Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is a common condition that can lead to various dental health issues if left untreated. It commonly occurs during sleep but can also happen during the day. Understanding the causes and exploring effective treatment options is crucial in managing this condition. Here’s what you need to know about effectively addressing teeth grinding.
Understanding Teeth Grinding
Before looking at treatment options, it's important to understand what teeth grinding is and why it occurs. Bruxism can be caused by stress, anxiety, abnormal bite, or sleep disorders. Chronic teeth grinding can result in tooth damage, headaches, and jaw disorders.
Causes and Symptoms
- Stress and Anxiety: Psychological factors are significant contributors to bruxism. Increased stress or anxiety can lead to nighttime teeth grinding.
- Abnormal Bite or Missing Teeth: Dental issues such as an abnormal bite, crooked, or missing teeth can also contribute to bruxism.
- Sleep Disorders: Those with certain sleep disorders like sleep apnea are more prone to teeth grinding.
Common symptoms include loud teeth grinding or clenching, worn tooth enamel, increased tooth sensitivity, and sore jaw and facial muscles.
Sleep bruxism tends to occur in families. If you have bruxism, other members of your family may also have bruxism or a history of it. It is common in young children, but it often goes away by adulthood.
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Bruxism Treatment Options:
Mouth Guards: Custom-fitted mouth guards from your dentist can protect your teeth during sleep. Mouldable mouth guards are also available which cost significantly less.
Dental Correction: In cases where dental issues cause bruxism, corrective dental treatments might be recommended.
Behavioural and Physical Therapies
Stress Management: Techniques like meditation, counselling, and exercise can reduce stress and, consequently, teeth grinding.
Physical Therapy: Exercises to relax jaw muscles can be helpful. Consult with a physical therapist for specialised exercises.
In some cases, medications like muscle relaxants may be prescribed to alleviate symptoms. However, these are generally considered short-term solutions.
Lifestyle and Home Remedies
Reduce Caffeine and Alcohol: These substances can intensify grinding, so reducing consumption can be beneficial.
Conscious Awareness: Being aware of clenching and consciously relaxing the jaw during the day can help.
Apply Warmth: Applying a warm washcloth to the jaw area can relax muscles.
When to See a Dentist
If you experience persistent pain or suspect that you are grinding your teeth, it's essential to visit a dentist. Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent further dental damage.
Teeth grinding is a manageable condition with the right approach. Whether through dental interventions, behavioural therapies, or lifestyle changes, you can find relief from bruxism.
Remember, the key is to address the underlying causes while protecting your teeth and jaw from further damage.
Read our blog article for more in-depth information on teeth grinding mouth guards.
Snorblok provides an effective range of mouth guards designed for managing the effects of bruxism. The range includes both mouldable and adjustable mouth guards and in sizes to suit both adults and children.