Bruxism is the in voluntary grinding and clenching of teeth. It is experienced by men, woman and children. It can occur during the day or night. Most people are not even aware that they are clenching or grinding their teeth.
The most common contributor of bruxism is anxiety, which can cause the involuntary clenching of teeth in order to relieve stress. In some cases it has become a bad habit that has gone on for a period of time not realized by the person. For some, bruxism is related to the misalignment of their teeth or not coming together properly. In other instances, side effects of certain medications such as Prozac (fluoxetine), Zoloft (sertraline), or Paxil (paroxetine) have been attributed to grinding and clenching the teeth.
Clenching and grinding your teeth over time can certainly cause damage to your teeth. Natural teeth can wear down, dental work can wear and fracture such as crowns, fillings, and even bonding can break. The hard protective enamel layer on the teeth can wear away exposing dentin and cause tooth sensitivity. Jaw dysfunction known as Temperomandibular Disorder (TMD) results from constant stress on the jaw, resulting in morning headaches and unexplained facial pain.
Common Symptoms of Bruxism Include:
- worn teeth
- broken fillings
- morning headaches
- facial pain
- sore-tight jaw muscles
In addition to mitigating stress of other factors that trigger bruxism, treatment may include a custom fitted mouth guard. This appliance will fit comfortably in your mouth and protect your teeth from the damaging effects of clenching and grinding.
If you experience any of these symptoms or have been told by a friend or spouse that they have heard you grinding while you sleep it's time to come in for an exam and consultation where we will examine your mouth, check your bite and possibly take an x-ray. Dr. Kantarovich will determine the proper treatment in order to provide a solution that will best serve your needs and restore you to a healthy state.