Ask a General Dentist – What Is Bruxism?

Bruxism Stuart, FL

Bruxism may be a new term for you, but you are probably familiar with what it entails. Another common name for it is teeth grinding, which many people struggle with. For some, this is an annoying habit. However, if you grind your teeth, the implications could be more significant. This issue can lead to more severe problems with your oral health. The good news is that your dentist can treat it and help you avoid the consequences it can bring.

Digging deeper into bruxism

This condition is characteristic of people who clench their teeth. It also happens when there is rubbing of upper and lower teeth together. Usually, teeth grinding is a nighttime habit while the person is asleep, but other people do it while awake. Many individuals are not aware that they are doing this, but it is a bed partner who informs them. Some teeth grinders do so occasionally, while others do it frequently or almost constantly.

Why people grind teeth

For many, bruxism is a nervous habit. Often, people who struggle with it also have fingernail-biting habits or tend to chew on pens or other objects. For other individuals, it occurs due to stress or anxiety. It can also be a symptom of sleep apnea or other sleep disorders. Teeth grinding can even be a side effect of some medications.

Signs of teeth grinding

If a person does not have a bed partner, there are other ways of knowing about nighttime bruxism. Some of the most obvious include tooth damage. Teeth grinding can make a tooth appear flat or worn. It can even cause chipping or fracturing. A person who does this may have increased tooth sensitivity or jaw pain. It can also cause headaches or fatigue.

The effects on a person’s oral health

Over time, bruxism can have a severe impact on a person’s wellness. It can cause significant damage to teeth or crowns, requiring restorative work. Teeth grinding can damage the jaw and result in TMJ disorders. Tension headaches are also common for people who struggle with teeth grinding.

Treatment and prevention

Fortunately, the dentist can help patients who grind their teeth. One of the first things the dentist may try is fitting the person with a mouthguard. This will fit snugly over the teeth, keeping the person from clenching or rubbing the teeth together. The patient will wear this at night or even while awake if the problem is severe and frequent.

Other treatments include reshaping the teeth and changing the bite surface. This can help if the teeth have become worn. When the bruxism is a result of anxiety or mental health issues, counseling might be the next step. The dentist will evaluate each patient’s needs.

Put an end to your teeth-grinding habit

Bruxism may be keeping your partner up at night, but there are other problems. If you do not treat this issue, you could experience serious health complications. Talk to your dentist today about overcoming this habit. You can avoid the trouble that comes from this condition.

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