Symptoms of Bruxism

Bruxism is more commonly known as teeth grinding. Teeth grinding is most commonly caused by stress or anxiety, but it may also point to other dental health problems such as an abnormal bite, missing teeth, or damaged teeth. Teeth grinding can occur in both the day time and night time with the night time variant being called nocturnal bruxism. Nocturnal bruxism may also be a sign of sleep apnea, which is a sleep disorder where breathing starts and stops many times during the night.

Grinding your teeth may not seem like a serious problem to concern yourself with, however, it can lead to dental problems later on or be an indication for other illnesses, so it is necessary to look out for signs of it. Some typical long-term effects of bruxism include tooth damage and eventual loss by damaged teeth and jaw muscle stress, which can result in a condition known as temporomandibular joint dysfunction or TMD. These effects are caused by constant pressure exerted on the teeth and jaw while teeth grinding is performed.

What To Look Out For

It is normal to experience continual, long-term pain from bruxism. Pain can not only be felt in the teeth, but also the jaw muscle responsible for opening and closing the mouth when dealing with both types of bruxism. Bruxism is more noticeable during the daytime as you are sentient, but nocturnal bruxism may be harder to spot. Though nocturnal bruxism is harder to spot, it is possible to look for signs of it when you are awake. Nocturnal bruxism can be identified if you notice a constant soreness below your cheek bone whenever you wake up in the morning. The soreness can persist throughout the day or subside as the day goes on, so it is important to evaluate this area upon waking.

How to Take Action

During the daytime, teeth grinding can be quite noticeable and can be easy to stop by telling yourself to release the pressure from your teeth if it is caused by stress or anxiety. When day time bruxism is caused by dental complications, it will be necessary to schedule an appointment at our office as it cannot be stopped and will continue to put strain on your jaw and teeth even with your own reinforcement to stop clenching your jaw. Nocturnal bruxism, on the other hand, can be more difficult to deal with as it is harder to detect and harder to treat as it is more difficult to stop while unconscious. The typical treatment for nocturnal bruxism is to implement a protective mouth guard while you sleep. If you are concerned about bruxism, River Valley Smile Center is equipped to diagnosis and offer solutions. Please give us a call at 479-646-0706 to schedule an appointment today!