Teeth grinding (bruxism) is a condition that causes you to grind, clench or gnash your teeth, either during sleep or while awake. Here, our Calgary dentists describe the causes, and symptoms of this condition, and treatment options.
What causes teeth grinding?
Teeth grinding (bruxism) can be caused by anxiety or stress, smoking, heavy alcohol or caffeine consumption, depression, or sleep disorders (like sleep apnea). It can also be caused by certain medications, and in children, it can be more common in those diagnosed with a hyperactivity disorder and health issues like cerebral palsy.
What are the symptoms of teeth grinding?
The most common symptoms of teeth grinding are headaches, and pain in the jaw (temporomadibular) joint. Other symptoms include pain and stiffness in the shoulders and neck, ear pain, and disordered sleep.
Over time, teeth grinding can also cause wear and tear to the teeth, leading to fractures or even tooth loss in some cases.
How can I stop grinding my teeth?
As you might expect, treatment for teeth grinding depends on the cause. Talk to your dentist or doctor to determine possible causes, be they lifestyle or health related.
Once the cause has been determined, your dentist will recommend the appropriate treatments or lifestyle changes to manage or eliminate your teeth grinding.
A common treatment for teeth grinding is the use of occlusal appliances (mouth guards). There are many different types, including occlusal splints, bite guards, night mouth guards, bite plates and bruxism appliances. You dentist will recommend the occlusal appliances that best suits your needs.
In cases where a sleep disorder is the likely cause of your teeth grinding, mandibular advancement devices can be used for treatment. These custom made, specially fitted appliances usually fit over the top and bottom teeth, and are designed to bring your bottom jaw (mandible) forward to improve air flow during sleep.
Lifestyle changes to manage teeth grinding may include stress and anxiety reduction techniques, therapy for depression, quitting smoking or drinking, reducing caffeine consumption, and more.