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Causes and Consequences of Bruxism and How to Treat It

January 25, 2016
Posted By: Dr. Russell D. Mann
tmj | bruxism | manchester nh

Your stress level could be affecting your nutrition, by way of your teeth and bruxism.
Ever have a pain in your jaw joint? It’s one of the most intrusive joint issues you can have because it affects how and what you eat. You may avoid foods that are difficult for you to chew, or not eat as much as you need to because of the pain. Obviously, this is not a good thing. Altering your diet because of pain will not solve the problem, and can cause a lot more harm than good.

The pain in your jaw joint could be TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder, or it could be caused by bruxism or both. Bruxism is a paroxysmal disorder that is characterized by the clenching or grinding of your teeth, and it can lead to TMJ disorder. If the cause is TMJ and bruxism, you should see your dentist can get this pain solved through treatment.

The leading cause of bruxism is anxiety and stress. High-stress levels can cause you to grind your teeth as you sleep without even knowing it. If you start to notice symptoms like flattened teeth, fractured or chipped teeth, increased sensitivity, jaw pain, tired jaw muscles, and dull headaches, you probably have bruxism. Sometimes the grinding of your teeth can be rather loud, and it could wake up your partner.

You need to see your dentist if you are suffering from these symptoms. The longer you wait, the more damage you could do to your teeth, jaw and overall health.

There are treatments we prescribe to treat bruxism. One is a splint or a mouth guard, which are designed to keep your teeth separated while you sleep. They can be hard acrylic or soft, and they are fitted to your teeth by your dentist.

Another treatment can include correcting the alignment of your teeth. You could need braces or Invisalign to correct your bite. In severe cases, you would need to have your teeth reshaped with crowns.

While these treatments can help with bruxism and all the symptoms it causes, it does not address the underlying cause; most commonly, stress and anxiety. To lower your stress level, you’ll need to implement a type of stress management, such as exercise or meditation.

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