Do you have one or more of the following symptoms?
- Flattened areas on your teeth
- Tight or sore jaw when you wake up in the morning.
- You make a loud grinding sound with your teeth while you sleep.
- You feel tired from not getting a good night’s sleep.
If so, you may have nocturnal bruxism - grinding of the teeth while sleeping.
For many people, bruxism can be a serious problem. It can cause cracked and chipped enamel, hairline fractures, broken cusps and even wearing down the teeth to the gum line. The enamel may become so worn that the inside of the tooth (called the dentin) is exposed. If bruxism isn’t treated, it can lead to gum damage, loss of tooth and fillings, root canals, loose teeth
It can also cause jaw joint problems also called temporomandibular joint disease (TMJ.) TMJ occurs when the muscles, joints and ligaments of the jaw move out of alignment. In addition to jaw pain, other symptoms may include headache, earache and pain in the face, neck and shoulder.
Research shows that about 50% of adults grind their teeth and approximately 20% grind their teeth excessively causing dental trauma. When asked, many patients will not admit or are unaware of grinding, yet the evidence of damaged teeth is apparent in their mouth.
Bruxism is often caused by emotional factors such as daily stress, anxiety, anger or pain. The use of tobacco, alcohol or caffeine tends to aggravate the problem. Another cause of bruxism is the use of some medications, in particular anti-depressants. Three of the most common are Zoloft, Paxil and Prozac. If you take any of these drugs and have noticed an increase in nighttime tooth grinding, speak to your physician. Sometimes the addition of the drug Buspar helps to eliminate the problem.
To cut down on bruxism, the first step is to eliminate or decrease the stress in your life. Cut out smoking and reduce your consumption of coffee and alcohol. Most importantly though, make an appointment with Dr. Sayeg. You will be evaluated and your bite will be thoroughly checked. In most cases, your problem can be helped by fitting you with an appliance to relax your jaw and to prevent further damage. The dentist will then correct your bite by reshaping your teeth to eliminate high spots or unusual tooth alignment.
Remember, you don’t have to lose your teeth to grinding and clenching. Regular check-ups may prevent costly treatment in the future. You only have one smile - don’t lose it to bruxism.
If you have any questions, please call 404-255-6782.