What is Bruxism?
Teeth grinding, medically known as Bruxism, refers to unconsciously clenching or grinding teeth. Over 25 million Americans grind their teeth or clench their jaw, either while awake or during sleep, and don’t realize they are doing this.
If not resolved, this activity can lead to weakened or cracked teeth, receding gums, pain in your jaw, headaches, and disrupted sleep. Occasional Bruxism may not be harmful, but when it occurs regularly, you should consult a medical or dental professional.
How do I know if I grind my teeth?
Because grinding often occurs during sleep, most people are unaware that they grind their teeth. However, a dull, constant headache or sore jaw is a tell-tale symptom. Often people learn that they grind their teeth from their sleep partner who hears the grinding at night.
If you suspect you may be grinding your teeth, a consultation with a dentist can be a good place to start. He or she can examine your teeth, mouth and jaw for signs of bruxism, such as jaw tenderness and changes to your teeth.
Is Bruxism harmful?
In some cases, chronic teeth grinding can result in fracturing, loosening, or loss of teeth. The chronic grinding may wear teeth down over time, reducing your ability to chew your food properly. Extensive dental work, such as bridges, crowns, root canal therapy, implants, partial dentures, and even complete dentures, may be needed if your natural teeth need to be repaired or replaced.
Not only can grinding your teeth result in tooth loss in severe cases, but it can also result in jaw pain, hearing loss, and even change the appearance of your face. Sleep Bruxism may also be a consequence of Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
How is Bruxism treated?
Recommended treatments for teeth grinding include behavioral therapies and using mouth splints or oral devices.
Behavioral therapies are muscle relaxation exercises designed to relax your jaw and prevent night-time grinding that may be recommended by your dentist or physiotherapist.
An oral device or mouth splint like SomnoDent™ and SomnoBrux™ are custom made from modern dental materials, giving you a precise fit while protecting your teeth from Bruxing.