What do headaches, neck pain, sore jaws, earaches, sore facial muscles, and possibly an irritable sleeping partner have in common?
These are all telltale signs of a common condition known as bruxism. Bruxism is the habit of grinding, clenching, or gnashing your teeth throughout the day or at night. More often than not, bruxing is done subconsciously, especially at night, and the only reason you may know you are doing it is because it keeps your bed-mate up at night. Some causes for bruxism include stress/anxiety, an abnormal bite, and crooked or missing teeth. It may also be caused by pain/discomfort in the sinus area from allergies, a cold, or an ear infection, most often with small children.
Although some cases of bruxism may not require treatment, it’s important to address the issue with your dentist if you experience any of the aforementioned symptoms or think you may be grinding, gnashing, or clenching your teeth on a regular basis. Bruxing your teeth can lead to the things like, loosening of the teeth, tooth loss, exposed dentin (causing tooth sensitivity), the need for restorative dentistry, damage to the temporomandibular joints (TMJ), and/or changes to your hearing, just to name a few.
At our office, we will look for signs of grinding wear on your bite and prescribe appropriate treatment based on our assessment. Preventive treatment may be as straightforward as a custom fit night guard. If stress is feeding your bruxing habit, it may be helpful to find ways to wind down and relax before you go to sleep. Whatever the cause, preventive treatment is always the best route. Call our office at 480.991.2290 or visit our website to schedule an appointment today!