Teeth Grinding

woman with teeth grinding jaw pain

Teeth Grinding Treatment in Bowmanville ON

Bruxism is the medical term for teeth grinding, gnashing or clenching your teeth. The condition affects both children and adults.  It is very common.

Some people with bruxism unconsciously clench their teeth together during the day, often when they feel anxious or tense. This is different from teeth grinding or clenching that occurs at night, which is called sleep bruxism. Most children who are bruxers do so at night, while adults can be either daytime or nighttime bruxers, or both daytime and nightime bruxers.

Bruxism may be mild and may not even require treatment. However, it can be frequent and severe enough to lead to jaw disorders, headaches, worn, loose or damaged teeth and other problems. Unfortunately, people who are teeth grinding at night usually aren’t aware it, so they aren’t diagnosed with the condition until complications occur. That’s why it’s important to know the signs and symptoms of bruxism and to visit your dentist regularly, who can see the signs on your teeth.

Symptoms of teeth grinding & signs you may need a night guard:

  • Teeth grinding or clenching, which may be loud enough to wake your sleeping partner
  • Teeth that are worn down, flattened or chipped
  • Worn tooth enamel, exposing the inside of your tooth making your tooth sensitive
  • Jaw pain or tightness in your jaw muscles
  • Earache — because of severe jaw muscle contractions, not a problem with your ear
  • Headache
  • Chronic facial pain
  • Chewed tissue on the inside of your cheek

Doctors don’t completely understand the causes of bruxism. For daytime bruxism, it has been thought that abnormal alignment of upper and lower teeth (malocclusion) may contribute to the problem, though this hasn’t been confirmed in research studies. Sleep bruxism is believed to be related to changes that occur during sleep cycles in some individuals, and this is an active area of current research.

In adults, psychological factors seem to be associated with teeth grinding, including:

  • Anxiety, stress or tension
  • Suppressed anger or frustration
  • Aggressive, competitive or hyperactive personality type

In children, bruxism may be related to growth and development of the jaws and teeth. Some researchers think children brux because their top and bottom teeth don’t fit together comfortably as they are erupting.  Others believe that children grind their teeth because of tension, anger, or as a response to pain from an earache or teething. While bruxism has been reported to occur in up to 30 percent of children, often in children under the age of 5, most children outgrow bruxism before they get their adult teeth.

In some cases, bruxism isn’t caused by stress or dental problems. It can be a complication of another disorder, such as Huntington’s disease or Parkinson’s disease. It can also be an uncommon side effect of some psychiatric medications including certain antidepressants.

When to seek treatment for teeth grinding habits

Bruxism often goes unnoticed. See your dentist if you have worn teeth or pain in your jaw, face or ear. Also consult your dentist if your bed partner complains that you make a grinding noise while you sleep.  If you notice that your child is grinding his or her teeth — or has other signs or symptoms of this condition — be sure to mention it at your  next dental appointment.

Night guards are a simple and non invasive preventative treatment.   They simply require taking an impression to make an acrylic mold of your teeth.  You wear the custom molded guard at night and reduce pain,strain and symptoms.  Most insurance plans cover the cost of a night guard.

You may be a single appointment away from being headache free, and keeping your teeth healthier, longer.  We are here to help you keep your smile healthy for life.  We offer complete family dental & orthodontic treatment in one convenient office.  We are open early mornings, late evenings and weekends to fit your busy life.  We accept payment direct from your insurance company.  

Schedule Your Dental Exam & Consultation – Call Bowmanville Dental at 905-697-9799 now.