Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is a very real problem for many dental patients. It involves grinding the teeth together, consciously or unconsciously either when awake or asleep. Many doctors feel that it is caused by stress or anxiety, and that it may cause medical as well as dental problems because of the stress it puts on related structures in the head, near the teeth.
Some other causes of bruxism may be an aggressive personality, suppressed anger or frustration, or abnormal alignment of teeth. Working and sleeping irregular hours, consuming high levels of caffeine or alcohol, smoking, disorders such as Parkinson's or Huntington's Diseases, malocclusion, and even Obsessive Compulsive Disorder may contribute to grinding teeth. There are also studies being conducted looking into the possibilities that anti-depression drugs, along with other psychiatric medications, may be causations of bruxism. Many medical doctors already suspect this to be the case.
Teeth grinding can wear down the enamel and protective surfaces of the teeth, as well as damage restorations such as fillings or crowns. Teeth may become loose in their sockets, and it may cause bone damage in the jaw.
Other medical and dental problems such as earaches, migraines, headaches, gum recession (gum shrinkage around teeth), neck pain, sore or painful jaw, or tinnitus may result from this malady.
So how do we treat bruxism? Since the causes may vary, the treatments may vary as well. The solution may be as simple as prescribing a Nightguard shield, which is a plastic barrier made from a mold of a patient's teeth that fits perfectly over them and protects them from grinding during sleep.
Dietary and nutrition changes may be recommended, along with relaxation and facial massage therapies. We have holistic and homeopathic remedies available to us that may help. We may refer patients to other health professionals with expertise in behavior modification, to help the patient change the things in his or her lifestyle that are causing the problem.
In extreme cases, we may refer patients to a psychologist or psychiatrist to help with the stress, anxiety, repressed emotions or other factors leading to their bruxism.
Whatever the causation, we can help with finding solutions, along with repairing the damage that teeth grinding can cause. Using holistic and biocompatible restoration techniques and materials, we can help restore the teeth and oral area back to health.
If you suspect you may have this problem, please let us know, and we will do everything we can to help you overcome this annoying and health-threatening problem.
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