Life often throws us curveballs and demands as we deal with stressful situation after stressful situation. With the constant stress facing many patients as a result of our busy lives, it is no surprise that bruxism, better known as teeth grinding, is such a common parafunctional habit among adults. Dr. Thomas Prendergast and Dr. Caroline Shepherd understand the dental trauma that bruxism can cause and are dedicated to helping you restore and maintain your dental health– and break your teeth grinding habit!
Bruxism can involve both teeth grinding and jaw clenching and most often occurs during sleep. You may ask—if I am not aware that I’m grinding my teeth, how can I stop it?
Before we explore treatments for bruxism, it is important to understand why it occurs. Teeth grinding is most often attributed to stress and anxiety, though it can also be caused by sleep disorders, misaligned or crooked teeth, and temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ).
Symptoms of Bruxism
Bruxism often presents with the following symptoms following sleep:
- Frequent dull headache
- Jaw or neck soreness
- Painful or loose teeth
- Cracked teeth
If you believe that you are experiencing teeth grinding during sleep, it is important to correct this habit before permanent damage is done. In some cases, when stress is determined to be the source of your bruxism, relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, or exercise before bedtime can reduce or eliminate teeth grinding.
If the problem persists after relaxation techniques have been used, Drs. Prendergast and Shepherd may recommend using a custom mouth guard during sleep or stressful situations.
In cases where teeth have been damaged or a bite disorder is diagnosed, Drs. Prendergast and Shepherd can create a restorative treatment plan to address damaged teeth and/or realign the bite. Treatment options may include:
- Dental crowns
- Tooth bonding
- Dental veneers
Teeth Grinding in Children
Though stress is a common cause of bruxism for adults, this may not be the case for children. Teeth grinding and jaw clenching in children may be caused by irritation in the mouth, allergies, or misaligned teeth. Because teeth change so often in children as they grow, bruxism often does not require treatment and may be outgrown by adolescence.
However, if you are concerned about your child’s teeth grinding, don’t hesitate to talk to Dr. Thomas Prendergast and Dr. Caroline Shepherd.
ADA video on grinding: