When you first wake up in the morning, do you happen to notice any pain or discomfort in your mouth and jaw? If you are rising out of bed with dull to sharp pain that starts in your jaw but may radiate up to your temples or into your ears, then there is a high likelihood that you may have a condition known as bruxism.
Bruxism is a fairly common condition that affects both children and adults, but children are more likely to suffer from it. If left untreated, bruxism can cause several painful and harmful side effects, which is why we here at Encino Cosmetic Dentistry advise that anyone who may be demonstrating these symptoms come in for an assessment for diagnosis and treatment for this condition.
What is Bruxism?
Bruxism is a condition that causes the individual to clench or grind their teeth. While many people may do this while awake, and not even be aware they are grinding or clenching their teeth, bruxism is also quite common during sleep, too. Bruxism is considered a type of sleep disorder, and it is believed that nearly 1 in 5 adult Americans suffers from it. For children, these numbers can range as high as 1 in 3 suffering from bruxism.
What are the Causes and Symptoms of Bruxism?
Bruxism can go undetected for a very long time, and many people are often surprised to be told that they have this condition. The symptoms of bruxism can vary from person to person, but indications that a person may have it can include pain in the jaw, an unexplained earache that does not want to go away, a headache that seems focused around the temples, and tightness in the jaw muscles.
Sometimes, a significant other may notice that their partner is grinding and clenching in their sleep and might report it to them. Bruxism can lead to teeth that are worn down and chipped and may eventually become loose. The inside of the cheeks may have cuts or lacerations on them from accidentally chewing on them, too.
The causes of bruxism are not very well known, but there are many different things that often point to it. Stress is considered a major factor that can lead to bruxism, but age is also a consideration, too. Men are more likely than women to suffer from bruxism, and if you have family members that grind or clench their teeth, then you may be at increased risk. “Type A” personalities are also more likely to have bruxism, and certain medications or substances (like alcohol or tobacco products) can increase the risk of bruxism.
How is Bruxism Treated?
Depending on the severity of the bruxism, there are many different treatment options available. In some cases, bruxism can go away on its own. However, for others, intervention may be necessary. For some patients, therapy can be beneficial to teach them how to manage their stress better. Nighttime mouth guards can also help address the clenching and grinding, and some patients may benefit from medication. Addressing the underlying cause of the bruxism can also help treat the symptoms of it.
If you would like to learn more about bruxism, or you suspect that you may be suffering from it and you would like to set up an appointment with us here at Encino Cosmetic Dentistry, please give us a call at (818) 783-0408 today!