Sometimes, people grind their teeth without any ensuing problems. However, if a person has regular, persistent teeth grinding, it can cause a lot of jaw pain and discomfort. What’s more, it will eventually wear down their teeth and have a host of other symptoms like headaches and earache.
You probably never heard of it before, but bruxism is the term the medical community give to teeth grinding and jaw clenching. And you may not know it, but you could possibly be suffering from it. That’s because around 80% of people that suffer from bruxism grind their teeth while they sleep!
The remaining 20% of people with bruxism are affected while they are awake. In those cases, the symptoms are typically jaw clenching rather than teeth grinding.
Why do people suffer from bruxism?
One fact about bruxism is that there can be a variety of different causes. The main ones tend to be:
- Stress and anxiety;
- Antipsychotic and antidepressant drugs;
- Substance abuse;
- Smoking and drinking.
As one can note from the above list, the good news is that most of the reasons are down to lifestyle choices rather than pre-existing medical conditions.
Bruxism affects millions of men and women each year, with most sufferers in the 25-44 age range.
Typical symptoms of bruxism
The most common symptoms of bruxism are usually facial pain, headaches, and worn-down teeth. Facial pain symptoms tend to disappear once the teeth grinding stops. However, others such as worn-down teeth are permanent and often require dental treatment.
Bruxism sufferers can also experience other symptoms, such as:
- Tightness and stiffness in the shoulders;
- Fractured dental fillings;
- Tooth sensitivity;
- Difficulty opening your mouth.
Stress: the leading cause of bruxism
The thing about stress and anxiety is that it can affect people in many different ways. With bruxism, individuals with raised stress levels tend to grind their teeth a lot, usually when they are asleep. It’s usually the partners of sufferers that notice this symptom, as it can often keep them awake at night!
It’s no secret that today’s busy world can often be demanding for those in the workplace. As a result, people need an outlet to help ease their stress. Bruxism can be that outlet for millions of individuals.
Getting treatment for bruxism
The good news is that bruxism is something that can get treated. As you may have guessed, the first thing to do is pinpoint the exact cause of the teeth grinding and jaw clenching. Once that’s done, a suitable treatment plan with or without medicine can take place.
A dentist may also advise that sufferers get an occlusal splint. In a nutshell, it’s the medical term given to a “night guard” that you put on your teeth before you go sleep. Its job is to help protect teeth from any further grinding due to bruxism.
In some severe cases, it may be necessary to bruxism sufferers to have dental work done on their teeth. The type of work required could vary from some simple fillings through to crowns or even extractions.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is often used as part of a treatment plan for bruxism sufferers. It helps patients to change the way they think about certain situations, lowering their stress levels and improving their moods.
I hope you’ve found today’s blog post on bruxism enlightening. Thank you for reading it.