Bruxism is the habitual clenching and grinding of the teeth. This typically occurs at night during sleep, meaning patients often do not realize they are doing it. If it does come to your attention, it is important that it is treated by an expert as soon as possible, as untreated bruxism can lead to serious negative effects.
Bruxism can lead to:
- Headaches (bruxism patients can experience three times as many headaches than those without the habit)
- Ear aches
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Facial myalgia (aching jaw and facial muscles)
- Lock jaw or consistent difficulty opening the mouth
- Sleep disruption of either the patient or a sleep partner
- Tightness in the shoulders
- Excess tooth mobility
- Inflamed and/or receding gums
Long term effects include tooth wear and breakage due to the repeated pressure and friction. Developing TMJ, temporomandibular joint disease, is also a common side effect. TMJ is a condition in the jaw joints that leads to many of the above symptoms, as well as others.
Seeing our Houston dentist for treatment is necessary to eliminate these risks. A mouth guard is the typical form of treatment. This is custom designed to you, and fits perfectly in place around your teeth. This prevents your teeth from contacting those opposite and causing any further damage.