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Bruxism: The Hidden Threat To Your Dental Health

TMJ / TMD Treatment | Dr. James C. Ross Cosmetic & Laser Dentistry | Novi, MI

There’s nothing wrong with clenching or grinding your teeth on occasion. But if you find yourself doing it on a regular basis or suspect that you might, it’s time to make an appointment with Dr. James Ross.

At Dr. James C. Ross Family, Cosmetic, & Laser Dentistry we will get you the right diagnosis and treatment, if necessary, to ensure you find relief from your nagging and uncomfortable symptoms.

Signs & Symptoms Of Bruxism (Teeth Grinding)

Because teeth grinding usually happens while you’re asleep, it can be hard to notice if it’s a problem for you. To get a better idea of whether you could be grinding your teeth, pay attention and see if you notice any of the following symptoms:

  • Regular contractions of your jaw muscles
  • A grinding sound at night, which may be noticed by someone who sleeps in the same room as you
  • Tight, painful, or sore jaw muscles
  • Clicking or popping of your temporomandibular joint
  • Chronic facial pain
  • Damage to your teeth, gums, or dental fillings
  • Chronic headaches
  • Occasional swelling near your lower jaw

Possible Causes Of Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding is most commonly the result of stress but there are several additional possible causes of the condition to be aware of, including:

  • Anxiety, anger, and frustration
  • Misalignment of the teeth and jaw
  • A symptom of rare diseases affecting facial muscles and nerves
  • A complication of Parkinson’s or Huntington’s disease

How Is Bruxism Diagnosed?

When you visit our office for a routine dental visit, mention you’re concerned you might be grinding your teeth. While we always pay close attention during your oral exam, we’ll pay extra attention when looking for signs of bruxism. Most noticeably, we’ll look for any changes in your teeth and dental health over several visits. That way we’ll get a good idea of whether treatment is needed.

If the signs lead us to believe you have bruxism, we will then try to figure out what is contributing to your condition. We’ll likely ask you questions about your dental health habits, any medications you take, your daily routine, and your sleep habits.

We will determine how severe your bruxism is by evaluating the tenderness of your jaw muscles as well as checking for dental damage like broken teeth and damage to your bone and the inside of your cheeks. More than likely we use X-rays to get a close look at all aspects of your oral health.

Teeth Grinding Treatment

In many cases, treatment isn’t necessary for bruxism. If it’s occurring in a child there’s a good chance they will outgrow the habit. And if the condition is affecting an adult, many adults find that it isn’t bad enough to require intervention.

However, if together we agree the problem is bad enough, there are treatments available. A night guard to prevent grinding while you sleep is one option. We can also recommend therapy and medications to relieve your symptoms.

One of the most effective ways to treat bruxism and relieve symptoms is with the use of stress management.

Stress Management To Prevent Teeth Grinding

Because bruxism is often related to stress, techniques to help you better manage your stress are essential for symptom relief.

The first step in effective stress management is to identify the sources of your stress. It may help to keep a journal so you can write down what you’re experiencing when you start to feel stressed.

One of the most important things to remember when trying to manage your stress is “control what you can control.”

Focus on what you can change to help you experience less stress. If you can, avoid people or situations that stress you out. Make your environment more comfortable for you.

It helps to find time each day to slow down, breathe deep, and try to relax. Just a few moments throughout the day can make a big difference for your stress level overall.

Call Your Dentist, We Can Help!

You don’t have to tackle bruxism alone. At Dr. James C Ross Family, Cosmetic, & Laser Dentistry, we can help diagnose the condition, treat your symptoms if necessary, and help you find relief.

Call our Novi, MI dental office today at (248) 697-2487 to schedule an appointment. You can also contact us online to request an appointment and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

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