Teeth Grinding: Causes and Treatment Options
By Patrick Casey on December 02, 2014
At Smile Montreal here in Westmount, we offer the latest in general, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry to help patients have healthy, beautiful smiles. This means addressing common problems as well as advanced issues that affect dental health and wellness.
A common issue that we help many patients with is teeth grinding (bruxism). We'd like to use this post to go over the basics of teeth grinding and what we can do to help you deal with this issue.
About Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)
Teeth grinding refers to the clenching, gnashing, and shifting of the teeth that occurs when a person is asleep. This can lead to aches and pains around the face and skull and can also lead to damage of the various structures of the mouth.
Common Causes of Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)
The most common cause of teeth grinding is malocclusion, or poor bite alignment. When a person is asleep, their upper dental arch and lower dental arch are unable to find a comfortable rest position. As a result, their teeth with continually shift back and forth until a comfortable position is found.
Another common cause or contributing cause of teeth grinding is stress and anxiety. Stress can lead people to clench or grind their teeth as they sleep, and it can also lead to other kinds of health problems.
Symptoms of Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)
The most common signs and symptoms of teeth grinding include:
- Sore or tender teeth
- Chipped or cracked teeth
- Jaw pain
- Neck pain
- Gum recession
If you notice any of the above symptoms and signs, be sure to contact a dentist as soon as possible so that matters can be addressed right away.
Teeth Grinding (Bruxism) and TMJ Disorders
The motions of the mandible (lower jaw) during teeth grinding place a great deal of stress on the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which is one of the most complicated joints in the human body. Repeated stress on the joint leads to a TMJ disorder, which generally refers to the clicking, grinding, locking, and crunching sensations in the jaw joint. Teeth grinding is among the leading causes of TMJ disorders.
Treatment Options for Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)
The ideal treatment for your case of teeth grinding will depend on the nature and root cause of the problem.
One of the primary treatments to help reduce the stress placed on your teeth and your jaw joint is the use of a night guard. This is a mouthpiece worn when the patient sleeps that helps keep the upper and lower teeth from making direct contact, simultaneously reducing stress on the jaw joint. This helps prevent a number of problems related to teeth grinding and reduces the severity of the symptoms of the condition.
To address the root cause of the teeth grinding, the ideal treatment option may be orthodontic care to improve dental alignment or stress management techniques to reduce anxiety. Combinations of these various treatments are very common.
Schedule a Consultation at Smile Montreal
If you would like more information about treating teeth grinding and how our dentists can help you, be sure to contact our cosmetic and restorative dentistry centre today. The team here at Smile Montreal looks forward to meeting you in person and helping you achieve better dental health and wellness.
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“I felt more like I was talking to a friend than I was to a dentist.” Nancy Lanzolla, Former Patient