Teeth Grinding (Bruxism) Treatment
Some people grind their teeth when they’re asleep. Some people do so when they are awake, and some do both. The habit is called bruxism, and it can destroy your teeth and even cause jaw problems that require surgery.
If you grind your teeth when you are sleeping, you may not be aware that you do so. You might notice that your jaw is sore and tired when you wake up in the morning, or your dentist at Yaletown Laser & Cosmetic Dentistry might notice the signs of wear that indicate bruxism.
It’s not a habit to be taken lightly. You only get one set of permanent teeth. Bruxism wears them away. But luckily, there are ways to protect your teeth, and we’ve got some tips that might help you to kick the habit altogether.
Night Time Teeth Grinding: Protecting Your Teeth Comes First
Your dentist will suggest that you wear either a flexible mouth guard or a rigid plastic splint that fits over your teeth at night. The mouth guard is custom-made for your teeth and bite. An over-the-counter mouthguard won’t work as well, and if it is a poor fit, it can even force your teeth out of alignment with regular use.
Modern splints and mouthguards are very comfortable and not very bulky. Although it may feel a little strange at first, you’ll soon get used to sleeping with your mouthguard.
Tips That Might Help You to Stop Grinding Your Teeth at Night
Things like drinking coffee at night and alcohol or drug use can aggravate nighttime tooth grinding. Avoid coffee after lunch time and take a break from any other substance use.
You might stop grinding your teeth if you change your sleep position. To do this, you may need to prop yourself in place with pillows so that you don’t flip over into your regular sleep position. If you sleep on your stomach, try sleeping on your back for a change. If you sleep on your back with your head tilted forward onto your chest, try propping up your head so that it is tilted slightly back.
Both daytime and nighttime teeth grinding can often be linked to stress. Try easy stress relief habits like getting plenty of exercise, having a hot shower or bath before bed, reading, listening to music, deep breathing exercises, meditation, or yoga. If you are suffering from severe stress, consider seeing a therapist.
Daytime Tooth Grinding: Be Mindful
Daytime tooth grinding is very often stress-related, so consider using the destressing strategies we’ve just mentioned. Self-monitor to see what triggers your tooth grinding and when you need to be aware of the problem.
Since it’s difficult getting through the day with a mouthguard or splint in place, try exercises that relax your jaw muscles. Remember, when your facial muscles are at rest, your teeth should be slightly apart.
Medications are not ordinarily used to treat bruxism. If your jaw is swollen and painful, you can use ibuprofen to reduce the inflammation. However, it’s worth being aware that you can sustain a severe facial injury from tooth grinding. See your doctor or dentist if you believe that your jaw is inclined to click out of position at night or if you have bad swelling and inflammation.
There has been some success in treating people with TMJ – a condition in which the temporomandibular joint is affected by bruxism using Botox. But it’s not a permanent fix and is only used in the most severe cases of TMJ.
See Your Dentist Often
Tooth grinders place a lot of stress on their teeth. Apart from wearing away the enamel by grinding teeth, clenching teeth can cause them to crack or break. The jaw muscles are very strong indeed, and your habit weakens your teeth considerably.
As a result, you might need restorative dentistry and be more prone to cavities than people who don’t grind their teeth. Never miss a check-up and follow your dentist’s advice. Your dentist may be very skilled at repairing teeth, but he or she would rather help you to keep your teeth undamaged.
If you’re worried about bruxism, it’s time you saw your dentist. Make an appointment as soon as you can.