Bruxism is the technical term for teeth grinding, a common problem that is made worse by the fact that many people do it while they are sleeping and don’t even realize it. Habitual teeth grinding can wear down your teeth and cause stress on your jaws. In addition to dental problems, it can lead to temporomandibular joint disorder, a painful condition that causes jaw pain, headaches and other pain around the head and neck.
Bruxism is common in children, though they often outgrow it. Young children often begin nighttime grinding when their baby teeth begin to come in and then again when they get their permanent teeth. If a child complains of painful jaws or headaches after they have had their permanent teeth for some time, they may still be grinding their teeth at night.
In adults, bruxism is sometimes caused by stress, especially daytime grinding. You may find yourself grinding or clenching your teeth during the day. If you seem to do this habitually, you can try to make yourself stop. Nighttime grinding is somewhat of a mystery to science and uncontrollable by the person who does it. It may be stress-related or caused by crooked teeth or a bad bite. It is known that drinking coffee or alcohol late at night tends to increase the likelihood of grinding during sleep.
If you have frequent headaches, jaw pain, popping sounds when you open and close your jaws or if know that you clench your teeth frequently during the day, you might have bruxism or TMJ disorder. Teeth grinding can be stopped and TMJ symptoms can be relieved by wearing a special dental appliance while you sleep. The appliance is a mouthpiece that is called a splint. It prevents grinding and positions your teeth and jaws correctly so that stress on your jaws is alleviated.
Dr. Aman in Leesburg can see the signs of bruxism by examining your teeth. If you or your child has worn down teeth from grinding, working on stopping the grinding can prevent your teeth from becoming more damaged. In the case of crooked teeth or a misaligned bite, having the teeth straightened often stops nighttime teeth grinding.
If you want to learn more about bruxism and its treatment, call Dr. Aman’s office for a consultation appointment.