What is Bruxism?
Bruxism, also known as chronic teeth grinding, is a condition involving involuntary teeth clenching (bruxing) and jaw clenching. Frequent in sleep but possible during waking hours, Bruxism wears down teeth, increases tooth sensitivity and jaw pain, and causes headaches and earaches. Repetitive grinding can even cause gum recession and jaw disorders such as temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ).
During bruxing, the facial muscles around the jaw and sides of the skull experience overexertion. This overuse can cause tenderness, muscle spasms and painful headaches. Ground teeth are more likely to crack and fall out. Initial signs of bruxism can be hard to notice, so you may be unaware of your condition. Our comprehensive dentists are specialists in spotting the early warning signs of teeth grinding. Regular dental visits will allow our dentists to monitor signs of grinding and accurately diagnose.
Common Questions About Bruxism
Q: Is teeth grinding normal?
A: No, grinding your teeth is not normal. Bruxism, a condition of teeth grinding and jaw clenching, can occur when you are awake or asleep. Either version can cause damage to your teeth as the repetitive grinding motion wears down your teeth. Sometimes grinding is a result of stress; other times it is related to disorders like TMJ. Treatment ranges from stress relief to wearing a mouth guard.
Q: What is an occlusal guard?
A: An occlusal guard is a u-shaped piece of plastic, much like a traditional sports mouth guard. They are used to treat bruxism (grinding of the teeth). Occlusal guards are typically made of clear acrylic plastic and are custom fitted to your mouth by your dentist. Having a dentist fit your occlusal guard to your mouth ensures the guard fits comfortably and doesn’t fall out during the night.
Q: Can bruxism be cured?
A: Bruxism can often be managed and controlled, but it is not typically a condition that can be completely cured. But with proper treatment, the symptoms of bruxism can be significantly reduced and well-controlled to where they are no longer noticeable.
Work closely with your dentist to determine the most appropriate treatment for your individual bruxism. With proper treatment and management, achieving effective control of bruxism and reducing the risk of complications is possible.
Q: What type of treatment is most effective for bruxism?
A: The type of treatment most effective for your case of bruxism will depend on the severity and uniqueness of your condition. Common bruxism treatment options include mouthguards or splints, cognitive-behavioral therapy, jaw-relaxing medications or lifestyle changes like reducing caffeine intake and avoiding alcohol.
Q: What happens if bruxism is left untreated?
A: Untreated bruxism can lead to the development of unwanted pain points in your mouth, jaw and head including:
- Tooth wear where the teeth are weakened and at greater risk of fracture
- Tooth sensitivity as the enamel is ground away exposing underlying layers
- Jaw pain including the muscles of the jaw
- Headaches with the potential to become migraines
- Earaches as jaw and neck muscles become tense
- Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) in the worst cases where lower jaw pain makes chewing and talking painful
Q: Does dental insurance cover night guards?
A: Night guards in many cases will be covered by your insurance if they are deemed medically necessary. Check with us for the full details of your insurance plan’s coverage for accurate confirmation.
Affordable Bruxism Treatment in Madison
Total Care Dental accepts most dental insurance providers and has many payment plan options. We want all of our patients to be able to afford the care they need. We even accept cash as payment! Learn more about our dental financing today or call our offices for more information on low-cost bruxism treatment.
Schedule a consultation with our dentists to learn about bruxism treatment or dental tooth replacement options for damaged teeth.