The Crux of Bruxism
Some patients react to stress by grinding their teeth unconsciously during the day or, more commonly, while sleeping. The constant pressure and motion can harm teeth, as well as muscles and tissues in and around the jaw. The condition, known as bruxism, can sometimes be remedied with a nightguard but Tracey suggests that this approach is not a universal solution.

The Facts About Clenching & Grinding
Bruxism is known as a sleep disorder that manifests orally. Common symptoms of bruxism include a sore jaw, sore eyes, headaches or earaches, stiff neck muscles, and vivid dreams. Causes vary, but may include stress, anxiety, tension, misaligned teeth, posture, diet, sleeping habits, and other factors. Bruxism is most prevalent in adults but can be detected in children.

Individuals who react to stress with anger, pain, frustration, aggression, or competition are most commonly affected. People with bruxism may have other biting habits, such as biting fingernails, pencils, lips, or the insides of their cheeks.

Constant clenching and grinding of the teeth cannot only cause the aforementioned symptoms, but it may also contribute to TMJ (temporomandibular joint) dysfunction, which has a long list of side effects associated with pain in the head and neck. Teeth rubbing together consistently will result in surface wear over time, which will cause dental problems. Insomnia, eating disorders, and depression can result from bruxism left untreated.

A Solid Solution
How can you stop an unconscious habit? A thorough evaluation will allow us to check your teeth, tissues, and muscles. If we determine that you suffer from bruxism, we will recommend alternative therapies including referrals to specialists to help treat the symptoms. An orthotic appliance may be recommended (also called a nightguard or splint) to prevent grinding and clenching. Many types of nightguards exist. These may include mouth-formed guards also known as Boil & Bites. Patients may react differently to the various styles. If one appliance does not work, another may. In many cases, simply wearing a nightguard will eliminate the problem. However, if the condition persists, we can prescribe alternative therapies to correct the issue.

Some practices that can relieve symptoms of bruxism include stress and anxiety management, focused facial relaxation, massage and stretching of face and neck muscles, applying ice or wet heat, proper rest, eating soft foods, and hydrating the body. If your teeth were damaged because of bruxism, or if we find TMJ to be a factor, we will help treat you to provide complete relief.