Is work or school stressing you out? You may be taking it out on your teeth through a condition called bruxism. Bruxism is characterized by the grinding of the teeth and is typically accompanied by the clenching of the jaw. Researchers have classified bruxism as a habitual behaviour as well as a sleep disorder. Untreated bruxism can lead to other health problems, damage to the teeth and gums, and even temporal mandibular joint disorder.
What causes Bruxism?
Bruxism can have numerous causes, such as stress, bite problems, medical conditions, or certain medications.
What are Signs of Bruxism?
Most people with bruxism are not always aware of the condition, and only approximately 5% develop symptoms (such as jaw pain and headaches) that require treatment. In many cases, a sleeping partner or parent will notice the bruxism before the person experiencing the problem is even aware of it. The noise resulting from bruxism can be quite load.
Bruxism can result in abnormal wear patterns on the top surfaces of the teeth, unusual sensitive teeth, notching of the teeth at the gum lines, as well as severe damage of the teeth, including fractures.
What are the Symptoms of Bruxism?
The symptoms of bruxism vary and can include anxiety, stress, tension, ear aches, eating disorders, headaches, insomnia and a sore or painful jaw. If left untreated, bruxism eventually shortens or blunts the teeth being ground and can lead to facial muscle pain and TMJ Disorder. In severe chronic cases, it can lead to arthritis of the temporal mandibular joints.
How is Bruxism Diagnosed?
The patient often becomes aware of the condition during a routine dental examination. Your dentist will be able to recognize the signs of bruxism during a dental exam.
How is Bruxism Treated?
There is not always a definite cure for bruxism, but the signs and symptoms can be reduced or eliminated through dental treatment. Treatment can include mouth guards, bite adjustments and repair of damaged teeth.