admin Aug 11, 2021
It is common to clench your teeth or grind them when angry or using physical force to move an object. Thus, occasional grinding once or twice during the day is a part of our routine. However, if it becomes an ongoing habit known as bruxism, it can create dental problems.
When it happens during sleep time, it is called sleep or nocturnal bruxism, and when it occurs unknowingly during the day, it is called awake bruxism. Your dentist in Hope Island can detect the problem if they witness changes in the shape of your teeth or signs of any other tooth ailments.
The treatment offered by the practitioner is usually dependent on the cause of bruxism in the first place. Let us help you understand various procedures that can help you get rid of the habit.
1. Stress Relieving Activities
One of the common causes of bruxism is stress and anxiety. Awake bruxism is usually caused by spending your daytime in a stressful environment, such as a demanding job that includes emotionally distressing circumstances.
It can get extended to night bruxism. It can lead to various tooth problems, including pain in the jaw, erosion of tooth enamel, headache and even tooth loss. Thus, your dentist will advise stress-relieving techniques that involve yoga to reduce depression, meditation to feel relaxed and peaceful, and exercise for stressbusting after a long day at work. Many practitioners also suggest consulting a therapist to get rid of anxiety.
Mouthguards are often utilised by sportsmen and can be even prescribed to people who suffer from bruxism. It helps save teeth from wearing off due to constant grinding and clenching. A splint or a mouthguard separates the upper teeth and lower teeth without causing any discomfort.
It is either made from hard acrylic materials or a soft substance that can be placed over the lower or upper teeth. The dentist customises them to fit appropriately. However, the over-the-counter mouthguards are not customised and are not as effective as those specially designed for the patients.
Many people are not aware of this treatment, but biofeedback is quite effective in curing teeth grinding. It involves making the patient realise that they are grinding their teeth unintentionally, and it needs to stop. It is helpful in treating both sleep bruxism and awake bruxism.
A biofeedback therapist makes the patient control his/her jaw muscles with the help of the feedback produced through electromyography. However, this technology is still in its nascent stage, and the level of impact of biofeedback on bruxism is not yet determined.
4. Orthodontic Treatment
Some people have crooked or crowded teeth that create misalignment. It usually leads to misaligned biting and makes the person clench and often grind, which can cause awake bruxism.
In such cases, the dentist prescribes orthodontic procedures, such as Invisalign, which are clear tooth aligners that can be removed and put back in the mouth easily. Another way of treating crooked teeth is reductive coronoplasty that involves reducing the height of the teeth and levelling the jaw to align the teeth perfectly.
5. Oral Exercises
There are some jaw and tongue muscle exercises that can help with alignment and the relaxation of the jaw. A therapist can help you with the correct technique and reduce the tension in the muscles.
Massaging the jaw gently also helps in relaxing muscles and reducing stress. Your dentist will also teach you about the proper jaw position to reduce teeth grinding.
Although the efficacy of using medicines for bruxism is still being researched, some people try it to get rid of the problem. A few types of medicines can be taken to reduce teeth grinding, such as stress relieving tablets and anti-depressants for alleviating anxiety.
If the root cause of the problem is mental stress, these can be prescribed by the practitioner. However, these should be consumed for short-term only and should not be taken without the doctor’s recommendation.
7. Treating Sleep Disorder
It may seem surprising but many sleeping disorders are also responsible for night bruxism. These include sleep talking, snoring and sleep apnoea as it affects the breathing pattern while you are sleeping. Your dentist will suggest consulting a specialist for treatment.
8. Lifestyle Changes
Many people suffer from teeth grinding because of excessive use of tobacco or alcoholism. However, it affects very few people, and it may not be the case with every heavy drinker or chain smoker. If your dentist feels that it is because of your lifestyle choices, make efforts to change your habits.
9. Mandibular Advancement Devices
These devices are fitted into the mouth to bring the lower jaw forward when the patient is sleeping. It is usually prescribed when the cause of night bruxism is a sleep disorder. These devices ensure that the grinding pressure is distributed to reduce the impact on teeth and avoid enamel erosion or toothache.
Teeth grinding at night and during the day could result from a number of reasons. Thus, you must consult your dentist in Hope Island to identify the cause and get it treated before it escalates into a bigger problem.