Bruxism is a condition characterized by clenching the jaw and grinding the teeth. This frequently occurs during sleep, but you may also do it during the day without even noticing. Symptoms of bruxism can range from mild to severe, and the condition is often linked to other issues like stress or sleep apnea.
The good news is, the dentists at Fioritto Family Dental have solutions to help eliminate the symptoms associated with bruxism and prevent damage to teeth. What causes bruxism and what symptoms are common to this disorder? How can dental intervention help? Here’s what you need to know.
Causes and Symptoms
There could be any number of factors contributing to bruxism. If you suffer from bruxism during sleep only, the condition could be related to other disorders, such as sleep apnea or GERD. Daytime bruxism is often linked to stress and anxiety. Age, heredity, medications, and disorders like ADHD could also play a role. In other words, causes will vary from one patient to the next.
Symptoms, on the other hand, are fairly consistent, starting with clenching of the jaws and/or grinding of the teeth, leading to a host of side effects. You may experience sleep disruption, headaches, pain in the jaws and neck, tooth pain/sensitivity, and even TMJ. Bruxism can also damage your teeth, wearing away at tooth surfaces causing chips or cracks. This may open the door to infection, tooth decay, and other long-term oral health concerns.
In some cases, bruxism can be treated by addressing contributing factors. If high stress and anxiety are to blame, psychotherapy is an option, and if sleep apnea is a cause, the use of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine could help. However, you’ll want to stop the clenching and grinding immediately, and this is most easily accomplished with a custom dental appliance such as a bite guard.
This device is custom made in a lab using different types of plastic, and based on impressions of your teeth. There are three types of bite guards: soft, hard, and dual laminate. Soft bite guards are thin and flexible, offering the greatest comfort in most cases, but they aren’t as durable as other options. They are best suited to minor cases of bruxism or daytime wear.
Hard bite guards are much more rigid and durable. They are suitable for severe bruxism and could last up to several years with proper care. Dual laminate bite guards feature a soft inner layer and a hard-outer layer. If you’re having trouble adjusting to wearing a hard bite guard at night, this may be a good alternative.
Fioritto Family Dental can provide custom oral appliances to combat bruxism, as well as offer corrective treatment options for damage to teeth resulting from bruxism. Contact us today at 440-951-5511 or connect with us online to schedule an appointment!