Bruxism & Grinding Teeth Treatment in NYC & Long Island
What is bruxism?
Bruxism, more commonly referred to as teeth grinding or nighttime teeth grinding, is a health condition that causes a person to tightly clench or rub their teeth back and forth on each other either at night while they sleep or during the daytime. Most people with bruxism do not realize that they are clenching their teeth or rubbing them together until either a dentist identifies the problem or a bed partner notices the tooth rubbing noise and mentions it. Alternatively, some people with bruxism visit their dentist for a chipped or cracked tooth only to find out that the underlying cause of the tooth damage is nighttime teeth grinding.
The tooth-on-tooth rubbing caused by bruxism results in damage to the tooth’s surface, as well as complications in other areas of the body. Bruxism most often leads to cosmetic issues, like cracks, chips, and uneven surfaces of the teeth. It can also cause chronic jaw pain, tension headaches, and other health problems when left untreated.
Does anxiety cause bruxism?
Bruxism is considered a sleep disorder, like sleepwalking or sleep talking. So, while there is currently no clear cause for bruxism, it may be caused by something similar to the causes of a sleep disorder. In addition, bruxism is closely associated with stress and anxiety. Doctors believe that tooth grinding during the daytime or at night could be caused by stress.
What causes sleep bruxism?
- Having family members who also clench their jaws or grind teeth
- Having other mental health disorders
- Having other sleep disorders
- Having a hyperactive personality type
- Feeling overly stressed
- Being younger in age
- Taking certain medications
- Using certain drugs, including tobacco or caffeine
- Snoring and Sleep Apnea
How do I know if I have bruxism (teeth grinding)?
The most common symptoms of teeth grinding include:
- Jaw pain
- Tooth pain
- Tooth sensitivity
- Worn tooth enamel
- Flat-looking or flat-feeling teeth
- Chipped teeth
- Loose teeth
- Fractured teeth
- Hearing tooth-on-tooth tapping during the night
- Having a bed partner hear tooth chewing at night
- Damage to the inside of your cheeks
- Headaches, especially in the morning
- Temple pain
- Waking up in the middle of the night
Can teeth grinding lead to other complications?
Not only is the look and feel of a person’s smile affected by bruxism, but their overall oral health and dental health can also dramatically drop over time. Untreated teeth grinding could eventually lead to:
- Damage to the teeth
- Tooth restoration damages
- Tooth crown damages
- Tension headaches
- Facial pain
- Jaw aching
- Jaw clicking
- Misaligned jaw
- Popping in ears or along jawline
How do you treat bruxism?
Tooth grinding can be treated by a dentist. Once your dentist has confirmed that you are suffering from bruxism, the next step is to determine the underlying cause of your bruxism. This can be done by evaluating any damage that has been done to your teeth or cheeks, feeling your jawline for signs of muscle tension, and looking at x-rays to see tooth damage below the outer surface. Once the cause is determined, your dentist can recommend the best solution to help you completely stop grinding your teeth.
Some of the possible treatment options for teeth grinding include:
- Anxiety medication
- Muscle relaxers
- Sleep disorder medications
- Stress management
- Proper mouth and jaw position therapy
- Biofeedback for bruxism
- Botox injections
In some cases, your dentist might also need to offer you dental treatments to address damage caused to your smile by bruxism. Most commonly, those who grind their teeth may need:
- Tooth fracture repairs
- Crown repairs
- Tooth surface reshaping
Do night guards work for grinding?
In addition to the above treatment options, many dentists will prescribe a night mouth guard. These guards can help prevent further damage to your teeth over time by offering a protective layer around the teeth, much like a mouth guard for sports. However, a bruxism night guard from a dentist is much more comfortable and smaller than a traditional sports mouth guard.
Teeth grinding night guards can be easily created at your dentist’s office during a short visit. Your dentist will mold the bruxism retainer to your teeth so that your night guard fits comfortably to your unique smile. Night guards can be replaced when needed and should be cleaned when you brush your teeth.
When used properly, night guards are a great way to protect your smile and prevent teeth grinding damage while you sleep. If you are suffering from bruxism, check with your dentist about getting a night guard to help protect your teeth.
For your convenience, our offices are open seven days a week. We accept walk-ins and offer affordable care and financing options. If you think you may be grinding your teeth at night or notice jaw aches during the day, contact a bruxism dentist at one of our locations. Call us today at 844.365.DENTAL or request an appointment through our website at any time.