What is ‘Teeth Grinding’?

What is ‘Teeth Grinding’?

Teeth Grinding

Why Are My Teeth Getting Shorter?

 

Symptoms of teeth gnashing can include: chipped teeth, worn enamel, increased tooth sensitivity, tightening of jaw muscles, a locked jaw, general soreness in the lower mandible, temporomandibular disorders, earaches, and as mentioned beforehand, daily headaches. Although the causes of bruxism are rather undetermined, doctors contend that both awake and sleep bruxism can result from a combination of physical, genetic, and psychological factors, including yet not limited to stress, anxiety, intense emotions, medications or substance abuse (drugs, alcohol, tobacco, even caffeine), family history of bruxism, age, or disorders associated with mental health or sleep (e.g. epilepsy, ADHD, sleep apnea, dementia, etc.).

 

What Can My Dentist Do?

 

The most immediate solution to teeth grinding is a mouth guard. Even out the pressure across a patient’s jaw and create a barrier between the teeth, thereby reducing the noise of teeth-chattering and ability to effectively grind your teeth. Whereby mouth guards are made from rubber or plastic, mouth splints are made of a harder plastic material and are worn directly on the teeth, either on one’s top or bottom teeth. Mouth guards create a barrier between top and bottom whereas the splint keeps the jaw more relaxed and simply sustains the damage from grinding/clenching — which is simply not possible with mouth guards.

 

Example of Bruxism

Solutions to Your Bruxism

Based on the patient’s specific issues, the physician may address the bruxism via medication such as muscle relaxers, procedures such as Botox to paralyze the jaw muscles to avoid grinding, or behavioral therapy/relaxation training/stress management! For instance, biofeedback is a therapy, technique, and form of alternative medicine that allows patients to become aware of their physiological functions and change the way they respond to how their bodies inertly function. During a biofeedback session, patients’ bodily functions will be monitored and measured — specifically muscle activity in the mouth and jaw. Then, based on feedback from the instruments and sensors, their doctor will suggest strategies so as to prompt change in their issue or disorder. Although there is not much research on the efficacy of biofeedback in treating this issue, some evidence demonstrates that electrical stimulation improved symptoms of bruxism after a short period of time!

 

In Essence…

As you can tell, bruxism isn’t strictly a medical problem, it can develop as a reaction to stress or anxiety and completely reduce an individual, as such, it is said that a patient’s bruxism is unique to their condition. Recall that while bruxism is common amongst adults (affecting approximately 43% of individuals within their lifetime), it doesn’t mean that it should be considered a normal habit to simply gloss over! Address the root of your habit and visit a dentist, stress counselor, or therapist should you feel that the issue impacts your daily life and the integrity of your teeth!

 

References

  1. “Teeth Grinding: Causes, Treatments and Consequences.” Cedars Sinai, January 6, 2020. https://www.cedars-sinai.org/blog/teeth-grinding.html.
  2. “Teeth Grinding (Bruxism).” NHS. Accessed August 18, 2022. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/teeth-grinding/.
  3. Mayo Clinic Staff. “Bruxism (Teeth Grinding).” Mayo Clinic, August 10, 2017. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bruxism/symptoms-causes/syc-20356095#:~:text=Overview,a%20sleep%2Drelated%20movement%20disorder.
  4. N/A, “Teeth Grinding: Causes, Treatments and Consequences.”
  5. Mayo Clinic Staff, “Bruxism (Teeth Grinding).”
  6. Lewsley, Joanne. “What Is Bruxism or Teeth Grinding?” Edited by Christine Frank. MedicalNewsToday. Accessed August 18, 2022. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/190180.
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