Bruxism occurs when a person grinds and/or clenches their teeth. It is a condition that affects individuals of all ages and one that should be addressed at your dentist. Our team at Centre Dentaire NP can answer all your questions regarding this condition and help find the best solution for you.
What is bruxism?
Bruxism is when the muscles responsible for chewing experience involuntary contractions. This leads to grinding or the clenching of your teeth. A majority of bruxism problems occur at night when the individual is grinding or clenching unknowingly.
Bruxism is generally associated with anxiety or stress that accumulates throughout the day. Additionally, bruxism occurs even more so when the individual is sleeping on their back. In other cases, bruxism is related to malocclusion, which can be resolved with orthodontics.
Other factors associated with bruxism are:
- Use of tobacco
- Intake of alcohol in high quantities
- Certain medications (i.e. antidepressants)
- Consumption of drugs
Who suffers from bruxism?
Bruxism can affect people at any age. It is estimated that approximately 8% of adults are affected whereas in children this statistic is as high as 20%. Thus, it is important to observe the signs and symptoms and see a dental professional if you have any questions or concerns.
What are the symptoms of bruxism?
Bruxism can unfortunately damage our teeth and create a series of different problems. The following is a list of signs and symptoms:
- Waking up in the morning with a headache
- Fatigue and irritability
- Pain or stiffness in the jaw
- Dental hypersensitivity (caused by the wear of the enamel)
- Abnormal wear of the dentition (your dentist will observe this during a routine dental exam)
As bruxism leads to the grinding of your teeth, it is most probably your significant other that will point this out to you, as it makes a prominent noise at night.
What are the consequences associated to bruxism?
As a long-term consequence, grinding your teeth affects your smile, as you can lose a large amount of your enamel. Dentin is a layer found underneath the enamel that can lead to sensitivity to hot, cold, and certain foods but ultimately compromises the tooth (or teeth) as it becomes fragile. Severe wear of a tooth can also lead to fractures or cracks. In certain situations, bruxism can lead to issues with the jaw joints.
What is the solution for bruxism?
If bruxism affects you or if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to consult your dentist. The dentist will do a clinical exam and ask questions about your health history and other habits. This will lead to a few possible solutions, one of them being a nightguard.
A nightguard is a removable device that is worn overnight. It is a device made of a strong and resistant material, while still being comfortable. To ensure proper protection of the teeth, the nightguard is custom-made to you and your bite. By wearing a nightguard every night, it allows the muscles responsible for chewing to relax and prevent the teeth from contacting each other. This is one of the best solutions for bruxism.
If your smile has been affected by bruxism, your dentist can propose several solutions to restore your teeth along with protecting them!