We already told you that you grind your teeth at night? Your jaw hurts you sometimes?
What is bruxism?
Bruxism is the clenching or grinding of one’s teeth, which usually occurs during sleep. The forces applied to the teeth during bruxism can be enormous, and often surpass the adaptation capacity of the teeth and jaws and lead to dental problems.
What cause the bruxism?
Bruxism is a very common habit, which affects approximately 20% of the population. The main cause of this problem is stress.
How can I know if I grind my teeth?
Since bruxism usually manifests itself during sleep, it is very difficult for you to know if you are affected. In the short term, bruxism usually causes no symptoms or very subtle ones, which may include:
- Sensitivity of the teeth to cold or when chewing
- Stiffness of the mastication muscles (especially in the morning)
- Grinding noises can sometimes be heard by a sleeping partner
What are the long-term effects of grinding?
Since bruxism rarely causes pain, it usually goes unnoticed by patients. The dentist is often the first to detect the problem, which in the long term can cause the following signs:
- Excessive wear (attrition) of the teeth (which can lead to esthetic and functional problems)
- Loosening of the teeth
- Weakening of the teeth, leading to fissures and tooth fractures
- Receding gums
- Cracking of the jaw joints
- Significant acceleration of the progression of periodontal disease (infection of the gums and jawbone)
How can I control my bruxism habit?
Since bruxism usually occurs during sleep, it is impossible for you to consciously control it. Therefore, the best approach to minimize the negative impact of bruxism on your dentition is to wear an occlusal night guard. This is a small appliance that is placed between your upper and lower teeth during sleep.
The goals of this appliance are to reduce grinding and to protect your teeth against the forces created by the latter. However, since the night guard simply controls the effects of grinding without eliminating its cause (stress), it is only effective as long as it is worn. This, therefore, implies a long-term commitment on your part to wearing the appliance every night.