Many patients who suffer from chronic, unconscious teeth grinding and clenching, bruxism, are unaware of the potentially detrimental effects it has on oral health. From a chipped to tooth to hearing loss, the potential health concerns related to bruxism can dramatically impact a patient’s daily life.
Bruxism Symptoms and Causes
In some cases, stress causes patients to develop teeth grinding and clenching, but there are patients who struggle with bruxism their entire lives. There is no one medical reason patients develop this habit, but some of the most commonly associated causes include anxiety, misaligned jaw, acid reflux, and genetic predisposition. Regardless of the underlying cause, bruxism can be extremely detrimental to oral health. Like all dental health issues, it’s important to contact our team right away, if you think you may be struggling with teeth grinding and clenching. Some common indicators of bruxism include:
- Loud grinding, scraping, clenching, or biting sounds while sleeping
- Teeth that look worn
- Increased tooth sensitivity
- Awakening with head, neck, jaw, or ear ache (consistently)
- Tight feeling jaw muscles
- Cuts or sores from chewing the inside of cheeks
The Result of Untreated Teeth Grinding
While the symptoms of bruxism may not seem all together very serious, left untreated bruxism can do severe damage including:
- Dental deterioration – chipped, cracked, worn teeth are the most common result of bruxism, but over time, teeth can break off, wear so short that smiles look stubby, and tooth loss may even occur.
- TMJ disorder – the straining or stressing of the joints that control jaw movement due to bruxism can lead to in ability to fully extend the jaw, difficulty speaking and eating, and severe jaw pain.
- Sleep deprivation – some patients grind or clench so strongly that the noise or sensation awakens them throughout the night causing them to feel unrested.
- Head and neck pain – many patients begin to experience daily headaches or migraines that last for hours, and neck and shoulder pain making it difficult to keep up with daily routines.
- Ear pain and hearing loss – ear aches caused by the constant grinding noise during sleep and even hearing loss may occur over time.
Bruxism Treatment Options
If you or a loved one are suffering from bruxism, contact Los Fresnos Dental Center today. We offer custom made nightguards to help break the habit of grinding at night, and protect teeth from potential damage. We can also recommend additional behavioral changes that may help patients stop clenching and grinding. Treatment is planned entirely based on unique patient needs, and how individuals respond to specific styles and types of mouthguards.