Bruxism (BRUK-siz-um) is a condition in which you grind, clench, or gnash your teeth. Those that have bruxism may unconsciously clench their teeth when awake (awake bruxism) or clench or grind them while sleeping (sleep bruxism).
Sleep bruxism is considered a sleep-related movement disorder and sufferers are more likely to have other disorders, such as sleep apnea or snoring. In some people, bruxism can be severe enough that it leads to headaches, damaged teeth, various jaw disorders and assorted other problems that can be painful and costly.
Because you may suffer from sleep bruxism and be completely unaware of it until you develop complications, it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of bruxism and to seek regular dental care.
Including but not limited to:
- Teeth clenching or grinding – may be loud enough to wake sleep partner
- Worn tooth enamel – teeth with exposed deeper layers
- Teeth that are chipped, fractured, flattened or loose
- Dull headache that starts in the temples
- Tight or tired jaw muscles – sore/locked jaw that won’t close or open completely
- Neck, face or jaw soreness/pain
- Increased tooth pain or sensitivity
- Cheek damage from chewing on the inside of it
- Pain that feels like an earache but isn’t a problem with your ear
- Disruption of sleep
In most instances bruxism doesn’t result in serious complications. However, severe cases can lead to the following:
- Severe jaw or facial pain
- Damage to your teeth, crowns, restorations or jaw
- Tension headaches
- TMJ – may sound like clicking when you close and open your mouth
Bruxism Risk Factors
The following can increase your risk:
- Stress – increased stress, anxiety, anger and frustration can lead to teeth grinding
- Age – Generally bruxism is common in young children but usually disappears by adulthood
- Heredity – Sleep bruxism is prone to occur in families. If you suffer from bruxism, your children or other members of your family may also.
- Other disorders – Bruxism can be associated with some mental health and medical disorders, such as epilepsy, gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD), night terrors, dementia, and Parkinson’s disease. As well as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and sleep-related disorders such as sleep apnea.
- Mediations or other substances – Bruxism can be an uncommon side effect with some psychiatric medications, such as certain antidepressants. Drinking alcohol or caffeinated beverages, smoking, and using recreational drugs can increase your risk of bruxism.
- Personality – A competitive, aggressive, or hyperactive personality may increase your risk as well.
The offices of Joshua M. Ignatowicz, DMD is a state-of-the-art dental practice and we are committed to providing you with the highest quality dental advice and care in an environment that is both warm and welcoming. If you or anyone in your family suffers from bruxism, or you’re seeing any of the symptoms discussed above, please visit us today to set up an examination.