Bruxism is excessive wear on teeth that is caused by either clenching or grinding. With opposing forces from the top and lower jaw pressing together, bruxism can cause damage to your teeth, as well as, discomfort. Patients can wake up with headaches and/or tension in their jaw disrupting their sleep cycle. In some cases, patients are unaware if they clench or grind because it happens while they are sleeping. However, some patients will clench or grind during the day with certain daily task, such as driving, lifting weights or job stress. Crooked teeth or malocclusion, health disorders such as sleep apnea or anxiety, lifestyle behaviors such as smoking or caffeine use and/or stress can be some of the many factors causing your bruxism. Some symptoms that you may have are:
- flattening, cracked or chipped teeth
- worn enamel exposing under lying tooth surfaces and causing gum tissue recession
- tooth sensitivity or pain
- clenching or grinding at night that is loud enough to wake up your sleeping partner
- sleep disturbance
- dull headache that can range from the jaw, ear and head
- lock jaw or limited opening
In mild to moderate cases, we can custom fit you with a hard mouth piece to be worn at night. This mouth guard prevents the pressure from your tooth to tooth contact, allowing the force onto the appliance instead. In severe cases, we can refer to you a TMJ specialist for a consult on possible therapy to exercise the muscles in your jaw.
WARNING: Over-the-counter mouth guards are not recommended because if not molded properly to your mouth, your bite can be off causing more pain and discomfort.