Night Grinding (Bruxism and Clenching)

Bruxism is a disorder that causes patients to grind their teeth while asleep. More than 20 million people suffer from bruxism. If left untreated it can wear down your teeth and cause earaches and headaches. Bruxism can also lead to jaw pain and if you have any existing dental health problems it could make them much worse.

In the long term, bruxism can eventually wear away the enamel on your teeth causing sensitivity to hot and cold foods. Eating ice cream or drinking hot tea could become very painful.

The Role of Your Dentist in Bruxism Treatment

After finding yourself suffering with Bruxism, you should consult a dentist for further advice, as only a professional can see what needs to be done. A good consultant will do a detailed examination to reach the root cause, so that he can prescribe a bruxism treatment. He may ask you questions regarding your stress levels due to your work or daily routine. You may also need to ask your partner whether you clench your teeth or not, so you can give your dentist the exact information he needs to find a treatment. He will probably do a thorough examination of the jaw muscles to see if they are soft or hard, and any changes will also be checked like tooth breakage, or imbalanced jaw alignment. Moreover, the dentist will see the condition of the teeth during a bite, and after examining the apparent symptoms, the doctor will take an x-ray of the jaw including the teeth to find any internal problems.

Mouth Guard or Occlusal Splint
Mouth Guard or Occlusal Splint

Treatment for Bruxism

The most common method of bruxism treatment is to wear a mouth guard which can be custom built by your dentist. Although this will not cure your bruxism, or treat the cause of the disease, it will help protect your jaws and teeth until a more permanent solution is found. Bruxism is an involuntary behavioral trait that may take time to conquer. If your bruxism is due to stress, certain therapies can be practiced which your dentist can advise you on. Besides consuming healthy foods an exercise routine can help relax you, and reduce the severity of a tooth-grinding issue. Caffeine, which is found in coffee, tea, colas and chocolate can increase the symptoms of bruxism, and this should be eliminated from the diet. Similarly, you should also stop drinking alcohol, because it can aggregate the grinding habit. You should also avoid chewing gum, and eliminate the habit of chewing on pencils and toothpicks.