Bruxism FAQs

Your teeth and jaw are incredibly tough and super strong! Scientific American found that an average of 171 pounds of pressure is exerted when we chew. Bruxism is when you clench or grind your teeth throughout the night; all that pressure is now being put on your teeth. Stress and hereditary factors play a role—if your parents also grind their teeth, you likely inherited that from them.

It is often thought that teeth grinding is the brain’s way of trying to work out solutions to problems while we sleep. However, this weighty force can take a toll when the grinding occurs unchecked at night.

Teeth grinding can be an ongoing source of frustration, because its damaging wear and tear takes a serious toll. Your teeth, tongue gums and lips may be exposed to deep pain if grinding plays out over the long term. If the tooth enamel wears off, the tooth may be so damaged that it will have to be removed. If your child has bruxism, he/she may outgrow it. In adults, treatment is recommended. While there is no easy cure, there are ways to find comfort.

Some patients may learn that they have other sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, when they temporarily stop breathing while sleeping; a specialist can make recommendations accordingly.

A night guard is a custom device worn at night. It guards the teeth surfaces from grinding and putting that intense pressure on. If select teeth cause your bite and jaw to be out of alignment (and thus cause nightly damage), the dentist may recommend placing crowns or doing similar dental adjustments to restore your mouth. Similarly, the dentist can show you stretches to do for your mouth, which let your body learn different and less damaging positions for eating and sleeping.

If anxiety is the cause of your bruxism, seeing a licensed therapist or reducing stress can be of great help. Trying meditation, acupuncture and/or biofeedback as well as lowering caffeine and alcohol intakes can often aid in lowering the likelihood of bruxism.

Dr. Amores can help you figure out the best options if you think you have bruxism.


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