Treat the Trouble and Torment of Teeth Grinding

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Have the habits of teeth grinding and jaw clenching become persistent problems? Then, you may be experiencing bruxism. Learn more about teeth grinding, including its reasons and its remedies.

11 Common Causes of Bruxism

Bruxism affects both children and adults, but it is seen most frequently in children and its likelihood decreases with age. Teeth grinding can happen during the day or at night, and often occurs without the sufferer even realizing it. Minor teeth clenching causes no harm, but severe cases can cause significant distress and discomfort. The exact cause of teeth grinding is not known, but it is typically attributed to one or more of these factors:

  1. Crooked teeth
  2. Missing teeth
  3. Jaw problems
  4. Anxiety
  5. Stress
  6. Anger
  7. Sleep apnea
  8. Alcohol
  9. Caffeine
  10. Smoking
  11. Certain types of medication

Detecting the Effects of Bruxism

A dentist can easily detect the effects of teeth grinding with a dental examination because it typically causes visible erosion of the teeth. However, the impact of teeth clenching is often felt rather than seen, causing severe facial soreness, jaw pain, jaw joint damage, headaches, and earaches. These signs tend to appear in both daytime and sleep conditions, but people suffering from sleep bruxism frequently wake up with unexplained headaches and tooth sensitivity.

Treatment Options for Bruxism

Teeth grinding that occurs during the day is generally treated with behavior modification, awareness reminders, and sometimes short-term splint therapy. Complicated cases may require psychological counseling or medication for stress and anxiety. Treatment for sleep bruxism often includes wearing a mouth guard at night to prevent teeth grinding, as well as medications such as antidepressants and muscle relaxants. In time, these treatments should provide relief from the burden of bruxism.

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