Do You Have Bruxism?

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Bruxism, or tooth grinding, affects between eight and thirty percent of adults. It is a common and often underdiagnosed problem that can damage your teeth, gums, and jaw. Recognizing the symptoms of tooth grinding can ensure you get the prompt, effective treatment you need.

You might grind your teeth if you:

• Occasionally or regularly awaken a sleep partner with the sounds of grinding or clenching
• Have tight or tense jaw muscles
• Have an earache without an ear infection or other ear problem
• Have worn enamel
• Have flattened, chipped, or fractured teeth
• Have sensitive teeth
• Bite or chew on the insides of your cheeks
• Bite or chew on your tongue or have indentations on your tongue
• Wake with a dull headache

If you believe that you suffer from teeth grinding, you need to schedule an evaluation. Our dentist will examine your teeth to determine the extent of the damage and discover any underlying issues.

Most patients who grind their teeth respond well to night guards. A night guard is a custom designed mouth guard that slips over your teeth and prevents grinding, protecting the wearer from further dental damage. A night guard may be used alone or in conjunction with other anti-bruxism therapies. Call our office today to find out more or to schedule an appointment with our dentist in Agoura Hills.

Effects of Bruxism

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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.

What is Bruxism?

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Bruxism is a common condition that affects men and women of all ages. It can continue without noticeable symptoms and can do serious damage to your teeth. You may have it if you regularly clench or grind your teeth. Teeth grinding may occur during the day, but it also frequently happens at night while you are sleeping. Our dentist offers treatments to protect your smile against the damage of teeth grinding.

Although researchers do not yet fully understand the cause of tooth grinding, it has been linked to TMJ disorder, malocclusions, anxiety and depression. Our dentist uses custom-made night guards that fit over your teeth and cushion them. When you grind your teeth, they are exposed to incredible bite forces that can prematurely wear the enamel, crack or fracture teeth and destroy restorations. The damage can lead to more serious dental problems, including the need for root canal treatment, loose teeth and periodontal disease.

Wearing your night guard as recommended can be a good way to get control over your symptoms. For long-term relief from teeth grinding, our dentist may recommend using stress-reduction techniques such as meditation or yoga. You may also need to talk to your doctor about antidepressants or antianxiety medications to relieve any underlying problems that could be causing the grinding habit. Call us today to learn more or to schedule an evaluation with our Agoura Hills dentist.