Will a Mouth Guard Help with Teeth Grinding?
Teeth grinding, is also known as bruxism. As the name suggests, the condition is characterized by grinding, gnashing and clenching of the teeth. While grinding and clenching of teeth occasionally happens to most people, it does not cause any harm. It is only if you do it on a regular basis that you will start to develop complications and damage to your teeth. And THE most challenging part about teeth grinding is that you are not even aware you are doing it, until the consequences start to become obvious.
Causes of Teeth Grinding
There are two categories of people with bruxism. Those that unconsciously grind and clench teeth while awake and those that do it in their sleep. It is not absolutely clear what causes the it, but doctors think that it is triggered by a combination of physical, psychological and genetic factors. For bruxism that happens when awake, the trigger could be emotions such as anxiety, stress, anger or frustration. It could also be a coping mechanism for when in a state of deep concentration or intense anxiety or fright. Sleep bruxism can also be triggered by stress and anxiety. There is also indication that it could be genetic or due to change in sleep patterns. Night time grinding is also connected to sleep disorders like sleep apnea and lifestyle habits like smoking, alcohol consumption and intake of caffeine.
The bottom line is that there is no specific cause for teeth grinding. It seems to be triggered by a combination of factors. It is not clear why it is present in some individuals and lacking in others. The diagnosis is usually made during your routine dental visits. in most cases, an evaluation of your teeth and a look out for the symptoms associated with bruxism are enough to determine if you have the condition or not.
Signs and Symptoms Associated with Bruxism
To establish if you are suffering from teeth grinding, look out for the following signs:
- Obvious grinding or clenching of teeth. This can be confirmed by a partner or friend, especially if it happens at night.
- Flattened, fractured or loosened teeth
- Wearing of the tooth enamel to the point of exposing the inner layers of the tooth.
- Tooth pain and sensitivity. A visit to the dentist can help determine if the cause is bruxism or if you have a different oral problem.
- Damage and cuts in the inside of your cheeks
- Tightness in the jaw or you have a jaw that will not open or close completely
- Pain and soreness in the jaw, neck and face
- Experiencing a pain similar to an earache but it has been confirmed that the problem is not your ears
- A dull headache that starts in the temples
- Sleep disruption
If you notice any of the symptoms, consult with your dentist so that a proper diagnosis can be made.
Teeth grinding does not always require intervention. However, in severe cases where it is impacting your oral and overall health, there are a number of approaches that can be used to control it.
1.The Dental Approach
Your dentist will suggest a number of options to protect and improve your teeth from the effects of grinding. These solutions usually do not address the underlying cause of grinding but only seek to minimize the effects. They include the use of splints and mouthguards. New Tampa Smiles, offers a variety of mouthguards for TMJ and jaw pain disorders as well as night guards for the management of sleep conditions. In severe cases, dental corrections need to be done first, before you can use mouth and night guards. This may include reshaping your teeth and use of crowns for sensitive and worn out teeth.
This focuses on the triggering behavior and ways that it can be suppressed. For instance, you may be put in a stress and anxiety management programs to learn alternative ways of coping with such emotions. There are also behavior management programs where you learn how to properly position your mouth and jaw to manage the habit.
3.Use of Medications
Drugs are not usually effective in treating bruxism but they may help you cope with some of the associated side-effects. Examples of medications that may be used include muscle relaxants, Botox injections and medications for stress or anxiety.
If the cause of bruxism is associated with other medical conditions like sleep apnea, then treating that particular condition may offer relief. Some people also use home remedies like practicing good sleep habits and meditation to ease stress and anxiety.