It is a common thing to grind your teeth or clench your jaw; it could be due to an unintentional reaction to stress, fear, or anger. Some people may grind their teeth all day long; they are doing so due to involuntary actions. This action of repeated teeth grinding is known as bruxism.
Bruxism does not only happen when you are asleep, but you could also be awake and carrying out this action. During bruxism, your jaw and teeth are liable to be seriously damaged, and you may need to discuss with your dentist about this issue so that treatment can be recommended to reduce the damage.
Over time, bruxism can wear off your mouth, causing bacterial damages if you do not seek help as soon as possible. In this article, you will be able to learn what causes bruxism and how it can be managed.
Causes Of Bruxism
Bruxism is commonly caused by anxiety and stress. Sometimes, you can hardly be aware that you are consistently grinding your teeth because it is not an intentional action.
Bruxism may be caused by biting problems or the use of abusive substances such as too much intake of caffeine, the use of alcohol and drugs. Others may include sleep apnea and deep snoring.
Constant bruxism causes aches in the ear and serious headaches. This is because the pain in the jaw often affects the whole face.
Dental experts have researched and concluded that bruxism is inherited genetically. Many people with sleep bruxism have a family member who exhibits bruxism conditions.
Another cause of bruxism is the pattern in which you sleep, also known as micro-arousals. Teeth grinding is brought about by an increase in cardiovascular activities, which disrupts the brain during sleeping.
Generally, doctors do not really understand the actual cause of bruxism, but it may be related to age, psychological and genetic factors.
Other causes may be medical due to mental diseases and disorders such as dementia, epilepsy, sleep apnea, and night terrors. Parkinson’s disease and hyperactivity disorders can also cause bruxism.
Symptoms Of Bruxism
There are different ways you can find out if you are suffering from bruxism. The following are observable symptoms:
An unconscious habit of clenching and grinding your teeth. If you are sleeping beside anyone, your grinding can be loud enough for them to hear.
Your teeth look too worn out, and the deep layers of your tooth are exposed.
You will have tooth pain and tooth sensitivity.
Tired jaw muscles can cause ache on the whole face or a tightened jaw due to wear off in the mouth.
Soreness in the jaw, neck pain, and headache.
Internal cheek damage from unconscious chewing.
Intense pain happens in the ear area, but it is not necessarily an earache.
Chipped, flattened teeth may even get fractured.
Consequences Of Sleep Bruxism?
There are problems associated with teeth grinding. Your teeth are not indestructible, therefore grinding will not only affect your teeth but may also damage your gums. The problems you may likely encounter include the following:
Chronic tooth damage: This causes tooth erosion, which occurs when acids eat off the tooth’s enamel. When you grind your teeth, the pressure caused by downward clenching can grasp tight the teeth and cause the teeth enamel that serves as a protective source to lose its firmness. Bruxism can cause the tooth to fracture or may cause the tooth to loosen as time goes on. In some very severe cases, teeth can be ground until there is nothing left to grind.
It may cause joint disorder: Intense and grinding and clenching can damage the bones of the jaw, such as the Temporomandibular Joint, or cause its disorder. This is a condition whereby the component structure that joins the jaw and the skull are incorrectly aligned.
Damage to dental work: Bruxism may cause damage to dental work, by bringing harm to the root canals, bridges, and crown. Teeth will become very painful, sensitive, and eroded, dental implants and fillings can also be damaged.
Generally, the consequences of bruxism would depend on how severe the grinding is. Everyone suffering from sleep bruxism will face varieties of effects to the extent of long-term grinding.
Grinding at night can disturb a sleep partner too, because the sound from your unconscious grinding can be arduous, and they may find it difficult to sleep. Fortunately, there are a few tips by which bruxism could be controlled or treated.
Treatment Of Bruxism
There may be no treatment that can completely cure or stop bruxism during sleep, but there are certain ways by which they can be managed and controlled to limit the damage it may cause on the jaws and teeth. Some people may not need any form of treatment due to grinding the teeth. Some treatments of Bruxism are:
When somebody is highly stressed, it brings about bruxism whether they are fully awake or asleep. To manage this, they must reduce their exposure to things that stress them. It is not easy to manage stress, but if they relax and have good sleep hygiene, they may improve upon this condition.
Some people with serious cases will need medical experts to manage their situation. They will be given drugs that will work by changing the chemicals released by their brains to lower their muscles from getting active while sleeping.
The use of dental splints, also known as night guards, can help stand in as a barrier against the damage caused by teeth grinding.
One of the various methods of relieving bruxism is by avoiding certain food such as sticky or hard foods; this will reduce pain when moving the jaw.
If you go about grinding your teeth in your mouth or you have been getting out of bed with an uncomfortable feeling in your mouth that accompanies soreness, headaches, and face pain, then you may have bruxism. Seek medical advice and let your dentist work out a good treatment plan for you.