Most of us may have come across people who have a habit of grinding or clenching their teeth, when they seem to be anxious, upset, or even during their sleep. It might seem like a sign of anxiety at the worst and an irritating habit at the least. However, this seemingly simple habit can lead to complex oral health problems, if ignored for long.
Bruxism – What does it mean?
Teeth grinding, gnashing, grating or clenching is known as Bruxism in medical terms. It is considered as a physical response of an individual to his/her emotional distress. People are more prone to doing it in their sleep, but it is not uncommon to see them doing it subconsciously when they are awake as well. General estimations vary regarding the number of adults suffering from Bruxism, but it ranges at an astounding 50-95%. While for children, the approximate percentage is 15%.
Some of the causes of Bruxism include repetitive strain, anxiety, disturbed sleep, missing teeth, jaw posture positions, abnormal bite and even particular lifestyle activities. It can be identified with the subtle noise that one makes while grinding teeth. And, also with other indications like unexplained headaches or earaches, tooth sensitivity and pain in either teeth or the jaw regions.
Will it lead to any major oral problems?
If ignored for longer periods, Bruxism can result in some serious oral health issues. Firstly, it puts extra amount of force or pressure on the teeth. Hence, if unnoticed or untreated for too long, the teeth are prone to getting chipped, cracked or even getting broken. It can also cause muscular pain, gum recession or also injure the bone structure of the jaw joint. In children who are habituated to grinding teeth because of a problem in their breathing airway, Bruxism can lead to developmental issues also.
Mouth Guard – a simple solution to Bruxism
With such severe effects, thankfully Bruxism has a simple solution – Mouth guards. A professionally designed mouth guard protects teeth from the extra pressure that emanates from Bruxism. It is a custom-fitted oral device which prevents the teeth from scraping with each other. As a result, mouth guard helps prevent damage to the bone, muscle and tissues of the mouth. However, it is advisable that children grinding their teeth should first get an airway examination.
Every case of Bruxism may be treated in different ways, but a mouth guard in most cases is the simplest and yet the most effective form of Bruxism treatment.
Now that you know about Bruxism and its severity, you can help your friends, colleagues or family members, if any of them are suffering from it. Also, one of the advantages of regular dental checkups is that your dentist can easily identify the early signs of Bruxism. And this can prevent the buildup of other related oral health issues in the future.
So, get in touch with us at Joshua Hong DDS today, and we can guide you better on how mouth guards can help treat Bruxism. It’s really easy to make an appointment with our Smile Team.