Bruxism is more commonly known as teeth grinding or jaw clenching. This can occur while the patient is either awake or asleep. It can cause an entire slew of problems for both the teeth, gums, jawbone, and even the temporomandibular joint which is also known as the TMJ. When the TMJ is affected it can cause pain at the site as well as along the jawbone. This can increase when biting or chewing food.
In many cases, bruxism can go unnoticed for years. Patients might not be aware that they are grinding their teeth at all. If they live alone or their partner does not realize they are grinding their teeth, they might not know. Bruxism can cause tension in the jaw or tenderness at the joint site. They may also notice clicking at the site of the TMJ with every bite while chewing. Patients might also realize their teeth are eroded, showing more wear than usual when they perform self-evaluations.
If patients do not manage their bruxism and stop the deterioration of their teeth or wear on their TMJ, they will likely be facing invasive and costly procedures. Their teeth will wear down to the point where they may need to be extracted to keep the mouth healthy. No one wants to deal with tooth loss like that. In that case, dentures may be necessary in order to restore the lost jaw functionality and bite motion.
Preventing and Managing Bruxism
At your next visit, we will suggest relaxation techniques that can reduce bruxism symptoms and decrease the pain and discomfort while biting and chewing. Wearing a mouthguard at night can also cut down on the symptoms as well. The mouthguard will keep the teeth apart and stop them from grinding against each other which will stop the unnatural erosion process. The night mouthguards are relatively inexpensive and easy to adjust to wearing.