The Dental Dangers Of Bruxism And How To Save Your Teeth

Dentist Articles

A white, bright smile is a priority for most people, but focusing on the underlying health of the mouth, teeth, and gums is also essential. Unfortunately, up to 40 million adults and children in the United State continuously bump, clench, and grind their teeth. Known as bruxism, the condition can wreak havoc on the look and health of your smile. Of course, you may consider bruxism an insignificant habit. While it may seem minor, the condition almost always stems from another medical or dental problem. Using this guide, you will understand the signs, causes, and treatment options to stop the habitual bump and grind of your teeth.

Signs of Bruxism

Most people do not realize they grind their teeth until after a regular dental exam. During your exam, your dentist will see visible signs of bruxism, which include eroded or chipped tooth enamel. Although these signs are easy for your dentist to see, you may also experience the following symptoms:

  • Pain in the teeth, jaw, or head
  • Light or severe headaches each morning
  • Popping or clicking in the jaw
  • Swelling in the jaw
  • Bleeding gums
  • Loose or broken teeth

Your dentist will offer a few suggestions to stop the clenching and grinding act, but understanding the cause of your bruxism is key to effective treatment.

Causes of Bruxism

Preventing further damage to your teeth will require treating the cause of your bruxism. Of course, determining the cause can be difficult.

70 percent of bruxism stems from stress and anxiety. While asleep, your subconscious reacts to stressful situations in your life by clenching your jaw and grinding your teeth. Stress is difficult to avoid, so finding healthy ways to reduce stress in your life is essential. Here are a few effective stress relievers:

  • Exercise – Consider exercising daily to reduce your stress. Walking or jogging a few minutes before going to sleep, or doing yoga stretches, will release your body's natural endorphins. This quickly improves your overall mood, resulting in less grinding at night. Of course, exercise can also improve your quality of sleep.
  • Counseling – You may not believe in therapy, but counseling can help you find healthy ways to reduce the stress in your life. Ask your doctor to recommend a professional therapist that deals in stress relief.
  • Massage – Massage therapy is also an effective option for stress relief. Licensed professionals can design a course of action to reduce bouts of anxiety using various types of massage.
  • Medication – If natural stress relievers are not beneficial, ask your doctor if taking an anti-anxiety medication is right for you.

Your bruxism may also be caused by a dental problem. If you have an issue with the alignment of your jaw, such as an overbite, underbite, or crossbite, consider consulting an orthodontist.

Orthodontic treatment such as braces or aligners may be necessary to realign your jaw, correcting your bite. This will reduce the nightly clenching of your jaw and tooth grinding.

Your dentist may also recommend a mouth guard to reduce the severity of the tooth grinding, which will prevent further damage to your teeth. Mouth guards are available in custom sizes, so your dentist can create one perfectly suited to your teeth. In addition, you will only need to wear them at night or while resting.

The bumping and grinding of your jaw and teeth may not seem like a big problem. However, the small act can do enormous damage to your teeth, resulting in a great deal of pain and involved dental or orthodontic repairs. If you believe you have bruxism problems, contact an experienced dentist in your area.


22 June 2015