Bruxism, otherwise known as teeth grinding or clenching, is a common problem for both kids and adults. If you have this condition, you may clench while asleep or when you’re awake.
Bruxism may be caused by stress, anxiety, poor sleep, or misaligned teeth. It could be an indication you have bruxism if you notice, or are told, you grind your teeth during the day or night. Other signs include headaches and tooth and jaw pain.
Mild cases of bruxism may not warrant treatment. However severe conditions require immediate dental care.
Grinding puts extreme pressure on your teeth which can crack, loosen, or break them. It can also introduce other conditions like TMD (temporomandibular joint disorder).
At the dental office, we check for signs of bruxism.
Your dentist may recommend wearing a customized mouthguard or mouth splint at night to protect your teeth. They work to equally distribute pressure across your jaw. They also keep your jaw joint and face muscles relaxed.
A night guard serves as a barrier between your upper and lower teeth to minimize wear on your enamel. A mouth splint serves a similar purpose but consists of a harder plastic.
Your dentist will custom fit your night guard to ensure proper function and comfort.
Bruxism Risk Factors
- Age. Bruxism is common among kids but may go away eventually.
- Stress. Anger, frustration, and anxiety are all linked to bruxism.
- Smoking and drinking alcohol. Tobacco, caffeine, and alcohol may also increase the risk of bruxism.
- Personality. Hyperactivity or aggressiveness can also be potential risk factors.
Diagnosing Teeth Grinding
Many people are unaware they’re clenching their teeth as it often happens during sleep. If you wake up and feel a constant headache, it may be a sign you’re experiencing bruxism. A loved one may also inform you if you’re grinding at night. If you notice symptoms, let your dentist know.
Teeth grinding can also affect children. It may go away on its own once your child turns 10 or the condition may develop further. How the teeth align once the permanent teeth comes in can impact the condition.
There is no known scientific explanation for this condition although it has been linked to allergies, caffeine intake, and jawbone alignment, among many others. Regardless of the cause or risk factor, using a custom-made night guard by your Mississauga dentist can help prevent damages to your teeth and mouth.
If you would like to learn more about night guards and splints, please get in touch with our team at Southdown Dental. We’re here to help.