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What is Bruxism and How Can I Treat It?

Bruxism can be one of the most annoying – and in some cases – most unbearable types of pain you can experience.

Bruxism – otherwise known as teeth grinding – is one of the most common conditions many Americans suffer from. Yet, many of them might not realize they suffer from it until they’ve experienced significant damage to their teeth and overall oral health.  

The McAllen family dentist at WhiteWing Dental would like to elaborate more on what bruxism is, what causes it, and how you can treat it.

Bruxism In a Nutshell

Bruxism is a condition in which you unconsciously grind your teeth. When done over time, bruxism can lead to severe oral complications. Some of the complications that can develop as a result of bruxism include:

  • Jaw misalignment
  • Enamel damage 
  • Headaches
  • Temporomandibular joint disorders
  • Severe pain within the facial tissues

Shockingly enough, most people who live with bruxism might not be aware that they have it because they grind their teeth unconsciously – and oftentimes it happens while they are asleep. 

Some of the most notable symptoms you can experience when dealing with bruxism include: 

  • Sensitive teeth 
  • Earaches
  • Crown or filling damage
  • Flattened, fractured, chipped or loose teeth
  • Tension within the jaw
  • Damaged tooth enamel
  • Lockjaw
  • Sleep issues

Notable Causes of Bruxism

  • Sleeping patterns and disorders.

For the most part, teeth grinding can occur both when you are awake and when you are asleep. Teeth grinding while sleeping occurs without the individual knowing that they have abnormal oral behavior, which can be very concerning.

Additionally, those who already have pre-existing sleeping disorders are much more likely to experience unconscious teeth grinding. Approximately 70% of all sleep bruxism cases have been reported to be linked to current stress and anxieties a person might be dealing with when they are awake.

  • Stress, anger, and anxieties.

Bruxism has been linked to mental and psychological issues, as well as the tense emotions a person may experience in their daily lives. This mental tension can translate to abnormal behaviors, such as jaw-clenching and teeth grinding.

Additionally, some antidepressant medications can trigger these symptoms even more.

  • Lifestyle choices.

Consuming heavy amounts of alcohol and caffeine, excessive smoking, and the use of illegal substances can not only take a physical and mental toll on your body, but they all contribute to developing bruxism over time.

  • Age.

It has been reported that about 15-33% of all children habitually grind their teeth. 

These cases usually occur after children develop their first set of teeth or when their permanent set of teeth grow in. In most cases, once the child reaches a certain age, the habit will stop.

However, it is estimated that about 13% of adults under the age of 30 will still suffer from bruxism.

Treatment Options 

  • Lifestyle changes.

Some of the most effective natural remedies to treat bruxism are destressing practices. Deep breathing, yoga, and meditation can all help contribute to reducing your chances of developing bruxism and can vastly improve your quality of life. 

Additionally, getting consistent and proper rest can improve your mental state of mind over time.

  • Reduce the consumption of certain substances.

Limiting your overall intake of things such as drinking and smoking can work wonders for your body, both physically and mentally. The more you can avoid it, the greater the likelihood that you can minimize your teeth grinding. 

  • Mouthguards and splints.

Some of the best tools that can help prevent grinding your teeth include a mouthguard or a splint. While you can buy one from your local grocery store or pharmacy, it’s better to invest in a quality product that best fits the specific structure of your teeth. Consult with your dentist about the process of purchasing a personalized mouthguard.

  • Visiting a dentist

The best way to uncover the root of your bruxism issues is to consult with your dentist and get a proper dental examination to figure out the most appropriate solution.

Our McAllen family dentists can best analyze your symptoms and are able to perform the dental work needed to fix any issues. Take comfort in knowing that our staff is doing everything we can to ensure your safety and satisfaction during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Suffering from excessive teeth grinding? The McAllen family dentist at WhiteWing Dental can help! 

Contact us today to schedule your appointment!