What Exactly is Bruxism?
Bruxism is a condition in which you grind and clench your teeth. The muscles attached to your jaw contract, which forces excessive pressure on your teeth, your jaws, and your temporomandibular joints. Constant grinding and clenching not only affects your teeth, but it can also have a significant impact on your quality of life. The muscles near your jaw become tired, and your jaw becomes sore. These issues can cause excruciating discomfort that can make even doing simple things like eating and speaking very difficult. While bruxism can occur at any time, it is most common at night.
What are the Symptoms of Bruxism?
There are several symptoms that accompany bruxism. However, not all symptoms are noticeable right away. Many symptoms come on gradually, worsening over time. Common symptoms of bruxism include:
|•||Jaw and facial pain
|•||Difficulty, and pain, biting, chewing, and speaking
|•||Excessive wear on the teeth. This wear not only affects the appearance of your teeth but your oral health as well. Tooth wear can significantly increase your risk of developing tooth decay and cavities as well as tooth damage.
|•||Loose teeth. You may even experience tooth loss.
|•||Chronic headaches and earaches. Headaches and earaches are caused by the radiation of pain from your jaw. These issues are often thought to be caused by other issues, which can then lead to misdiagnosis.|
The Causes of Bruxism
Bruxism can be caused by several different issues. One of the most common causes is stress. When you are under stress, the muscles in your body, including your face, tense up. This tension forces your teeth together, causing grinding and clenching. During the day, you might notice this tension, and therefore take action to stop it. While you are sleeping, however, you do not have this same control. Tension continues without interference. Other causes of bruxism include:
|•||Poor tooth alignment
|•||Stimulants, such as caffeine
|•||Lifestyle habits like drinking and smoking
|•||Certain types of medications|
How Does a Splint Help?
A splint is an oral device that is designed specifically to help alleviate the symptoms associated with bruxism. We can create a custom splint just for you based on an impression of your mouth. We are also able to take your bite into consideration, which enables us to design a splint that provides you with the best possible protection. A splint resembles a sports mouthguard in appearance, covering over the teeth in your upper arch, and is only meant to be worn while you sleep. It provides cushion against the pressures exerted by your jaw and prevents your upper and lower teeth from making contact. By preventing grinding and clenching, the symptoms associated with bruxism decrease, allowing for the restoration of your quality of life.
If you think that you are dealing with bruxism, it is essential that you get treatment right away to prevent more serious issues from occurring later. For more information, and to schedule your consultation, call Cooley Smiles at (425) 216-3367 today.