The problem of bruxism, clenching or gritting the teeth, affects at least one in four adults, and can contribute to a number of health and dental problems. The problem is sometimes difficult to diagnose and even more difficult to treat. A leading Greenville SC dentist offers these tips for identifying your bruxism habit as well as a few methods for treating it.
Do you suffer from bruxism? Take note of the most common signs and symptoms:
- Aching or pain in the jaw muscles.
- Tenderness or fatigue in the face or jaw.
- Clicking or grinding in the jaw joint.
- A change in the shape of your teeth.
- Increasingly sensitive teeth and gums.
- Broken teeth or dental work.
- Frequent headaches.
- Trismus, a term that describes lockjaw.
- Teeth marks along the side of the tongue.
Dentists recommend trying a few, noninvasive techniques to manage and control bruxism, before exploring more extensive treatments:
- Avoid caffeine and other stimulants, especially before bedtime.
- Avoid depressants such as alcohol that can increase the probability that you will grind your teeth in your sleep.
- Try herbal teas or a warm bath to relax before bed.
- Break habits such as chewing on pen caps, fingernails, and other non-food items.
- Ask the dentist about exercises which can train the jaw muscles to relax.
- Ask the dentist for a custom-fitted night guard to protect the teeth when you are sleeping.
Finding the right method for conquering your bruxism habit can require a great deal of trial and error. Many of these techniques will take some time to begin working, and the dentist may recommend combining more than one technique to tackle the problem. However, patience is essential, as each person is different and the results can vary widely.
If necessary, the dentist may recommend a custom bite appliance to protect the teeth, relax the jaw muscles, and reprogram your bite pattern. Many patients find that these devices provide nightly comfort and protection when they are otherwise unable to control their bruxism problem.
You can learn more about your bruxism treatment options by contacting a Greenville SC dentist today.