Bruxism is a condition where a patient grinds, gnashes and/or clinches their teeth and is typically an unconscious behavior. Grinding can occur both while awake and while sleeping, as it is a voluntary condition. Common symptoms of bruxism can include worn tooth structure and flattening of the teeth, increased tooth sensitivity, jaw soreness, tenderness of the facial muscles and dull headaches.
Often times the grinding that occurs with bruxism may be so loud that others are able to hear, especially if it occurs while you are sleeping. Bruxism is commonly associated with airway disturbances such as sleep apnea and gastric reflux. The constant and heavy force of opposing rubbing and grinding against each other causes the outer layers to wear away, exposing the soft inner dentin layers. This, over time, makes the teeth more prone to sensitivity and even decay.
In addition, once the dentin layers are exposed, the pace of the wear will accelerate dramatically. Bruxism can also potentially lead to serious cracks or fractures in your teeth which can lead to chipping later on. Excessive tooth ware causes many oral healthy complications including unattractive and irregular tooth levels, uncoordinated chewing movements, jagged tooth edges, tooth pain and eventual tooth loss.
Don’t lose hope yet – there ARE preventative and corrective treatments options for patients showing signs of Bruxism. Treatment will vary based upon the underlying cause of the grinding, the severity of the grinding and the extent of the tooth damage that has already occurred. It is absolutely crucial that you let Dr. Anthony Leite’s office know if you’ve been showing any signs of bruxism, catching these symptoms early on can drastically help you in the long run.