There are many dental concerns that people face and one of the most common yet most misunderstood is bruxism. Nearly one in three people suffer from teeth grinding, or bruxism, as it is traditionally termed. Of these, as many as 10% grind so badly and for so long they wear down teeth till there is nothing left of them. This is just one of the problems of teeth grinding.
Bruxism affects people of all ages and severe teeth grinding can cause headaches, jaw pain, tooth damage, and more! Teeth grinding can happen at any time but it is most commonly observed at night during sleep. Daytime clenching can also contribute greatly to tooth destruction. Most people do not realize they are doing it until they have severe tooth damage or a partner tells them they are grinding their teeth while they sleep. This is why it can go undetected for years and damage is often quite advanced before anything is known about the condition. Here at Kopp Dental, our prosthodontic specialists have been trained to address bruxism and the conditions it may cause as well as others. We treat dental concerns ranging from general teeth cleaning to cosmetic procedures to crowns and dentures.
Common Symptoms of Teeth Grinding
Excessive teeth grinding usually is detected when excessive wear is observed on the teeth or there are signs of damage done to the teeth and other areas of the mouth. Signs and symptoms of teeth grinding and the problems of teeth grinding include:
- Tired or tight jaw muscles, popping of the jaw, or pain in the joint
- Pain or soreness in areas of the jaw, gums, cheeks, or mouth
- Waking up your partner due to the grinding
- Teeth get cracked, worn, chipped, broken, or damaged
- Tooth enamel wears in odd places or at an odd rate
- Teeth suddenly are becoming sensitive to extremes in temperature
- A dull headache that starts at in the temples and spreads and intensifies
- Sore spots and bleeding sores from biting your cheeks in your sleep.
- Indentations on your tongue or sores that won’t go away
- Waking yourself up suddenly from biting your tongue or cheek
Causes & Risk Factors
While it is rare, children can exhibit symptoms of bruxism and it is usually associated with issues such as overbites or underbites, asthma and breathing issues associated with allergies and sinus infections. Some other disorders can also cause teeth grinding if they affect muscle and nerve control. There are many problems of teeth grinding that people can suffer from and just as many causes to worry about. In adults, some causes of teeth grinding can be related to :
- Sleep apnea
- Anxiety disorder
- Huntington’s Disease
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Unresolved anger or frustration
- Unmanaged stress
- Abnormal teeth alignment
- Some psychiatric medications
- Select types of antidepressants
Conventional treatments for bruxism are varied and many have proven to be effective. In regards to problems with teeth grinding many dentists start with one or more of these options for treatments. At Kopp Dental, we offer help for dental concerns that utilize these options among many others:
The form fitting soft plastic mouth guards can help keep teeth apart and prevents the grinding and reduces and often eliminates the risk of tooth damage.
Fixing alignment issues such as overbites and underbites can help reduce the severity of teeth grinding when that is the underlying cause of the condition.
Stress from the day can often carry over into sleep and this can lead to severe cases of teeth grinding so addressing stress levels can help lessen bruxism flare-ups.
7 Natural Treatments
Depending on what the underlying cause of the bruxism is, one or more of the following can help you find relief. If your problems with teeth grinding are not responding to traditional treatments one of these natural approaches may work for you.
A non-invasive way to treat bruxism is the use of an occlusal splint combined with other methods of control. It can be very helpful against the problems of teeth grinding.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy to help retrain the body and the mind on the correct position for the jaw to be in during sleep.
To stop grinding teeth when the condition is related to stress it may be addressed by participating in meditation, yoga, physical exercise, and using essential oils. This may be a good way to deal with the problems with teeth grinding that is caused by stress.
One cool natural option for treating bruxism can be increasing the intake of Vitamin C. It is important for the health of the adrenal glands and helps affect mood and emotions- it is also a key to the making of dopamine, which helps regulate moods.
These B vitamins are packed full of healthy antioxidants that help everything from blood flow to muscle spasms. This may help lessen the severity of bruxism and help to minimize the wear and tear your teeth are subjected to and offset the effects of some of the problems of teeth grinding.
While there are many people that have tried the above natural therapies, keep in mind these should not be used as a substitute for conventional dental treatment. A patient should be assessed as to the possible risks and benefits of such procedures and only after consultation with a dental care professional should any treatment be initiated.
Ending Thoughts and Precautions
Learning how to stop grinding teeth can go a long way in helping to relieve the symptoms and can also prevent long-term dental health complications. Tooth pain, stiff joints, mouth sores, and other issues can be caused by teeth grinding. If left untreated, sleep bruxism may cause major problems that can affect your overall health and wellbeing. It is important to find the right treatment. If you need help finding the best office to address your problems with teeth grinding, contact our team of experts at Kopp Dental – we would love the opportunity to show you how we can help! For the best local help for dental concerns big and small, there’s none better than Kopp Dental and we can help you combat the problems of teeth grinding today.