How to Treat and Manage Bruxism (Teeth Grinding): A Comprehensive Guide

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Do you find yourself grinding your teeth or clench your jaw without realizing it? Chances are, you may be suffering from Bruxism aka teeth grinding. Bruxism is a fairly common condition affecting up to 10% of adults and 8% of children worldwide. It is related to a variety of underlying health issues and it can cause serious oral health conditions if not treated promptly. Fortunately, there are various treatments available to help manage and reduce the symptoms of Bruxism. In this article, we will take a comprehensive look at how to treat and manage Bruxism (Teeth Grinding): a guide.

What is Bruxism?

Bruxism is a medical condition where the sufferer grinds their teeth together or clenches their jaw uncontrollably. It can cause severe jaw and teeth pain and can lead to serious oral health problems such as teeth wear, headaches, gum disease, jaw joint disorders, and temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ). In extreme cases, Bruxism can even lead to tooth loss.

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Bruxism can have a psychological origin, as well. Many people who clinched their teeth and grind them during the day or while they are asleep are simply under constant stress and anxiety.

Causes of Bruxism

Bruxism is caused by several things. It can be genetic, or caused by a combination of psychological and physical factors such as stress, sleep problems, teeth misalignment, unhealthy gum tissue or even changes in your diet.

Signs and Symptoms of Bruxism

The most common signs and symptoms of Bruxism are:

  • Pain while chewing: People with Bruxism often experience pain in their jaw muscles, neck muscles and even headaches due to jaw clenching.
  • Frequent headaches: Frequent headaches and migraine-like pain can be an indication of Bruxism.
  • Grinding or clenching teeth: This is the most common symptom, and it can even be heard in some cases.
  • Damage to teeth: In extreme cases, a person with Bruxism can suffer from teeth wear, cracking, chipping, and even loosening of the teeth.

Diagnosing Bruxism

To diagnose Bruxism, your dentist will do a thorough examination of your teeth, jaws, and TMJ. Your dentist will also ask questions about your dental and medical history. If your dentist suspects that you have Bruxism, they may refer you to a specialist for a psychological evaluation.

Treating Bruxism: A Comprehensive Guide

There are several treatments available for Bruxism — both medical and lifestyle.

1. Medical Treatments

Your doctor may recommend medications such as muscle relaxants, antidepressants, and anticonvulsants to help reduce the symptoms of Bruxism. These medications work by relaxing the muscles of your jaw and reducing stress and anxiety, which can help reduce or stop the grinding or clenching.

2. Lifestyle Changes

In addition to medical treatments, making lifestyle changes to reduce stress and manage other underlying conditions can also help manage Bruxism.

  • Stress management: Managing stress and anxiety can help reduce Bruxism. Relaxation techniques, such as yoga, meditation and cognitive behavioural therapy, can be beneficial in reducing stress.
  • Avoiding certain drugs: Certain drugs such as stimulants, narcotics, and antidepressants can worsen the symptoms of Bruxism.
  • Maintaining a healthy diet: Eating a balanced diet and avoiding acidic and sugary snacks can help in reducing the symptoms of Bruxism.
  • Avoiding alcohol: Alcohol can worsen the symptoms of Bruxism, so it is best to avoid it if you are suffering from the condition.

3. Oral Appliances

Your dentist may recommend an oral appliance such as a splint or night guard to help reduce the effects of Bruxism. A custom-made nightguard can help position the jaw properly and reduce the pressure on the muscles, which can help reduce the grinding.

Conclusion

Bruxism can be a difficult condition to manage, but the good news is that it has various treatments and lifestyle remedies that can help reduce and manage the symptoms. If you are suffering from Bruxism, it is important to seek medical advice and to make the necessary lifestyle changes to reduce the symptoms. With the right treatment and lifestyle changes, you can manage and reduce the effects of Bruxism.

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