Bruxism is a common condition in which adults and children grind or clench their teeth. Patients who have bruxism subconsciously clench their teeth during the day, or grind them at night. Although bruxism is caused by a number of factors such as stress and anxiety, it occurs more often while a patient is asleep and may also be the result of a sleeping disorder such as sleep apnoea.
Because bruxism involves grinding of the teeth, the tooth enamel starts to wear off after a while, leaving the dentine exposed. This can result in tooth fractures and even tooth loss. In severe cases, bruxism may also affect an individual’s jaw, as well as change their appearance. Mild bruxism may not require any treatment, however, if a patient frequently grinds or clenches their teeth, it could lead to severe headaches and other problems.
Most people are unaware that they have bruxism because it mainly takes place at night while an individual is sleeping. However, experiencing a dull headache or a sore jaw in the morning, is a clear indication of bruxism. Once these symptoms start to arise, it is advised that treatment is sought, as well as regular dental care.
If you suspect that you may have mild bruxism, follow these simple tips:
- Cut back on any food or beverages that contain caffeine.
- Avoid alcohol, as this intensifies teeth grinding.
- Refrain from chewing anything that is not food (anything such as pencils or pens)
- Hold a warm washcloth against your cheek at night to relax your jaw.
For severe cases of bruxism, contact your dentist immediately so that he or she may start treating this condition before it causes irreversible and expensive damage. Contact us for a dentist in Cape Town who is renowned for treating bruxism in patients of all ages.
WebMD “Teeth Grinding Bruxism”
Mayo Clinic “Bruxism (Teeth Grinding)”
Colgate “Bruxism (Teeth Grinding)”