Bruxism Specialist
Everyone clenches their teeth from time to time, but if you are clenching and grinding your teeth frequently, perhaps even while you sleep, you have bruxism. Bruxism can wear away your teeth and cause headaches and other symptoms. Erik Unger, DDS, a Board Certified Periodontist offers compassionate diagnoses and treatments for bruxism at Happy Valley Smiles Dentistry in Glendale, Arizona.

Bruxism Q & A

Happy Valley Smiles

What is bruxism?

Bruxism is the technical name for chronic teeth grinding. While we all clench or grind our teeth every now and then, doing it continually can damage the tooth, even to the point of losing it.

Bruxism isn’t something you do on purpose, although it may develop into a habit. However, in many cases, it’s due to either an abnormality in your oral structure or stress and anxiety. It affects children as well as adults.

What are symptoms of bruxism?

If you have bruxism, you probably regularly wake up with a sore jaw and a low-grade headache. You may also have sore teeth. It’s common to have restless sleep and experience daytime fatigue as a result of grinding your teeth at night.

If your bruxism isn’t treated, your symptoms can progress to include chronic jaw pain, tooth damage, and hearing problems. Bruxism can lead to TMJ disorders.

Dr. Unger often notices symptoms of bruxism such as uneven wear on your teeth, fractured teeth, and loose teeth.

What causes bruxism?

Many factors can contribute to bruxism. For example, bruxism is closely associated with other sleep disorders like obstructive sleep apnea and parasomnias like sleep-walking or talking in your sleep.

Structural abnormalities in your jaw and teeth can also cause teeth grinding. If your teeth don’t fit together properly when you close your mouth, you may subconsciously grind them together to get a natural bite.

Your lifestyle can also lead to bruxism. If you smoke, use excessive amounts of caffeine or alcohol, or if you use medications for depression and anxiety, these substances affect your normal sleep patterns and are known to cause sleep disorders.

How is bruxism treated?

Dr. Unger tailors treatment for bruxism to your specific situation. Many people get protection while they sleep by wearing a mouth guard, which keeps teeth from grinding together. Dr. Unger often suggests lifestyle adjustments to increase relaxation while decreasing nighttime tension that disrupts your sleep. Dietary changes including a reduction of caffeine can improve your sleep and reduce bruxism.

If your bruxism comes from an abnormality in your oral structure, Dr. Unger offers corrective treatments, which include braces or other orthodontic treatment or physical therapy to realign your jaw. In severe cases, Dr. Unger recommends surgery to correct the position or shape of your jaw.

Call or schedule a consultation online today if you’re concerned about bruxism.

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