Bruxism is more than simply a nuisance or inconvenience. This commonly experienced dental condition can truly wreak havoc on your smile if left unaddressed. That is why our O’Fallon dentists have put together this short overview of bruxism, what it is and what you can do about it.
What Is Bruxism?
Bruxism is a dental condition characterized by tooth-on-tooth grinding or clenching. Basically, patients with bruxism grind and clench their teeth, putting an enormous amount of strain on their temporomandibular joints as well as their teeth.
What Causes It?
Bruxism can be caused or exacerbated by:
- Stress and tension
- TMJ damage
- Poor bite alignment
- Poorly constructed or old and worn down dental restorations
How Does Bruxism Affect My Smile?
The first thing that many patients notice about bruxism is that it causes their jaws to hurt or feel stiff. You may also experience headaches upon waking, as well as neck pain.
As time goes on, and bruxism becomes more problematic, it may find that it is more difficult to move your jaw freely. Many patients develop clicking or popping noises in their temporomandibular joints. Plus, the tooth-on-tooth contact that results from bruxism will thin your dental enamel, and cause cracks and chips in your teeth.
What Kinds of Treatments Are Available?
Our O’Fallon dental team treats bruxism at its source. We want to correct the underlying dental problem that causes dental grinding, rather than continually fixing dental damage as it occurs.
Orthodontic treatment can be very effective in treating bruxism, because it brings your bite into balance, so that your top and bottom teeth come together evenly and comfortably. It is also possible to improve your bite through the application of customized restorations.
Additionally, there are oral appliances available to both protect your enamel, and to guide your lower jaw into a better, healthier position. These mouth pieces are generally prescribed for nighttime use.
Give our O’Fallon dentists a call to learn more about the ins and outs of bruxism. We are here to help you smile confidently for years to come!