When Marcia came in to our dental office, she was experiencing some persistent pain around her jaw. She wasn’t sure about the cause, but as it wasn’t going away, she decided to seek treatment from a professional. When our Elmhurst dentists examined Marcia’s teeth and jaw, we found evidence of an unusual amount of wear and tear on her biting surfaces. Marcia was suffering from bruxism, and she didn’t even know it!
Bruxism is a condition defined by grinding and clenching of teeth. Many patients, like Marcia, don’t even realize that they have bruxism because they grind and clench their teeth as they sleep. This can be caused by:
· Stress and tension—this may cause you to clench your jaw muscles
· A poorly aligned bite surface—if your top and bottom teeth don’t fit well together, you may move your mouth back and forth at night in an effort to find a comfortable resting position for your mouth.
The treatment plan for Marcia’s bruxism combined relaxation techniques with an oral appliance that she wears when she sleeps. This appliance helps to protect her dental surfaces and relieve the tension in her jaw.
At her next appointment, Marcia was happy to report that she was no longer waking up with a sore, stiff jaw. She also had the peace of mind of knowing that she was protecting her teeth from further deterioration and even fracture.
If you think you may be suffering from bruxism, talk to your dentist about your concerns. This problem often goes undiagnosed, because patients don’t realize that it’s important enough to bring up at their dental appointments. However, the sooner you begin treatment for bruxism, the less likely it will be that you suffer long-term complications from dental grinding.
Feel free to contact our Elmhurst dentist office to schedule a consultation or to get more information about the symptoms of bruxism.