Battling Bruxism: How To Protect Your Teeth From Long Term DamageMarch 10, 2020 11:15 am
Once you’re aware of it, you’ll probably be surprised by how much you clench your teeth! Typically a reaction to a stressful situation, it’s common to clench during busy times at work or at home. However, if you notice symptoms increasingly often, or your dentist tells you that you have the condition, it might be time to make a few changes. Here, we’ll explain more about the condition.
- What is bruxism?
Bruxism is the scientific name for grinding and clenching teeth. Some people only do it at night, and they may wake with a headache or facial pain. Or, you may do it through the day – but still not realise you’re doing it. Other symptoms include stiffness around your joints (like the jaws), earache, or increasingly sensitive teeth. The latter is because the grinding action can wear down the edges of tooth enamel, exposing the soft dentine underneath. You might even have broken teeth if you are grinding very hard.
- How will I know if I have it?
As well as ticking off the above symptoms, you’ll need to visit your dentist, such as Drs. Nicolas & Asp, to know for sure. Your dentist will ask questions and check the condition of your teeth.
- What causes it?
It’s not really known for sure, but it is usually stress. Some people may have it a side effect of certain medications – though that’s rare. If you have another sleep disorder, then you are statistically more likely to be a tooth grinder too. Some lifestyle choices can make the condition worse, so it’s best to avoid alcohol and smoking, and exercise regularly if you are a sufferer. It can also really help to try alternative ways to relax, such as meditation.
- Bruxism in children
Babies and children can be surprising sufferers of grinding and clenching teeth. You’ll know if your child has the condition, as you’ll be able to hear the grinding noises when they’re sleeping, or see them clenching while they’re awake. More often than not this is just your child adjusting to new or emerging teeth! But, it’s best to schedule six-monthly appointments with a pediatric dentist just in case there is another underlying cause.
While most cases of bruxism will go away by themselves once the cause of the stress has been removed, that’s not always the case. If you’re a serial grinder then your dentist may suggest getting a mouthguard or splint made, to protect your teeth at night. It won’t fix the problem but will protect your teeth from damage, and should also relieve pain. You can either get a custom-made guard from your dentist, or buy one over the counter. It is possible to use muscle relaxants, though it’s definitely not a long term solution, so it’s unlikely your dentist will suggest this route.
- OTher solutions
If you’ve cracked a tooth from the grinding or otherwise caused damage, there will usually be a range of options via your dentist that will repair the damage. A veneer can help hide the problem, or the dentist may suggest a crown if the crack is not deep. If you have ‘shorter’ teeth as a result of enamel loss,then the dentist can remove a small amount of gum at the top of teeth to make the teeth appear a normal length again. Your treatment will depend on the level and amount of damage, so it’s away best to get professional help from the best dentist in Dubai. Of course, if there is an underlying cause for the grinding such as misaligned jaws or teeth, then your dentist will need to devise a plan that solves that problem properly for the long term.
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