Bruxism Prevention, Diagnosis and Treatment Madison
Total Care Dental cares about the oral health of you and your family. We offer superior Madison dental health care services. Our comprehensive dentists are specialists for spotting and determining early warning signs of bruxism, a condition that causes the involuntary clenching and grinding of your teeth.
Grinding Your Teeth at Night
Most people are unaware they grind their teeth because most clenching and grinding occurs during sleep, known as sleep bruxism or nocturnal teeth grinding. Persistent bruxism will wear down teeth and can cause them to crack, chip, and break. Grinding can also cause gum recessionand jaw disorders like TMJ. During bruxing, the facial muscles around the jaw and sides of skull work very hard. This overuse can cause tenderness, spasm and painful headaches.
How Do I Know if I Have Bruxism?
Some people do not know that they clench their teeth at night until someone tells them. If you notice any of the following symptoms, consult your dentist.
- Teeth grinding and clenching, loud enough to wake your sleeping partner or roommates
- Teeth that are flattened, fractured, chipped or loose
- Worn tooth enamel, exposing deeper layers of your teeth
- Increased tooth sensitivity
- Jaw and/or face pain and soreness
- Tired or tight jaw muscles
- Pain that feels like an earache without an actual ear problem
- Dull headache coming from your temporal region
- Damage from chewing the inside of your cheek
- Tongue indentations
The causes of bruxism are difficult to determine, but there are many suspected physical and psychological causes. Possible causes may include the following:
- Tension due to anxiety, stress, anger, or frustration
- Aggressive or hyperactive personality
- Misaligned upper and lower teeth (known as malocclusion)
- Sleep apnea or other sleep disorders
- Response to a painful earache or teething in children
- Acid reflux
- A side effect of some psychiatric medications
- A focusing habit
Many dentists fail to diagnose and treat bruxism because the process of grinding down teeth takes place over many years. The key to preventing major problems is treatment when the first signs occur.
Treatments and Possible Cures for Bruxism
Let your Madison family dentist know if you are experiencing headaches, tenderness in your jaw or notice your teeth are becoming shorter, as those are good indicators you may be grinding your teeth at night. Other signs of bruxism include damage or indentation on the inside of your cheek or the side of your tongue. Before your dental appointment, you may want to prepare by listing the details of your symptoms and possible causes, as well as gathering any relevant medical records. Some questions about bruxism you may want to ask your Madison dental expert include:
• What kinds of tests do you recommend?
• Is my bruxism temporary or long-term?
• What treatment do you recommend?
• How should I manage my bruxism with my other health conditions?
• Should I follow any restrictions?
• Is there a brochure or other informational material I can have?
Lifestyle and Home Remedies
In addition to treatment from your dentist, here are some self-care tips for preventing and coping with bruxism:
- Reduce stress: listen to music, take a warm bath and exercise regularly to reduce risk of developing bruxism
- Avoid stimulating substances in the evening, like coffee, caffeinated tea, alcohol and smoking tobacco, all of which may worsen bruxism
- Practice good sleeping habits: get a good night’s sleep and seek out treatment for disorders getting in the way of that sleep. Turn off electronic devices including phones, computers and television. Read or listen to a book on tape to drift off.
- Talk to your sleep partner if you have one, see if they notice anything you can report to your doctor
- Schedule regular exams, a dentist knows what signs to look for evidence of bruxism
If diagnosed at an early stage, our dentists will recommend a fitted occlusal guard for you to wear at night to relax the jaw muscles and prevent teeth from wearing down. Once significant wear occurs from grinding, our dedicated Madison dentists may recommend building your teeth back to the original size to get proper functions. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of bruxism, call your Madison family dentist today to make an appointment.
Contact our Madison Dental Clinic for complete oral health care at 608-274-1911 or Request a Dental Appointment online!
Frequntly Asked Questions About Bruxism
Q: What is bruxism?
A: Bruxism is a medical condition where people grind or clench their teeth. Eventually, this causes the teeth to become worn down and misaligned.
Q: Is night bruxism different? How?
A: Also called sleep bruxism or nocturnal bruxism, night bruxism simply refers to teeth grinding that occurs while you are asleep. This type of teeth grinding is harder to diagnose since most patients are able to sleep through it. Fortunately, our Madison dentists will carefully examine your teeth to search for signs of wear from grinding.
Q: What causes bruxism?
A: Stress is one of the main causes of bruxism. If your teeth are not aligned, you might experience grinding and clenching as your jaw attempts to correct itself. There are chances alcohol, smoking, snoring, and sleep apnea may be related to nocturnal bruxism.
Q: What are other symptoms of bruxism?
A: Aside from the obvious grinding and clenching, you may experience headaches or jaw pain. Soreness in the face can be expected as a result of overworking the muscles around the mouth. In severe cases, some patients with bruxism have gone on to develop TMJ.
Q: How is bruxism diagnosed?
A: Make an appointment with the dentists of Total Care Dental if you have experienced repetitive teeth grinding and clenching. Our experts will be able to diagnose bruxism and provide a custom treatment plan to protect your teeth from further damage. It may take a few appointments to track the changes to your teeth.
Q: How is bruxism treated?
A: Bruxism is usually treated with mouth guards during the day and night guards while you sleep. Reducing stress may alleviate your symptoms as well.
If you are also diagnosed with TMJ or sleep apnea, treating these conditions should help with your nocturnal bruxism symptoms.
Q: Can bruxism be cured?
A: If grinding is caused by stress, bruxism symptoms might go away if you are able to relax. Treating other conditions which are causing your bruxism may cause it to cease. However, every patient is different and treatment will vary.
Q: How can I prevent bruxism?
A: Visiting your TCD dentist regularly will help prevent most of the damage from undiagnosed bruxism. Avoid smoking, alcohol, and caffeine as well.
Q: Who is most at risk for bruxism?
A: Children are more at risk for bruxism than adults, although it is not uncommon. Anyone who is stressed may develop bruxism, especially if they smoke or drink alcohol.
Q: Can kids have bruxism?
A: Yes, children as young as 1 have been diagnosed with some form of bruxism. It is most common between the ages of 3 and 13. Many children will stop experiencing bruxism as they grow older. If their bruxism is caused by misalignment, Invisalign braces may help.
Q: How will wearing a mouth guard treat bruxism?
A: Mouth guards will stop your teeth from wearing down while you grind. While you still might clench and move your jaw, the custom mouth guards from TCD form a protective barrier around your teeth.
Q: What happens if my bruxism goes untreated?
A: Over time, your teeth will become more and more worn down. Some teeth may even chip or crack from the pressure.
Q: How can I afford bruxism treatment if I don't have insurance?
A: If you lack dental insurance, you can still get bruxism treatment at Total Care Dental. We offer a variety of financing plans including CareCredit and Illumisure. We even accept cash as payment! Learn more about our dental financing today.