Elmhurst Dentist Explains Common Causes of Dental Grinding, Bruxism

Written by Dr. Scharfenberg on Nov 20, 2012

Most patients spend time cleaning their teeth because they want to avoid cavities and gum disease. This is critically important, and establishing good dental hygiene habits can help you keep a stunning smile for life. There are, however, lesser known threats to your dental health for which you should look out. Our Elmhurst dentist office has found that bruxism can weaken teeth and wear them down over time. Read on for more information about this troubling dental habit.

What is bruxism?

Bruxism refers to regularly grinding or clenching of the teeth. Some patients do this during the day, but often patients grind their teeth as they sleep. Consequently, you may not even realize that you’re grinding your teeth until your symptoms are quite severe.

What causes bruxism?

There are many potential causes of bruxism, and understanding the cause of dental grinding can help you dentist treat your problem successfully.

· Stress and anxiety may cause you to clench your and tighten your jaw muscles. This, in turn can lead to dental grinding. Try employing relaxation techniques to relax your muscles.

· If you have an uneven bite surface, you may be unconsciously trying to find a comfortable bite position as you sleep. Your dentist may recommend realigning your back teeth or building up the bite surface on your back teeth to alleviate this problem.

· Some doctors believe that people grind their teeth as they sleep due to an unconscious bite reflex.

No matter what the cause of your bruxism, you may be able to benefit from a dental appliance that you wear as you sleep. This appliance can help buffer and protect your teeth from bruxism.

If you notice that you’re grinding your teeth, or if you wake up with a sore stiff jaw, contact your dentist for treatment. As always, our Elmhurst dentists are here to answer your questions—give us a call to schedule an appointment!