Bruxism is not a condition with which most people are familiar. However, millions of men and women clench their jaw or grind their teeth on a daily (or nightly) basis. This habit often occurs without our knowledge, while we sleep. During dental exams, the evidence may become clear in the form of tooth wear or physical complaints such as jaw pain or popping sounds in the jaw. If you experience these symptoms, or know that you grind your teeth or clench your jaw, the secondary problem is that you may not know how to stop.
First, know that there are solutions to what ails your teeth and jaw. But first, it is necessary to understand what may be behind the problem of bruxism. Some of the common triggers include:
- Stress. Who isn’t without some degree of stress? It doesn’t have to be an extraordinary load of worries that leads to clenching and grinding, or another stress-induced habit such as nail biting; the persistent, daily stresses we experience can be enough to cause this response.
- Sleep disorders. When restful sleep is disrupted, one of the subsequent issues is often grinding or clenching. One of the symptoms of sleep apnea, a common sleep disorder, is tooth wear due to grinding.
- Medication. How interesting is this? . . . Some anti-depressant medications have been shown to cause bruxism! Additionally, the mere existence of a health condition can cause a person to clench or grind.
- Bite problems. One of the common reasons that people grind is because the upper and lower teeth don’t come together when they bite or chew. In an attempt to compensate, the jaw moves in an awkward position which causes grinding.
Combating the Clenching Problems
When the underlying reason for bruxism is identified, there is hope for better management of oral health and function.
- Reduce stress using healthy, proven methods such as a warm shower, a warm glass of milk before bed, or a walk in nature. Daily stressors can be minimized when you recognize them quickly, and develop ways to cope with them that do not include clenching your jaw.
- The over-worked jaw muscles would probably love a nice massage, which can be done easily at home or at work. When necessary, a warm compress may also be applied to relieve tension.
- Schedule a dental exam! We can help you alleviate the chronic stress of nighttime bruxism with a custom-fit mouth guard.
Don’t suffer unnecessarily from the strain of bruxism. Get the friendly care you need at Centennial Dental Center.