If your spouse or significant other has woken you up in the middle of the night because they could hear you grinding your teeth, then you may suffer from a condition called bruxism. Since nearly 8% of Americans have bruxism, it may be worth looking into. Bruxism is a condition that is caused by frequent tooth grinding and it can result in a variety of different issues, both big and small.
What Happens to Your Teeth If You Have Bruxism?
One of the best ways for your dentist to determine whether or not you have this condition is to do a quick examination of your teeth. During the exam, they will look for different signs of wear and tear caused by bruxism which include:
- Cracked, chipped, or flattened teeth
- Worn-down enamel that will ultimately start to expose sensitive parts of your teeth
- Loss of sleep at night because of the constant discomfort of grinding your teeth
What Are Symptoms of Bruxism?
The tricky thing about diagnosing bruxism is that a lot of the symptoms could be attributed to something else entirely. Symptoms of bruxism include:
- Frequent and chronic headaches
- Jaw and neck pain
- Earache ain
- Tooth sensitivity
- Being woken up in the middle of the night because of pain and discomfort
If you do start to experience any or all of these symptoms, reach out to your dentist as soon as possible for a brief dental exam.
How Can You Treat Bruxism?
One of the best ways that dentists recommend to treat bruxism is a custom mouth guard (not one that you pick up from the pharmacy). A custom fit mouthguard will act as a cushion between your top and bottom teeth while you're sleeping so that you don't damage them anymore. Although it may take some time to get used to, as long as you are consistent with wearing it you should see some improvement. In some instances, if your dentist determines that the grinding is caused by a misaligned jaw then your dentist may recommend orthodontia like braces.
Once you have been diagnosed with bruxism, your dentist may recommend treatment right away so that the problem doesn't get worse and your teeth don't get even more damaged. If you want to learn a little bit more about bruxism and bruxism treatment options, or for a general examination, reach out to a dentist in your area for more information.