Do you experience headaches and jaw pain? Do you have damaged teeth from unknown causes?
Bruxism, or teeth grinding, is a dental concern that can create complex dental problems over time. It is often the symptom of an underlying bite or TMJ-related problem. Approximately 10–15% of Americans moderately to severely grind their teeth.
Sometimes patients do not even know that they grind their teeth, but come into our office with significant signs. Dr. Gregory Hillyard, Dr. Alexandra Monroe, and our Media, PA dental team will examine tooth damage at every dental visit to identify bruxism before symptoms worsen.
Bruxism: Causes and Signs
There are several different reasons people grind their teeth:
- Stress or anxiety
- Malocclusion (improper alignment of the teeth)
- Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMJ)
- Parkinson’s or Huntington’s Disease
- Side effects of certain medications
In addition, common symptoms of bruxism may include:
- Fractured or chipped teeth
- Worn tooth enamel
- Tooth sensitivity
- Jaw pain
- Facial pain
If you have noticed any of these signs, please contact Dr. Hillyard and Dr. Monroe. They will conduct an examination to determine if your symptoms are attributed to bruxism or another dental concern.
The Lasting Impacts of Bruxism
If you let bruxism go, it’s likely to develop into a TMJ disorder. This can cause extreme stress and pain around the joint that connects your jaw to the cranium. You may find that your jaw starts to click or pop when you’re trying to use it. You may even notice that it’s hard to open or close your mouth and that your jaw isn’t functioning properly.
Untreated bruxism can also cause chronic pain. While it typically resides around the jaw, ears, and head, the stress from clenching and grinding your teeth can travel down into your neck and shoulders as well. Chronic pain is a serious condition that can lead to other issues. Mental health problems like depression and anxiety can be aggravated because you’re dealing with this constant pain.
Lastly, bruxism doesn’t just cause issues with teeth and bone. It can impact the gum tissue as well. This connective tissue is what holds your teeth in place. It can break down from bruxism, leading to deterioration and your teeth loosening or even falling out.
There are multiple treatment options to lessen the pain and damage caused by teeth clenching and grinding:
Mouthguards or night guards: One of the most impactful treatments for teeth grinding is a custom oral appliance or mouthguard that can be worn during the day or at night. Custom-made to fit comfortably over the teeth, a mouthguard is designed to facilitate natural jaw position and tooth contact.
Restorative dentistry: Tooth bonding, dental crowns, or restorative dental procedures may be used to address tooth damage, worn teeth or to make adjustments in how they come into contact when biting down. These solutions are best for patients who have severe damage to their tooth enamel.
Orthodontics: Clear braces like Invisalign and ClearCorrect may be considered necessary if an uneven bite is a cause of your teeth grinding and related bite problems. Straightening teeth can actually stop bruxism at the source.
Schedule a Dental Exam & Consultation
To request a dental appointment or consultation, call our Media, Pennsylvania dental office at 610.756.0649. We are here to help, not judge. Schedule a dental exam today.