What Do You Know About Bruxism?

Stress affects everyone. And the search for stress-relief is common. Many people meditate, walk, exercise and practice yoga or tai chi. These things can definitely help, but sometimes stress manifests itself in unconscious jaw clenching or teeth grinding. This is called bruxism, and it affects approximately 40 million children and adults.

Read on to learn more about bruxism and how it can affect your teeth.

bruxism• Some experts believe bruxism is nothing more than a habit. However, it may be the result of your body’s reaction to your teeth not lining up or coming together properly. This is called your “bite.”
• You may grind your teeth when you sleep. This is called nocturnal bruxism, and sometimes results in waking with a dull headache or facial or jaw pain (TMJ).
• You may grind and clench your teeth during the day…and you may not even be aware that you’re doing it.
• When your teeth rub together, the outer layers of tooth enamel can wear away and teeth become sensitive. Severe bruxism can damage your teeth and even break dental fillings.
• Bruxism may be a symptom of diseases of the facial nerves and muscles.
• Bruxism may be a side effect of some medicines that treat depression, such as Prozac or Paxil.
• If you think your bruxism is stress-related, research strategies to help you relax. It may also help to cut your intake of caffeine.

Five common symptoms of bruxism are:

  1. Headache or facial pai
  2. Popping or clicking in your jaw
  3. Jaw muscles that are tight or painful
  4. Rhythmic contractions of your jaw
  5. Damaged teeth or broken fillings

If you are habitually grinding or clenching your teeth, call to schedule a consultation.

We will talk to you about the possible sources of your stress, your general health, what medicines you are taking and your sleep habits. We will examine the alignment of your teeth and look for tenderness in your jaw and facial muscles.

The team at Taylor Street Dental looks forward to consulting with you: (413) 241-3264.

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