Bruxism: Symptoms and Treatment

on November 20, 2013

Did you know that it is estimated that 20% of the population suffers from bruxism? Bruxism is the grinding or clenching of your teeth. Everyone does it at some point in time – for example when you are angry or frustrated – but constant or repeated grinding and clenching can damage your teeth and their supporting structures. In today’s blog post we will address the symptoms of bruxism and present some treatment options that you can explore if you believe that you are suffering from bruxism.

Symptoms of Bruxism

Clenching your teeth puts pressure on your muscles, tissues, and other structures around your jaw. Over time, this pressure can cause issues with your temporomandibular joint. In these cases, you may suffer from a sore or painful jaw or referred pain in the form of earaches and headaches.

Grinding your teeth presents a different problem. Grinding your teeth occurs when you slide your jaw back and forth or side to side. This sliding will increase the wear on your teeth and over time can lead to enamel loss. In severe cases of grinding, you can wear the enamel away completely leaving the dentin of your tooth exposed. This can cause increased sensitivity in your teeth as well as a flattened appearance to your teeth. Depending on the way you grind your teeth, so your teeth may become weakened and become more susceptible to chipping.

Treatment Options for Bruxism

As a dental office, our focus on treating bruxism is to try to prevent it from happening. Once you realize that you are bruxing, you can monitor and control it during the day. But at night, this is more difficult. There are several different appliances on the market to help control night time bruxing. The two that we supply at our Evanston dental office are a nightguard or an NTI.

  • Nightguard: A nightguard is a device that covers the upper or lower surface of your teeth to prevent you from grinding your teeth together. The nightguard is made from a mold of your teeth to insure a perfect fit. The nightguards we provide are made from a strong copolymer material that can withstand the pressure from your clenching and grinding.
  • NTI: An NTI is a device that covers just your anterior teeth. The NTI device props your mouth open so that you are not able to grind your posterior teeth together. The NTI device is made in one sitting. The dentist uses a pre-made mold combined with acrylic to customize the NTI to your teeth.

There are other options that focus on relaxation or alleviating pain, although these options are beneficial, they won’t protect your teeth from the wear caused by bruxism.

Depending on the severity of your symptoms, your doctor may prescribe different treatment. If you believe that you may be bruxing, contact our office to set up an appointment. Our doctors will sit down with you and figure out a treatment that will work best to alleviate your symptoms.

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