Teeth Grinding (Bruxism): Causes and Treatments

Teeth Grinding (Bruxism): Causes and Treatments

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Teeth grinding is known by the medical term bruxism and most commonly affects people in their sleep. Over time, teeth grinding can damage the teeth or cause other health complications.

But don’t worry you can alleviate your pain with some home remedies and with the help of your dentist.

Confirming That You Have Bruxism

Understand bruxism. Bruxism is a condition where a person grinds, gnashes, or clenches his teeth unconsciously. Sleep bruxism is the condition of doing this at night. It is often related to daily stress.

However, Bruxism may also be due to a general or local condition such as occlusal (bite) problems. Some people do grind or clench their teeth during the day, but bruxism often occurs at night when the person is asleep. Because of this, it can often be difficult to self-diagnose bruxism.

Check for symptoms when you first wake up. Teeth grinding occurs at night, so you should check in the morning to see if you have any symptoms.

It can be difficult to figure out that you grind your teeth on your own, but here are some signs that may indicate that you do grind your teeth at night:

  • A dull, constant headache.
  • A sore jaw caused by the masseter muscle hurting (pain when you chew).
  • Audible teeth grinding sounds like you’re falling asleep.
  • Tooth sensitivity to heat, cold, or brushing.
  • Inflammation of the gums (gingivitis).
  • Wounds on the inside of the cheeks (from biting).
  • Worn teeth (surfaces look different than usual).

Ask a loved one. If you sleep in the same bed as a loved one, simply ask him or her if he has ever heard you grinding your teeth in your sleep.

Ask him to wake up earlier than you or go to bed later than you and to look out for any signs of teeth grinding. If this person wakes up in the middle of the night, he should also look out for those symptoms.

If you sleep on your own but really want to confirm that you’re grinding your teeth along with checking for the symptoms, then you can consider recording yourself while you sleep and listening for any grinding sounds.

Ask a dentist. If you suspect that you have been grinding your teeth, consult your Tijuana Dentist. He or she will be able to examine your mouth and jaw for signs of bruxism like jaw tenderness or worn-down teeth.

Once you find out that you have bruxism, there are some home remedies that you can try as well as some professional treatments, that can help treat your condition.

The dentist will also check to make sure that you are not suffering from some other ailments that cause similar pain such as:

  • Dental disorders that can usually cause trismus or lockjaw.
  • Ear disorders or infections.
  • TMJ or TMD (Temporomandibular disorders).
  • A side-effect of a medication.

Trying Home Remedies

Reduce your stress. Stress is one major cause of teeth grinding, so you should aim to relieve your stress. You can relieve the stress in your life by attending stress counseling, exercising, or meditating.

You may also consider looking into natural remedies to reduce stress. There is also a large variety of tea plants, like chamomile and lavender, which can calm you down before bedtime. Here are some other ways to reduce your stress:

  • Eliminate any major sources of stress in your life. If you’re stressed out because of an unbearable roommate or a terrible relationship, it’s time to get these negative sources out of your life and move on.
  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. This will give you more energy to deal with your daily life.
  • Have fun with friends. Make time to laugh, be silly, and just do nothing with your friends. This will help you unwind.
  • Eat well. Eating three well-balanced and healthy meals each day will make you feel more balanced and less irritable. Make sure that your meals contain some raw fruits or vegetables to exercise your during the day. This may help to reduce teeth grinding at night.

Remove caffeine from your diet. Stop drinking soda, coffee, and energy drinks and try not to eat too much chocolate. Caffeine is a stimulant which will make it more difficult for you to relax your mind and the muscles of your jaw, especially at night making you agitated throughout the day.

Avoid alcohol. Alcohol is a depressant which will make it more difficult for you to sleep healthily. Teeth grinding tends to get worse after alcohol consumption. Though alcohol may make it easier for you to fall asleep, it will make you sleep a less restful, more shallow sleep, which will increase your teeth grinding.

Stop chewing on non-foods. Stop yourself from stress-related habits that have to do with your mouth. Chewing non-food items is a sign of an increased stress level.

For example, if you tend to chew on pencils or pens when you are stressed out, you should eliminate that habit. If this is particularly challenging, you can chew gum or suck on a mint whenever you have the urge to chew on non-foods, and slowly wean yourself off of them.

Train yourself not to clench your jaw during the day. If you notice that your jaw is tense or that your teeth are gritted together, practice relaxing the jaw by placing the tip of your tongue between your teeth.

Add calcium and magnesium supplements to your diet. Calcium and magnesium are necessary for muscle function and nervous system health. If you don’t have enough, you can have problems with clenching, tension, and other muscle problems. Remember that your heart is also a muscle and it can suffer from stress or lack of calcium.

This home remedy can take up to five weeks to work.

Relax before bed. It is important to reduce stress before bed so that you’re more relaxed during the night and therefore less likely to grind your teeth. Here are some ways to relax in bed and have a more restful sleep:

  • Massage the muscles in your neck, shoulders, and face before you go to sleep. Use your fingers and palms to massage the sides of your head, forehead, and jaw in calming circular motions.
  • Soak a washcloth in hot water and hold it against your cheek in front of your earlobe. This will help your muscles to relax and unclench.
  • Take a warm washcloth and hold it over your whole face. This will both help your muscles relax and put you in a calmer state of mind.
  • Turn on soothing music or white noise to help achieve a calm state of mind as you drift off to sleep.
  • Read in bed for at least half an hour before you sleep. This will help you get ready for sleep.
  • Turn off the television, computer, and any bright lights at least an hour before bed. Minimize your sensory experience before you fall asleep.

Seeking Professional and Medical Remedies

See a dentist for general help. If your teeth grinding persists, you should go in to see a Dentist in Mexico as chronic teeth grinding can result in fracturing, loosening, or loss of teeth.

If you grind your teeth too consistently, you may even need bridges, dental crown, root canals, Dental Implants, partial dentures, or even complete dentures.

Teeth braces may also be an option if your teeth are misaligned and causing teeth grinding due to an unequal distribution of biting forces.

Your dentist will be able to assess which treatments will work best for you. Here are some treatments your dentist may recommend depending on the severity of your symptoms:

  • Muscle relaxants. Bruxism is very rarely treated with medication, but sometimes muscle relaxants and botox can be prescribed to loosen the jaw and prevent teeth grinding. You may also get good results from a low quantity of botox injection in your muscles or by using a TENS machine.
  • Having crowns or onlays put onto your teeth. If your bruxism has caused damage to the teeth, your bite may be out of alignment. If this is the case, your dentist can use onlays or crowns to reshape the surface of your teeth in order to repair your bite.

Get a splint or mouth guard made by your dentist. Your dentist will most likely recommend a mouthguard or splint at night to protect your teeth from the wear and damage caused by grinding. Here is some more information about mouthguards and splints:

  • Mouth guards can be custom-fitted by your dentist or can be purchased over the counter. However, mouth guards tend to be soft and can dislodge during teeth grinding. A custom-made mouthguard is significantly more expensive than an over-the-the counter one (though much of the cost may be covered by your insurance), but it will fit your teeth more easily and much more correctly than a non-custom mouth guard, and will also create less discomfort.
  • Self-adjusting mouth guards made of ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) are an affordable alternative to try, before committing to the investment of a custom made mouth guard. These mouth guards can easily be molded in hot water and thus adjusted to your bite.
  • Dental splints are constructed of hard acrylic and fit over either your upper or lower teeth. They are also worn at night in order to protect your teeth from being damaged. However, keep in mind that this is just for protecting your teeth. It rarely eliminates bruxism.

Get your teeth fixed cosmetically. If bruxism has affected how your teeth look and you wish to change that, you can see a Cosmetic Dentist San Diego s to discuss options.

If your teeth have been shortened or ground down by teeth-grinding, a cosmetic dentist can rebuild and reshape the teeth using dental crowns or veneers. These treatments will restore the look of your teeth so that they are longer and look evener.

How To Stop Your Child from Grinding Their Teeth

Bruxism is a condition in which you clench or grind your teeth. Children commonly have sleep bruxism, which means that they grind their teeth at night.

If your child is grinding his/her teeth, you may find that simply helping him relax at night solves the problem.

Helping Your Child to Relax Before Bed

Understand that stress can cause bruxism. Teeth grinding can be a sign that your child is stressed or anxious about something. Helping your child to relax may be the key to getting your child to stop grinding his/her teeth.

Create a relaxing bedtime routine for your child. As mentioned in the previous step, teeth grinding can be a sign that your child is stressed. Helping your child to relax in bed may reduce how often he/she grinds his/her teeth. Create a routine that involves relaxing activities before bedtime. These activities could include:

  • Taking a warm bath.
  • Listening to soothing music.
  • Reading a book.
  • Telling your child stories or singing lullabies.

Make your child’s bedroom feel peaceful. Dimming the lights and making the room cooler can help your child to sleep more peacefully, and thus stop grinding his/her teeth. To make your child’s bedroom relaxing and peaceful:

  • Keep the lights dim. Instead of using bright fluorescent bulbs, set your child’s room up with some dim bulbs that you can be turned on at night.
  • Keep the temperature down. Most people tend to sleep better when the temperature in their bedroom is lower (around 65° F or 18° C).
  • Make sure your child’s bed is comfortable. If your child is starting to outgrow his/her bed, you may want to consider getting him a larger one that he/she can grow into. Having a comfortable bed can help your child sleep better.

Hold a warm washcloth to your child’s jaw before bed. Warm temperatures can create good blood flow. If you hold a warm, wet washcloth to your child’s face, you will help his/her jaw muscles to relax by creating good blood flow to the area. This will help your child’s jaw to relax and will make him/her less likely to clench his/her teeth together while he sleeps.

Run the washcloth under warm water. Make sure to test the cloth against your own skin first to make sure that it is not too hot. Hold the cloth over your child’s jaw. Once the washcloth has cooled, run it under the water again and switch it to the other side of your child’s jaw.

Protecting Your Child’s Teeth

Be aware that grinding as a result of teething is not a large concern. While it is still unclear why children begin grinding their teeth, it is thought that bruxism could be caused by your child’s baby teeth coming in. When your child’s baby teeth come in, it might cause them to feel irritation, which may lead to teeth grinding.

Intervention is not usually required when your child grinds his or her baby teeth. However, it may help to develop a relaxing routine before bed to keep your child from grinding.

Get a mouthguard for your child. Your child’s dentist may recommend getting him a mouth guard, also known as an occasional splint or night guard, to protect your child’s teeth.

When your child grinds his/her teeth, he can actually wear his teeth down and damage his/her enamel. The guard is made of silicon rubber, which acts as a shield to keep the upper and lower molars from grinding against each other.

Submerge the mouthguard in water during the day to keep it clean. Try to clean it with a toothbrush every one to two days.

Minimize the amount of caffeine that your child consumes. Caffeine can alter your child’s sleep schedule because it blocks the formation of a chemical called adenosine. This chemical helps to make you feel relaxed, which in turn can help you sleep better. Avoid giving your child caffeinated products like:

  • Sodas.
  • Energy drinks.
  • Chocolate.
  • Coffee.

Try to keep your child from chewing on things other than food. When your child grinds his teeth at night, it is important that he/she does not chew on anything that can damage his teeth further during the day. If you notice your child chewing on his/her nails, pencils, or pens, help him to break these habits.

Do not let your child chew gum. Chewing gum causes your jaws to clench. This jaw clenching can become subconscious, which can make your child’s teeth grinding become worse. Help your child to stay away from gum while he/she works through his bruxism.

Teach your child how to avoid clenching his jaw when he notices it happening. If your child is old enough to be conscious of his/her jaw clenching and teeth grinding, show him how to stop doing those actions when he/she becomes aware of them.

To do this, tell him to place the tip of his/her tongue between his/her teeth whenever he notices himself clenching his/her jaw or grinding his/her teeth. Having his/her tongue in between his teeth will help him to stop doing the action.

Consider meeting with a therapist if you think your child’s teeth grinding might be psychological. If you are concerned that your child’s teeth grinding might be linked to a psychological condition, you may want to meet with a psychotherapist who will be able to help your child overcome his/her bruxism. There are a couple techniques that the therapist might teach your child, including:

  • Auto-suggestion: This technique involves telling yourself “I will wake up if I grind my teeth” so that you can break the habit. While the approach lacks scientific evidence, some therapists believe thinking thoughts like that will help the child to overcome the habit of teeth grinding.
  • Guided meditation: This technique involves developing a sense of self-esteem and a belief that you have control over your own body.

Talk with your Mexico Dentist if your child continues to grind his/her teeth, or you notice his/her teeth beginning to look worn down.