For many people, gnashing and grinding teeth is a subject of biblical proportions. After all, several scriptures reference gnashing of the teeth with suffering souls in hell. Theological scholars have weighed in with its metaphorical meaning of collision, pain, falsity and struggle. That’s some heavy subject matter!
What Does it Really Mean?
Most of us are probably looking for something a little less ecclesiastical and simply need to know the facts about this condition. Grinding of the teeth is more commonly known as bruxism. This is often an involuntary movement, and often times, it happens during sleep. Many sufferers of bruxism are not even aware this is happening until someone else points it out.
How Do I Know if I Grind My Teeth?
If you have a spouse, and they haven’t told you already, ask them to let you know if you’re grinding your teeth at night. It is common that if you are a bruxer, you are actually making sounds as you sleep.
What if you sleep alone? If you are uncertain that you suffer from bruxism, some of the common signs of this condition include the following: teeth that appear worn down or chipped, sensitive teeth, tightness in the jaw, earaches, headaches, or pain and discomfort when chewing. Sometimes the best solution is to ask your dental professional if they see any signs of wear.
Causes of bruxism vary, but for most people, it is caused by bouts of anxiety and stress. In others, it may simply be due to a misalignment of the upper and lower teeth. Bruxism has also been identified as a side-effect of Parkinson’s disease, and in rare instances, it is a potential side effect of certain medications.
When to Worry
For many people, bruxism is related to stressful situations, but if the condition becomes chronic, some possible complications are possible. In addition to erosion of the teeth, sufferers report headaches and TMJ pain, which affects the opening and closing of the jaw.
You really need to relax!
If someone tells you that you really need to relax, your first instinct might be to laugh it off! But maybe you should give this advice some serious consideration. One of the most important things you can do to eliminate bruxism is manage your stress. Here, the possible therapies are endless. Exercise, counseling, relaxation, biofeedback and medication are but a few ideas to help tackle this problem.
Your dentist can really make a difference
In addition to the above suggestions, your dentist has a number of therapies he or she can prescribe. This includes prescription mouth guards or splints that can prevent erosion of the teeth. Sometimes more aggressive therapy may be called for. If your teeth are crooked and are a contributing factor to bruxism, you will likely need to address the uneven surfaces in your mouth.
Unsure About What to do Next?
Cindy Flanagan, DDS can help! Don’t self-diagnose, seek qualified medical advice.
Original Source: http://flanagansmiles.com/cosmetic-dentistry/bruxism