Bruxism: What Is It?

Do you notice yourself clenching your teeth and jaw when stressed or anxious? Do you wake up with jaw pain? You may experience bruxism or teeth clenching and grinding. Oftentimes, you may not realize you have bruxism because you clench or grind your teeth unconsciously when stressed or when asleep. Bruxism is a common symptom of temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD). TMD occurs due to damage or stress to the joints that aid in chewing and speaking. We will explain the symptoms that accompany bruxism and how we treat teeth clenching and grinding in Arlington Heights, IL.

Bruxism: Symptoms and Problems

There are many symptoms that can accompany bruxism:

  • Headaches and migraines
  • Pain when biting and chewing hard foods
  • Worn tooth enamel
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Jaw soreness and pain

Over time, bruxism can wear down teeth and even create chips or cracks in the tooth enamel. Bruxism can also cause more pain and damage to the jaw joints and muscles. It is important to visit a dental professional that can examine your smile and take x-rays to assess any damage and where bruxism is affecting your smile, your jaw joints, and your muscles.

Treat Teeth Grinding in Annapolis

Wearing a custom-made nightguard can help prevent bruxism and stop tooth enamel damage. Nightguards are made of an acrylic material that covers the top or bottom teeth. Because nightguards are acrylic, they can stop patients from chewing on their oral appliances and exacerbating their symptoms. When worn during sleep, nightguards cover and protect teeth from further wear and help guide the lower jaw in the right place. Nightguards also help relax the facial muscles and can alleviate pain and headaches.

Patients with bruxism can also benefit from physical therapy. Physical therapists teach patients exercises to work the muscles in their face and jaw to alleviate pain and prevent further strain. Exercises can also target muscles in the neck, back, shoulders, and arms. Oftentimes, poor posture or strain in these muscles can contribute to symptoms like teeth clenching and grinding. Sticking to a soft diet for several weeks can also give the teeth and jaw a rest. Soft foods are gentle on the jaw muscles and joints. Hard, crunchy, or sticky foods take more work to bite and chew, creating increased tension and pain in the jaw.

Have you noticed discomfort when biting or chewing hard foods? Does your jaw hurt in the morning? Contact AH Smiles today at (847) 230-9703 or schedule a dental consultation with Dr. Brent Engelberg online. We will determine if you have bruxism and what treatment works for your symptoms.