Do you often find yourself waking up to a sore, painful jaw, and can’t think of any possible reason why it’s happening? You may already be suffering from bruxism.

People who have this condition frequently grind their teeth while they sleep (a condition called sleep bruxism), so there’s a chance that they are completely unaware that they have it. If there’s a possibility that you have bruxism, it’s important to understand the condition, why it happens, and what you can do to prevent it. Otherwise, your teeth could end up severely damaged.

What is bruxism?

Bruxism is a broad medical term that indicates certain oral behaviors that involve the teeth and jaw, such as gnashing, grinding, clenching, and gritting. Some people experience bruxism only during sleep. It has many causes, including having an abnormal bite, misaligned teeth, and even high stress.

A Woman Experiences a Jaw Pain and Wonders What Could Be Causing It

Why is bruxism so bad?

Your teeth and jaw help you chew and speak, and the muscles that control them are some of the strongest in your body. If untreated, bruxism has the power to deal permanent damage to the affected teeth, bone and gum tissue. It can also lead to painful jaw issues, such as temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ).

Bruxism can affect not only your oral health, but your overall health as well. If the wear and tear on teeth is substantial, it can lead to cracking and chipping teeth, and even tooth loss. Bruxism also has the capacity to cause severe headaches, earaches, gum recession, and jaw inflammation.

How is bruxism treated?

There are different treatments for bruxism, depending on the cause of the problem. A visit to an Atlanta cosmetic dentist can help you arrive at the best solution for your situation. Based on the level of damage, your dentist may recommend any of the following.

  1. Mouthguard

If you suffer from sleep bruxism, you won’t be able to control your jaw movement. To protect your teeth while you sleep, you need to wear a mouthguard. It won’t solve your bruxism problem, but it can protect your teeth from uncontrollable gnashing and grinding. Your cosmetic dentist can give you mouthguard that’s custom-made to fit your mouth.

  1. Avoid stress

In some people, bruxism is caused by prolonged exposure to stressful life situations. If this your case, you need to find a way to avoid stress in your life. If avoiding stress can’t be helped, practicing ways to relax can do wonders to your bruxism problem. Many people find that meditation, yoga, and even a hot bath can reduce the effects of stress and induce relaxation.

  1. Get physical therapy

A physical therapist can teach you some jaw exercises to relieve tension, as well as tips to relax the jaw muscles.

  1. Get dental treatment from a dentist

If bruxism has already caused excessive wear to the teeth, certain restorative dental procedures can restore the appearance and even the function of damaged teeth. These include:

  • Dental bonding – involves the use of a dental resin that’s bonded to the tooth and then shaped until it matches the enamel.
  • Porcelain veneers – are thin porcelain sheets that are cemented to the surface of a cracked or chipped teeth to improve their appearance and function.
  • Caps and crowns – are able to protect teeth from further damage because they encase the entire surface of a damaged tooth.

An Atlanta cosmetic dentist such as Dr. Jeffery Ballard, DMD of Buckhead Dental Partners can provide you with additional treatment recommendations for your bruxism, as well as ways to alleviate its effects. Schedule your personal consultation to learn more about your condition and how it affects you.


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