A condition that occurs when a person grinds, clenches, or gnashes their teeth is known as bruxism. Should someone have this condition, they will unconsciously clench their teeth when they are awake; this is known as awake bruxism. However, some grind or clench their teeth during sleep. This is known as sleep bruxism. When someone has sleep bruxism, it is considered to be a sleep-related movement disorder.
There are certain symptoms associated with bruxism.
- Sleep disruption.
- Teeth clenching or grinding loud enough to wake a sleeping partner.
- Damage to the inside of a person’s cheek from chewing it.
- Teeth that are loose, flattened, chipped, or fractured.
- Dull headaches starting in an individual’s temples.
- Worn tooth enamel, exposing a deep layer of the tooth.
- Pain that feels like an earache, but nothing is wrong with an individual’s ear.
- Soreness or pain in the face, jaw, or neck.
- Increased tooth sensitivity or pain.
- Locked jaw, or a tight or tired jaw muscle that can’t completely open or close.
Physicians have been unable to pinpoint the exact causes of bruxism. It is believed to be the result of a combination of genetic, physical, and psychological factors.
- Sleeping bruxism could be caused by chewing activity that is sleep-related.
- Awake bruxism may be the result of emotions such as tension, anxiety, frustration, stress, and anger. It may also be a coping strategy people use when they are in periods of deep concentration.
Certain risk factors may increase a person’s chance of developing bruxism.
- Hereditary – Sleeping bruxism is found in families. When someone has this condition, it is likely their family may have a history of it.
- Stress – Individuals who experience an increase in stress or anxiety may start grinding their teeth. This is also the case when people are feeling frustration and anger.
- Medications – An uncommon side effect of certain medications is bruxism. This could involve certain antidepressants as well as some psychiatric medications.
- Substances – Individuals who drink alcohol, caffeinated beverages, smoke tobacco, or use recreational drugs could increase their risk of developing bruxism.
It is common for a dentist to check to see if a patient has any signs of bruxism during a regular dental exam. Should a person have any signs, a dentist will look to see if there are any changes in a person’s mouth or teeth during the next few visits. This will help determine if the situation is progressive.
This is designed to improve or preserve an individual’s teeth.
- Dental Corrections – Bruxism may become severe. Tooth wear could lead to an inability to chew properly or significant sensitivity. In this case, a dentist may need to change the chewing surface of a person’s teeth. They may need to use crowns to repair the damage.
- Mouth Guards and Splints – These devices can keep a person’s teeth separated. This will avoid damage experienced by grinding and clenching. They can be made of soft materials or hard acrylic and may fit on a person’s lower or upper teeth.
Anyone living in Ogden, Utah who believes they could have bruxism should contact North View Dental. Call today with questions or to schedule an appointment. These dental professionals can handle any dental issues a person could be experiencing in a comfortable and professional office.