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Bruxism is a condition that affects about 40% of adults in the U.S. Dentists are often the first ones to diagnose people who grind their teeth, since it tends to occur during sleep. Many people are unaware of their bruxism until a roommate says something about it or a dentist notices that most of their teeth are worn down during a dental examination.
Dealing with bruxism
Bruxism is a disorder that is believed to be primarily caused by stress. It manifests as grinding and clenching of the jaw during sleep. It is estimated that the condition affects up to 60 million people in the U.S.
Bruxism is not a harmless condition. It can lead to severe damage to teeth, facial muscles, the jaw, or the neck. It can also disrupt a person’s sleep and cause headaches in the morning.
Doctors still have much to learn about bruxism, and how it develops is not yet fully understood. It might be a combination of genetic, psychological, or physical factors. Other factors that might make a person more likely to grind their teeth include:
- Personality type
- Family members who grind their teeth
Dentists typically detect bruxism by evaluating the patient’s teeth. People who grind their teeth often have multiple chipped or broken teeth and worn-down bite surfaces. The dentist can then follow up on their findings by talking to the patient about any headaches, muscle pain, and sleeping problems that they might have.
The dentist might also ask the patient if their partner or roommate has noticed any grinding sounds while the patient sleeps. The sounds made when grinding teeth are typically loud enough to wake up anyone who shares a room with the patient.
Treating teeth grinding
As of now, there is no guaranteed way to stop bruxism. Dentists can provide patients with customized nightguards that minimize the forces that the patient’s teeth have to deal with while they sleep. These nightguards are made from an impression of the patient’s teeth, so they fit snugly.
Regularly wearing the mouth guard keeps the damage done by the patient’s condition to a minimum while they work with a doctor to figure out the underlying cause so it can be treated. Lifestyle changes that can help treat teeth grinding include the following:
- Use relaxation techniques to reduce anxiety and stress before sleep
- Avoid caffeinated and alcoholic drinks before bed
- Take any anti-anxiety prescriptions as prescribed by a doctor
- Get physiological counseling
- Get behavioral therapy
Medication like muscle relaxants can be used to reduce teeth grinding. Botox injections can be used to treat teeth grinding that is caused by overactive muscles in the jaw. Medication that lowers feelings of anxiety or stress can also help fight bruxism.
Get the treatment you need
Not getting a teeth grinding problem addressed can lead to most of your teeth becoming broken and worn down from grinding against each other all night. A nightguard can help you avoid that. Call or visit our Coral Gables clinic to get one made for you.
Check out what others are saying about our services on Yelp: Bruxism in Coral Gables, FL.
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