What Is Bruxism, Anyway?
Bruxism is a condition characterized by dental grinding and clenching. Bruxism affects your teeth, your temporomandibular joints, and even the muscles in your face and neck. If you find that you are regularly holding tension in your jaw joints, or that you are grinding your teeth back and forth, this may be due to bruxism.
How Would I Know If I Have Bruxism?
Some patients are able to notice that they are clenching or grinding their teeth during the day. This is a very clear sign that you should schedule a consultation with your dental team.
However, bruxism can also manifest at night, when the patient is asleep. In this case, it is impossible to be aware of dental grinding as it is happening, so you need to look out for symptoms that commonly arise as a result of nighttime grinding.
You may find that you are regularly waking up with a headache or neck ache. Your temporomandibular joints may feel sore, stiff, or out of alignment. Bruxism can also lead to tooth pain, due to the pressure put on your teeth when you clench your jaw.
How Can I Protect My Smile?
The most important thing that you can do is to stay alert for signs of bruxism during the day and at night. With bruxism, prompt identification and treatment can make all the difference for your long-term dental prognosis.
When you are building a treatment plan with your dental team, your dentist will recommend bruxism solutions based on your particular situation. With that in mind, bruxism can be addressed by:
- Reducing stress
- Stretching tense or stiff jaw joints
- Improving bite alignment through orthodontic treatment, dental bonding, or custom restorations
- Wearing a nighttime oral appliance that guides your lower jaw into a healthier position
- Wearing a nighttime oral appliance that protects your enamel from tooth-on-tooth contact
If you are worried that you are dealing with bruxism, our Elmhurst dentists can help you with a personal assessment and treatment recommendations. Give our office a call to speak to a member of our team!