guards are affordable and easily obtainable, but typically wear out in a few months. Pricier custom-made ones can last years. Rarely, certain patients with bruxism can benefit from muscle relaxers or other oral or injectable medications. Sometimes some patients can be helped by orthodontia if there are bite issues that contribute to bruxism. Healthy lifestyle and relaxation techniques can help reduce stress factors that lead to bruxism. Bite guards are generally the most beneficial in most cases.
Whatever the cause of bruxism, it can be extremely hard on your teeth and is worth the investment to treat it. Dr. Vancil is very familiar with the symptoms of bruxism and constantly strives to help raise patient awareness of any signs or effects of grinding as well as recommend a course of action. Patients are also encouraged to contact us for more information if desired. The entire Mall of Georgia Dentistry staff is aware of how treating bruxism can help our patients maintain the healthiest and happiest smile!