Bruxism is a chronic condition in which a patient unconsciously grinds his or her teeth during sleep. While the teeth-grinder is unlikely to notice it as it happens, bed partners often report that the patient’s grinding is severe enough to awaken them. Over time, all of this scraping and clenching can wear down the patient’s teeth. Fortunately, there is help available for this debilitating but common condition.
Why Do I Grind My Teeth?
The causes of bruxism are complex, and it’s not entirely clear why some people grind their teeth and others don’t. However, we do know that teeth grinding is more common in individuals who:
- Suffer from a misaligned bite
- Experience stress
- Have crooked or missing teeth
- Take certain prescription drugs
- Consume caffeine or alcohol in excess
Keep in mind that these risk factors are more associative than causative.
What are the Symptoms of Bruxism?
In most cases, the patient who grinds his or her teeth remains blissfully unaware that it’s happening, at least in the moment. More often, the bruxism sufferer experiences mysterious daytime symptoms that may or may not seem related to the teeth. Such symptoms include:
- Chronic headaches
- Pain in the jaw or face
- Tightness in the jaw, or difficulty chewing
- Damaged or worn teeth
Patients who grind their teeth at night may wake up with a tired, sore jaw, similar to what one experiences when eating very chewy food. Grinding one’s teeth is a lot of work, and it often shows the next day. Teeth grinding is also closely related to temporomandibular joint disorders, or TMJ, and bruxism may cause or exacerbate TMJ disorders.
How is Bruxism Treated?
Unfortunately, treating teeth grinding is often a complex process, but our patients from Calgary who successfully find relief report that it’s worth the effort. Over-the-counter pain relievers can mask some of the acute symptoms, but permanent relief requires a more comprehensive approach. Some of the therapies we have successfully employed at the Aesthetic Dental Studio include:
- Orthodontic treatment
- Dental implants
Dr. Chee approaches every bruxism case with a custom approach to offer the best, longest-lasting results possible.
If bruxism is disturbing you or your partner’s sleep, it’s time to take action. Please contact the Aesthetic Dental Studio today by calling 403-543-4600 or by completing the form on this page to schedule an appointment with Dr. Chee. We welcome patients from Cochrane and neighboring communities in Alberta.