Bruxism is a medical condition in which a person clenches their jaw or grinds their teeth while sleeping. This condition can cause headaches, earaches, and damage to the teeth, such as broken fillings, chipped enamel, and tooth loss. If left untreated, bruxism can lead to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ). Visit Dental Specialists & Implant Center at The Woodlands for the best dental care tailored to your unique needs.
The Signs and Symptoms of Bruxism
- Teeth that are flattened, chipped, cracked, or worn down on the edges
- A dull headache that gets worse in the morning or throughout the day
- Pain in the neck and shoulders due to tension built up in your jaw muscles
- Tenderness or soreness in your jaw when you bite down
- Loosening of one or more of your dental fillings due to the extra force exerted on them
- Teeth-grinding noises while asleep
How Is Bruxism Diagnosed?
If you grind your teeth, your dentist may diagnose this condition during your regular checkup. You may sometimes learn that you have bruxism after your spouse or partner complains about the noise you make when you sleep. If you suspect you are grinding your teeth during sleep, ask your partner to observe you for signs of clenching and teeth grinding. If you notice these symptoms and suspect you may be grinding your teeth at night, schedule an appointment with your doctor for an evaluation. Your doctor may consult a sleep specialist if your symptoms are severe enough to interfere with your quality of life.
How Is Bruxism Treated?
Often, mouth guards or splints are used to treat bruxism. A mouth guard may be considered an “orthodontic retainer” that covers just your top teeth to protect your tooth enamel from wear and tear while you sleep. Mouth guards are usually made of a particular type of plastic that is strong and durable to withstand regular night use. If you tend to grind your teeth during the day, your dentist may provide you with a simple acrylic mouth guard to wear during the day only.
Other treatment options for persistent bruxism include modifying behavior therapies and medications such as muscle relaxants to help reduce tension in the jaw joints and facial muscles. If a sleep disorder like sleep apnea causes your bruxism, you may be referred to a sleep specialist for treatment. The type and length of treatment you need will depend on the underlying cause of your bruxism and whether any other contributing health issues need to be addressed.
Get in touch with Dentist in The Woodlands, TX at Dental Specialists & Implant Center at The Woodlands at 3117 College Park Dr #230, The Woodlands, TX, or call (936) 231-8937 to schedule an appointment.