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Woman pressing at her aching jaw at River's Edge Dental in Great Falls MT 59401-1300

What is Bruxism?

Bruxism is a condition where one clenches or grinds their teeth. It is a surprisingly common problem that affects between 30 and 40 million children and adults in the United States. Those who have bruxism tend to clench their teeth during the daytime or grind them at night during sleep, which is a condition also known as sleep bruxism.

What are the Symptoms of Bruxism?

The following are symptoms of bruxism:
•  Cadenced contractions of jaw muscles
•  Tightness, soreness or pain in the jaw muscles
•  Occasional swelling on the side of the lower jaw
•  Increased tooth sensitivity and decreased tooth enamel
•  Chipped, loose, or flat teeth
•  Sounds of grinding at night loud enough to prevent your spouse from sleeping
•  Headaches originating from the temples
•  Chronic facial pain

Many of these symptoms resemble those of other medical conditions. If this sounds like what you’re experiencing, call us so we can schedule an exam.

Sleep Problems

Experts don’t know for certain what causes bruxism, but the condition has both physical and psychological causes. One of the most common of these is sleep issues. Bruxism can develop due to sleep talking, snoring, and even sleep disorders like sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a potentially dangerous condition where breathing during sleep becomes irregular. If you think you might suffer from this condition, contact your doctor for a proper diagnosis.

Negative Emotions and Quality of Life

Many people who deal with stress, anxiety, frustration, and anger may grind their teeth as a coping mechanism. Professional counseling and therapy can go a long way in helping you deal with these problems, but you can also manage your stress yourself.

Physical exercise releases endorphins into the brain, making you feel good. You can also destress through various methods of relaxation, such as taking walks, listening to music, or taking warm baths. Issues related to the workplace are notorious stressors, so stay mindful of how you deal with the difficult parts of your career.

Lifestyle and Age

Your risk of bruxism can also increase if you use tobacco, or consume too much alcohol or caffeine. If this is a problem, reach out to your doctor and ask about addiction treatment. Age is a factor as well. Bruxism isn’t as common in teenagers as it is in younger children.

Preventing and Treating Bruxism

Exercising, eating a balanced diet, and visiting your doctor on a regular basis are essential foundations for good health. Unfortunately, the health of your mouth is often overlooked as a factor for overall health even though it has a profound impact on other areas of your life. Bruxism is a mouth problem that can negatively affect your quality of life and should not go untreated.

If you notice any of the symptoms listed above, write them down as specifically as possible so you can bring them to our attention at your next dental check-up. Dr. David Currie may elect to perform a full exam to confirm any of your potential symptoms with certainty and try to determine their causes. The dentist may prescribe a mouth guard to prevent further damage from grinding and present ideas for stress-reduction. Another possibility is a dental procedure to realign your teeth.

If you think you might have bruxism, call us at (406) 315-5882.

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River's Edge Dental, 1900 River Dr N, Great Falls, MT 59401; (406) 315-5882;; 11/18/2021; Tags: dentist Great Falls MT; dentist Great Falls MT;