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Causes and Treatment of Bruxism

Dr. Degel Nov 27, 2011

The grinding, gnashing, or clenching of teeth, also known as bruxism, may cause serious problems. Prolonged and frequent teeth grinding may lead to tooth damage and other complications. The team at our Queens cosmetic dentistry practice would like to look at some of the basic concerns surrounding bruxism and its treatment.

Causes of Bruxism

The causes of bruxism are not well understood, but may include anxiety and stress. Most severe teeth grinding occurs at night, however, and is likely the result of abnormal alignment of the teeth or missing and crooked teeth. Bruxism may also be caused by complications from a disease such as Huntington’s or the side effect of certain psychiatric medications, though these causes are less common.

Children tend to grind their teeth more, though this typically stops by adolescence. If you are under increased stress or frequently use tobacco products and drink caffeinated beverages you may also have an increased chance of grinding your teeth. Our Astoria cosmetic and restorative dentistry center can meet the needs of your entire family.

Symptoms of Bruxism

Teeth grinding occurs most often during sleep, making it difficult to detect. Many people grind their teeth loud enough that their partners hear it at night. Other signs that you may be grinding your teeth include headache, sore jaw, worn and chipped teeth, increased tooth sensitivity, facial pain and earache. Signs that you have chewed or bitten the inside of your cheek or tongue may also be a sign of teeth grinding.

If you suspect that you are grinding your teeth, see your dentist, who can check your mouth and jaw for signs of bruxism.

Possible Complications from Teeth Grinding

Long term teeth grinding left untreated can damage your teeth, grinding them down to stumps or requiring replacement. Untreated bruxism can also cause hearing loss, TMJ, and affect your jaws.

Treatment Options for Teeth Grinding

There are different treatments out there for teeth grinding depending on your needs, including advanced dental therapies and cosmetic and restorative dentistry treatments. Let’s briefly cover a few.

Mouth Guard or Splints

Your dentist may fit you with a mouth guard or splints. Splints fit over the upper or lower teeth and made of hard acrylic by your dentist. A mouth guard is softer and less expensive than splints, though in some people it increases bruxism. It can be obtained from your dentist or over the counter.

Stress Reduction

Ask your doctor or dentist about reducing stress in your life with methods such as professional therapy and meditation.

Changing Behavior

There are various techniques to train yourself to stop grinding your teeth. When you notice you are grinding your teeth, put your tongue between your teeth, which relaxes the jaw. Practice proper jaw position by holding your tongue at the top of your mouth with your lips closed and teeth apart. Ask your dentist about other techniques.

Other Treatments

Avoid alcohol and caffeine, both of which tend to increase grinding. Avoid chewing gum and hard foods, as well as things that are not food like pencils and pens. Holding a warm cloth against your jaw can also help relax the muscles. Queens dental crowns or other restorative measures may be used to deal with damage to teeth as a result of grinding.

Contact Our Brooklyn Dental Practice

If you would like more information about the treatment of teeth grinding and how they can benefit you, be sure to contact our cosmetic dentistry practice serving Astoria today. We are eager to see you here in person.

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