Bruxism is the unconscious grinding of the teeth. For most patients, the teeth grinding occurs at night while they sleep. Headaches, a sore jaw, a stiff jaw and broken and cracked teeth are some of the telltale symptoms of bruxism.
If you’ve been diagnosed with bruxism, you may be overwhelmed by the multiple treatment options available. There is no cure for bruxism, but many treatment options are available that reduce the triggers of the teeth grinding.
There are many causes of bruxism including stress, sleep apnea, habits, psychological disorders and dental occlusions issues.
The treatment options for bruxism fall into two main categories, both of which target the triggering symptoms that cause bruxism.
Examples of both kinds of bruxism treatment are listed below in their corresponding categories. Depending on your specific bruxism case, you may either be better treated with a treatment option that reduces the occurrence of bruxism or with a treatment option that reduces the severity of the bruxism symptoms. It is not uncommon for treatments of both the symptoms and the occurrence of the bruxism to be prescribed at the same time.
Bruxism Treatments That Target the Symptoms of The Disorder
· Using a warm, wet washcloth on the jaw
· Applying ice cubes or an ice pack to the jaw
· Massaging and stretching jaw muscles, the neck, and face to relieve trigger point tension
· Getting physical therapy
· Doing exercises to relax the jaw
· Focused facial relaxation
· Visiting a chiropractor
· Using muscle relaxants to relax the jaw
· Crowning teeth
· Tooth reconstructive surgery
Bruxism Treatments That Target the Disorder Itself
· Stress and anxiety reduction and management
· Drinking more water
· Getting more sleep
· Eating soft foods
· Not chewing gum or on other objects
· Consciously relaxing the face and jaw throughout the day
· Buying a teeth grinding mouth guard (you can also get a customized night one at your dentist)
· Avoiding alcohol, which increases the urge to clench the teeth
· Avoiding caffeine, which can make you jumpy and tense
· Buying dental splints
You should discuss all your bruxism treatment options with your dentist. The best treatment option will depend on the severity of your bruxism, how often it occurs, the extent of the damage it has caused, your personal preferences, the length of the treatment and the costs of the treatment.
It is not uncommon for patients to be unaware they have bruxism because they don’t experience any of the noticeable symptoms. For these patients, it is important they have regular dental check-ups and cleanings at their dentist’s office. A dentist can identify the wear and tear of the teeth because of bruxism.
Bruxism isn’t a dental issue to be ignored. The pain can be severe and uncomfortable and the damage it causes to the teeth and gums can lead to tooth loss, broken teeth and weakened gums that can be more susceptible to gum disease.