What is Bruxism?

April 14, 2021 1

Bruxism is when a person grinds their teeth, often in their sleep. The teeth grind or rub together as the jaw moves with intense pressure either side to side or back and forth. Many teeth-grinders aren’t even aware they’re doing it. Research shows that 80% of teeth grinding happens at night.

Bruxism is a common sleep disorder. Teeth grinding can be brought on by stress, anxiety, malocclusion and growth and development in children. Bruxism can cause damage to the teeth and surrounding tissue. The tooth enamel is the hard outer protective layer of the teeth. The enamel is thinnest in the neck portion of the tooth where the crown meets the root. In sleep bruxism, the tooth becomes flexed and the hard enamel is sloughed off. With time, it creates a wedge shape into the tooth. This makes the tooth more sensitive to pain and vulnerable to decay.

Symptoms of bruxism may be minimal, without patient awareness of the condition. Common signs associated with bruxism include:

  • Jaw muscle aches
  • Neck pain
  • Headaches
  • Pain behind your eyes or in the sinus area
  • Difficulty or pain opening your mouth, speaking and/or eating
  • Hypersensitive teeth
  • Tooth wear

Treatment for bruxism involves repairing the damaged teeth and managing the symptoms to avoid teeth grinding. The dentist will look for any loss of structure integrity between your teeth along the gum line (abfractions). Your dentist can make a mouth guard to prevent further tooth damage. A properly aligned mouth guard can help stop the teeth clenching and grinding during sleep. The dentist may recommend an orthodontic solution if required. We can discuss any sources of stress that might be causing the bruxism and make recommendations to help you reduce anxiety.

Being told you’re a teeth grinder can be a surprise but it needn’t be a bad one. After all, it’s relatively easy to remedy, so if you have any doubts why not come in and let us check you out? Give Sedation and Implant Dentistry of Tehachapi a call today to arrange a consultation in which we can discuss the best options for you.


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