Some patients react to stress by grinding their teeth unconsciously during the day or, more commonly, while sleeping. The constant pressure and motion can severely harm the teeth as well as the muscles and tissues in and around the jaw. The condition, known as bruxism, can be remedied with a nightguard.
The Facts About Teeth Clenching & Grinding
Common symptoms of bruxism include a sore jaw, headaches, and earaches. Causes vary but may include stress, anxiety, tension, misaligned teeth, posture, diet, sleeping habits, and other factors. Bruxism is most prevalent in women and generally found in about one-third of the population.
Individuals who react to stress with anger, pain, frustration, aggression, or competition are the most commonly affected. People with bruxism may have other biting habits, such as biting fingernails, pencils, lips, or the insides of their cheeks.
Constant clenching and grinding of the teeth can cause not only the aforementioned symptoms, but it may also contribute to TMJ (temporomandibular joint) dysfunction, which has a long list of side effects associated with pain in the jaw, head, and neck. Teeth rubbing together consistently will result in surface wear over time, which will cause dental problems. Insomnia, eating disorders, and even depression can result from bruxism if left untreated.
Botox & Bruxism
When you hear Botox, you don’t likely think of a trip to the dentist at all, but treatment for teeth grinding and clenching may seem even less likely. Actually, Botox treatments were originally used to relieve pain and prevent muscle spasms. Some people only experience bruxism when they’re under added stress, but for patients who suffer from chronic teeth grinding and clenching, it’s important to seek relief to protect their smiles and prevent serious oral health issues like TMJ dysfunction. While wearing a nightguard will protect teeth from excessive wear, cracks, and damage, these oral appliances don’t actually prevent the grinding and clenching movements of the jaw that can lead to TMJ dysfunction. Regular Botox injections help to stop the unconscious movement of the muscles altogether. Over time, combining Botox with wearing a nightguard can actually help patients achieve a cure for Bruxism rather than just protecting their teeth.
A Solid Solution
How can you stop an unconscious habit? A thorough evaluation will allow us to check your teeth, tissues, and muscles. If we determine that you suffer from bruxism, we'll create an orthodontic appliance, also called a nightguard or splint, to prevent any grinding and clenching. Many types of nightguards exist, and patients react differently to the various styles. If one appliance does not work, another may. In many cases, simply wearing a nightguard will eliminate the problem. However, if the condition persists, we can prescribe alternative therapies to correct the issue.
Some practices that can relieve symptoms of bruxism include stress and anxiety management, focused facial relaxation, massage and stretching of face and neck muscles, applying ice or wet heat, proper rest, eating softer foods, and hydrating the body.
If your teeth have been damaged because of bruxism, or if we find TMJ dysfunction to be a factor, our team will repair your smile and treat you to provide complete relief.