Teeth Grinding – Bruxism

There are a number of sleeping disorders that people suffer from, and one of the more annoying of these disorders is bruxism. This is defined as the act of grinding one’s teeth while sleeping. Grinding your teeth at night not only interrupts sleep, but can cause dental problems as well.

It is estimated that around 50 to 95% of the adult population suffer from this condition. Around 15% of all children also acquire this condition. This is not a condition that is confined to a particular sex or age group.Millions of people all over the world, adults and children alike, have bruxism.

Many people do not even realize that they have bruxism. Often, the symptoms are mild, and go unnoticed for years. There are many people who have only discovered that they have bruxism because their partners have noticed the grinding sounds at night or their dentist has noticed its effects on their teeth.

What Is Bruxism?

Many people suffer from bruxism, which means that they grind their teeth in their sleep. If not treated, bruxism can lead to other more serious conditions, such as temporomandibular joint syndrome, or TMJ.

Bruxism Causes

The exact cause of this condition is not entirely known, but one of the known factors for bruxism is stress. Many people who have heightened anxiety gnash their teeth at night as a way of releasing stress. Most of the time, bruxism occurs during sleep, but there are instances where it has occurred in sufferers while they are awake in the day time.

Many health specialists believe that bruxism is more common in certain personality types, such as those with a competitive, aggressive or hyperactive personality type.

Bruxism Symptoms

Many people, who do not realize that they have bruxism wake up in the mornings wondering why they have a stiff or sore jaw and why they have frequent headaches. Both of these are symptoms of the condition. Some of the other signs that one may have bruxism include:

  • Noticeable wearing of the teeth, or dental work
  • Earache caused due to violent jaw muscle contractions
  • Grinding sounds at night that is noticed by a partner
  • Sensitive teeth and gums
  • Pain in the jaws

Bruxism Treatment

There are different ways that bruxism can be treated. Because it is thought to be often caused by stress, often all it takes are some lifestyle changes and modification of behaviors to stop teeth grinding. Many people opt for such treatments as relaxation techniques, hypnotherapy or biofeedback. Others use a mouth guard for grinding teeth when they sleep to protect their teeth. Because this is a condition that affects the teeth, it is important to discuss treatment options with a dentist or oral surgeon.

A quality mouth guard can be purchased for $500 to $1,000, and is easily fitted by a dentist. Impressions will be taken of the teeth, and the mouth guard will be custom-made. Additionally, grinding teeth guards that are less expensive may be purchased at a pharmacy and may be sufficient to protect your teeth during periods of stress.

In most cases, mouth guards do not need to be worn for life, and after a certain period of time, the teeth grinding and gnashing will stop (especially if the underlying condition has been addressed). If you wear a mouth guard every night it is a good idea to have them replaced occasionally, they will wear down with the grinding.

Essential further reading:

This entry was posted in Sleep Disorders. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.