Teeth grinding or bruxism is a highly common anomaly, affecting children and adults similarly. Most people do not even know if they are grinding their teeth, given that it happens mostly in their sleep. There are some tell-tale signs, however, that may rise suspicions. Fortunately, there are remedies for the issue, whether it is provoked by physical or psychological factors.
Main Causes of Teeth Grinding
Gnashing of teeth can be brought about by a myriad of different causes. Sometimes it is simply a result of excessively firm masseter muscles that cannot be relaxed properly. Fillings, inlays, crowns or dentures that are too high might also provoke bruxism, caused by the irritating feeling that something unusual is in the mouth. Sometimes an irregular jaw structure or asymmetrical lower and upper teeth can also trigger teeth grinding. Psychological issues, such as anxiety, stress or sleep disorders might also be contributing factors.
How to Recognize if We Grind Our Teeth?
Bruxism almost exclusively occurs during sleep, therefore, it is not always obvious if we are affected by it. Waking up tired with a dull headache and sore muscles in our neck, shoulders and back might be a sign that we gnash our teeth. Tinnitus and pain in our sinus is also a red flag that we have bruxism. In the most severe cases broken, loose or worn down teeth refer to this anomaly.
Bruxism can do serious damage. The pressure our teeth suffer can be as large as 40 kilograms per square centimetre, which is a much more excessive load than during biting or chewing. This wears down teeth to an extent that sometimes only the root remains, while also straining the joints of our jaw. The latter causes constant pain, and might also result in lockjaw, when the patient cannot open his mouth at all. This is a serious medical condition, which requires instant care.
Treatments Against Teeth Grinding
Fortunately, in modern dentistry many treatments are available to help patients with this problem. Teeth grinding caused by physical factors can be treated with a special kind of mouth guard called nocturnal bite plate or bite splint. These are to be worn by night during sleep, helping to prevent gnashing of teeth and protecting them from serious damage. This simple piece of plastic usually terminates all symptoms, and guarantees peaceful relaxation at night. If the upper and lower teeth do not close together perfectly, or the jaw joint is unable to function properly, the problem can usually be treated by orthodontic devices.
Psychological factors can also be a contributing factor to teeth grinding. Effects of anxiety and stress usually emerge during night, in the form of bruxism. Mild cases are easily treated with meditation techniques and by creating a calm, cosy atmosphere in the bedroom, eliminating all disturbing elements. More serious cases might require the help of a psychologist or psychiatrist, who are generally able to discover underlying problems, solving the issue completely.
If you think you are affected by this problem, do not hesitate to book an appointment at Forest & Ray Dental Budapest in the heart of the city.