Bruxism: when teeth grind

After several hours of sleep, you wake up and instead of feeling you have recharged batteries, your jaw, head, ears or even your neck are in pain. Many may be the reasons for feeling this way and maybe we are facing bruxism, a mandibular dysfunction that consists of clenching or grinding teeth unconsciously. Even if bruxism is not considered as a dangerous disorder, it is convenient to be aware of it because it can cause permanent injury. And who can determine if we are facing a case of bruxism? Our dentist.

Bruxismo y estres

Among the effects that can lead to bruxism, and depending on the intensity, the following ones can be highlighted:

  • Pain in the jaw, head, ears and / or neck.
  • Sensitivity to cold, hot and / or sweet foods.
  • Worn / fractured teeth.
  • Receding gums.
  • Jaw dysfunction (hear a “click” every time it is closed and opened, discomfort in opening and closing, disengagement, etc.).

Causes

There are several factors that have influence on the onset of this problem such as:  teeth alignment, bedtime habits or patient’s eating. However, there is a common and frequent factor in cases of bruxism and that is none other than stress. Anxiety and tension lead to bruxism, even if many people with stress and who make their teeth grind, do not end up having any injuries.

Bruxismo y postura

Treatments

The treatments applied for this pathology are oriented to the reduction of the pain, the prevention or the reduction of the wear of the dental pieces and the permanent damages in the jaw and to reduce the frequency and / or intensity of teeth grinding.

Regarding the treatments or solutions that your dentist can propose, we highlight the dental splint. This splint is usually to be use during the night, it is custom-made by a dental specialist made and it is placed on the upper teeth (sometimes on the lower teeth). It is essential to clarify that the dental splint does not solve bruxism, but relieves its consequences. Other options may be:

  • Massage the area
  • Apply ice or wet heat
  • Avoid chewing gum, hard and sweet foods
  • Drink a lot of water

Sometimes, when there is a jaw dysfunction (teeth do not match, for example), it should be corrected with an orthodontic treatment. When the jaw joints are very affected and in very extreme cases, there is the need of surgery.

On the other hand, it is important to know which are the reasons behind the pathology in order to find the right treatment. In other words, in case stress is the reason to suffer form bruxism, you may need help from other specialists together with your dentist’s advice.

In any case, if you detect your roommate or yourself might suffer from bruxism, do not hesitate to contact us.

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