Bruxism is the medical term that refers to grinding the teeth during sleep, something which night guards may help prevent. Grinding is not just annoying but can also cause damage to the teeth, as well as a variety of other health problems. A dentist can perform an exam to determine the extent of the damage…
How a General Dentist Treats Bruxism
Bruxism is a condition that leads to you gnashing, clenching or grinding your teeth. Teeth grinding is more likely to occur at night during sleep. Most people with the condition are not even aware of it. It is typically diagnosed by a dentist during a routine checkup or when someone that shares a room complains about loud grinding sounds.
Bruxism that occurs at night is classified as a sleep movement disorder. People with the condition have a higher chance of having other sleep disorders like sleep apnea and snoring.
Most cases of bruxism do not need to be treated since people tend to outgrow the condition. Severe teeth grinding that leads to significant damage to teeth structures, headaches and jaw disorders needs to be treated to prevent other issues from developing. Signs and symptoms of teeth grinding include:
- Loud grinding sounds being made during sleep
- Flat, fractured, chipped, broken or loose teeth
- Worn down teeth enamel
- Sore jaw muscles or a locked jaw
- Low sleep quality
- Damage to the cheeks from biting them during sleep
How a dentist treats bruxism
The first step towards successful treatment is figuring out the cause of the patient’s condition. The dentist might start by going over the patient’s sleeping habits, daily routine, medications and dental health history.
The dentist may perform a visual examination looking for signs of damage that might have been caused by teeth grinding like broken, loose or missing teeth. They might also check to see if the patient’s jaw muscles are tender. Tests like X-rays can also help when making a diagnosis. Once a diagnosis has been made, treatments the dentist might recommend include:
- Nightguards and splints: These devices are used to reduce the forces teeth are exposed to and to separate them. These are oral appliances that are inserted into the mouth before going to bed
- Orthodontic treatment: If the patient’s bruxism is being caused by poor teeth alignment, the dentist can correct that by performing appropriate teeth straightening treatments
- Anxiety management: Some people grind their teeth due to anxiety or stress. Such patients can benefit from learning how to better manage their stress. This often brings their teeth grinding to an end
- Behavior modification: The dentist might recommend learning how to properly position the mouth and jaw during sleep. That can alleviate some types of teeth grinding
- Medications: Muscle relaxers and anxiety medication can be used to treat teeth grinding caused by anxiety. This treatment might be combined with stress management therapy
- Botox®: Botox injections can be used to treat teeth grinding caused by overactive jaw muscles. The injection prevents the muscles it is injected into from contracting
Teeth grinding can also be treated by taking patients off medications that might be causing the condition. Treating sleep disorders like sleep apnea and health issues like gastroesophageal reflux disease also helps.
We treat bruxism
Do not wait until teeth grinding leaves your teeth severely damaged. Give us a call or stop by our Greenwood Village clinic to learn more about how we can treat teeth grinding.
Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Bruxism in Greenwood Village, CO.
For anyone who grinds his or her teeth at night, there are possible options for at-home treatment. Grinding teeth can wear down the tooth enamel and cause jaw pain. Since the teeth grinding occurs at night, it can be difficult for the individual to prevent it without extra assistance. We can determine your specific needs…
Night guards can help prevent teeth grinding and protect the enamel from permanent damage.Night guards are a form of retainer that prevents your teeth from grinding while you sleep. We will customize the night guard to fit your teeth for a more comfortable experience and effective treatment.Night GuardsAt Dr. L. M. Kuljis, DDS in Greenwood…
A patient's dentist may recommend custom mouth guards to reduce the effects of bruxism and help prevent long-term tooth damage. Bruxism, or teeth grinding, is a common cause of headaches, jaw pain and similar symptoms. It also can increase a patient's risk for temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome, a condition that may cause jaw joint pain,…