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Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)
Bruxism is a condition where you grind, gnash or clench your teeth unconsciously. It’s a very common condition affecting 30 – 40 million people in the U.S. This may happen while you are awake (awake bruxism) or asleep (sleep bruxism). Sleep bruxism is considered a sleep-related movement disorder common in children.
Mild bruxism may not require treatment. However, bruxism can be frequent and severe enough to lead to more serious conditions such as jaw disorders, headaches, damaged teeth and other problems.
Symptoms Of Bruxism
Because you may be unaware of your bruxism, not until complications develop, it’s vital to know the signs and symptoms to receive the right dental care. Symptoms may include:
- Teeth grinding or clenching
- Flattened, fractured, chipped or loose teeth
- Increased tooth pain or sensitivity
- Tired, tight or locked jaw muscles
- Pain that may feel like an earache
- Damage from chewing on the inside of your cheek
- Long-lasting facial pain
Normally, bruxism doesn’t cause serious complications. But severe cases of bruxism may lead to:
- Damaged teeth
- Tension-type headaches
- Severe facial or jaw pain
- Temporomandibular joints (TMJs) disorders, located just in front of your ears, which may sound like clicking when you open and close your mouth
The best way to protect your teeth and prevent tooth wear and fracture is to wear occlusal devices such as bite guards, splints, bite plates, and more. These are specially made to protect and fit perfectly on the top or bottom of your teeth. These reduce jaw muscle pain and protect both your teeth and temporomandibular joint.
It is important to have your dentist evaluate you with a comprehensive exam and develop a treatment plan that is specialized for you. If you suspect that you may be grinding your teeth, talk to your dentist immediately.