What is Bruxism?
The simple definition of bruxism is regular grinding of the teeth. Most people grind or clench their teeth occasionally, which generally doesn’t cause much harm. But if you do it routinely, it can cause significant damage:
- Your teeth can wear down faster than expected, and they can become loose or even chip or crack due to the routine pressure.
- Your jaw muscles can become strained and sore from overuse.
- Your temporomandibular joints, which connect your jawbone to your skull and allow you to open and close your mouth, can become damaged.
TMD Risk Factors: Types of Bruxism
There are two broad types of bruxism.
- Awake bruxism, which takes place during the day. Since you do it while you’re awake, it’s generally a symptom of emotional issues, such as anxiety, stress or anger. Most people generally don’t need treatment, since they do it while they’re conscious, but if it becomes truly problematic, seeing a counselor or therapist can help resolve the underlying issues.
- Sleep bruxism, in which you grind your teeth in your sleep. This is the form of bruxism that tends to lead to complications if left untreated. Because you’re doing it in your sleep, you may be unaware it’s happening. And you may be unaware how hard you’re doing it. Sleep bruxism may involve up to 250 pounds of force.
Symptoms of Bruxism
Headaches and facial pain, especially in the morning
Painful or loose teeth
Sore jaw muscles
Pain while eating
Wear on teeth
TMJ Disorder and Bruxism Treatment
One common treatment for night bruxism is a mouth guard. Custom fitted to your mouth, it protects your teeth, muscles and temporomandibular joints from the force of your grinding.
However, if the bruxism has led to you developing TMJ disorder, you may want to consider a therapeutic device for TMJ. In addition to protecting you against bruxism, this mouthpiece reshapes the inside of your jaw, with the promise of fully curing your TMJ disorder, and even sleep apnea as well.