Are you experiencing recurrent headaches or neck discomfort? Do you feel a tingling sensation in your jaws? If yes, then you may be suffering from bruxism. It is a medical condition characterized by involuntary clenching or grinding of your teeth. 

The dentist in Tukwila, WA, and their team are well-qualified and highly trained to manage bruxism and improve your quality of life.  

Understanding bruxism

Bruxism is defined as a dental condition that is characterized by an involuntary clenching or grinding of the teeth. This could probably occur when you are awake (awake bruxism) or during your sleep (sleep bruxism). Occasional teeth grinding is considered normal, but persistent clenching can hurt your teeth, jaws, and temporomandibular joint (TMJ). 

Bruxism is considered a common sleep problem with a prevalence of 10% among adults and 15% among children. 

Causes in adults 

  • Sleep disorders
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Lifestyle habits like smoking and alcoholism
  • Consumption of recreational drugs and excess caffeine 
  • Certain medications like anti-anxiety drugs 

Causes in children 

  • Malaligned teeth
  • Pain such as earache
  • Stress 
  • Medical conditions like hyperactivity or cerebral palsy

Ill-effects of teeth grinding 

Teeth grinding can cause several problems, such as:

  • Wearing down of teeth
  • Fractured or loosened teeth
  • Damage to your TMJ, jaw, and neck muscles
  • Loss of teeth
  • Aesthetic problems due to changes in your facial profile

Bruxism symptoms 

Signs and symptoms of teeth grinding include:

  • Headaches 
  • TMJ pain 
  • Ear pain 
  • Aching teeth, especially after waking up
  • Wearing down the enamel of the teeth 
  • Aching in the jaws while chewing 
  • Clicking or popping sound in the TMJ
  • Jaw stiffness
  • Myofascial pain
  • Highly sensitive teeth 
  • Tooth indentations 

Treating bruxism

Here are some common ways in which bruxism is treated:

  • Conservative methods 
  • Relaxation exercises
  • Stress management techniques like yoga
  • Mouthguards/Nightguards
  • These are acrylic appliances that are fabricated from tooth impressions.
  • These help to minimize the abrasive action of tooth surfaces during sleep.
  • These devices also help stabilize the occlusion and prevent damage to the teeth and TMJ
  • NTI-tss device
  • This device is designed to fit your front teeth.
  • NTI-tss helps to prevent the grinding of the rear molars by limiting the contraction of the temporalis muscle.
  • Botox injections 
  • This is an excellent neuromodulator that aids in the relaxation of the facial muscles that have been weakened due to bruxism.
  • Other treatments 
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Physical therapy 

Bottom line  

Bruxism or teeth grinding is a common condition with many possible causes in both children and adults. Treating it early is important to avoid dental complications.

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