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Causes and Treatments of Teeth Grinding

Do you ever wake up in the morning with a headache?  Or with sore teeth and jaw? If so, you could be feeling the symptoms of bruxism, more commonly known as teeth grinding.  

Teeth grinding is usually done unconsciously in your sleep (Sleep bruxism), but the rhythmic clenching of the jaw and grinding of the teeth can also be done during the day.  Sleep bruxism is considered a sleep-movement disorder and usually occurs throughout the night during periods of arousal as a person goes from a deeper stage of sleep to a lighter stage of sleep. Those who clench and grind their teeth at night are more likely to have or develop other sleep disorders such as snoring and sleep apnea.  Mild cases of bruxism may not need treatment but if you begin to feel or see the following symptoms you should make an appointment to see Dr. Finkelstein and her team at My Plantation Dentist.

Symptoms include:
Jaw fatigue, pain or stiffness
Dull headache originating in the temples and/or pain like an earache
Increased tooth sensitivity
Injury from chewing the inside of your cheek
Teeth that are loose, chipped, fractured or flattened tooth enamel
Awakening your sleep partner at night

What causes Sleep Bruxism?
The cause of bruxism is not clear, although it has been found to be associated with such factors as stress, anxiety, tension, snoring, sleep apnea, smoking, caffeine, alcohol use, and antidepressant use. Personality types with aggressive, competitive or hyperactive behaviors have also been found to increase the risk of bruxism.  

I have the symptoms, what do I do?
Call to schedule an appointment!  Dr. Finkelstein can normally diagnose the issue by taking a complete history and performing an examination.  If she discovers additional concerns that would suggest a sleep disorder she will consult a sleep medicine group.  

I have Bruxism, how do we treat?
Daytime bruxism is treated more easily by making you aware of the problem and providing cues and behavior modifications to reverse the habit.  Sleep bruxism is treated with a splint or bite guard worn at night.  A prescription muscle relaxant or anxiety medication may be provided for short-term use to help calm the clenching and grinding.  If your bruxism is stress related, it may be recommended that you see a professional counselor.  
Parents, pay attention to your little ones as nearly 30% of children grind and clench their teeth with the rate highest in children under the age of 5.  Most children outgrow bruxism by the age of 13 and suffer no permanent damage to their teeth, however if it doesn’t go away you should discuss it at their next dentist appointment.
If you think you may be suffering from bruxism, call and schedule an appointment at My Plantation Dentist at 954-584-1030.  We’re ready to help!  


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