Bruxism


If you wake up in the morning with severe jaw and temporomandibular joint pain, you may be living with a condition known as bruxism. Bruxism is a serious issue that can cause more than just extreme pain. It can also put your oral health and your quality of life in jeopardy. Mark Romanelli DDS can help.

What Exactly is Bruxism?


Bruxism is a condition in which you clench and grind your teeth. This clenching and grinding occur as a result of the contraction of the muscles in your mouth. While it can occur at any time of day, it is most common at night. This is because you have no control over your muscle movements while you sleep. When your muscles contract, excessive pressures are placed on your teeth, your jaw, and your temporomandibular joints. This constant pressure can also tire out your muscles as well.

Bruxism Symptoms


woman with headache from bruxism in Atascadero, CA There are several symptoms that accompany bruxism. Some of these symptoms are immediate. Others, however, come on gradually, worsening over time. There are also some symptoms that seemingly have nothing at all to do with the condition of your mouth. This can sometimes lead you to think that you have a completely different issue, which can leave bruxism undiagnosed for a while. Symptoms include:
•  Severe pain in your jaw and your temporomandibular joints.
•  Pain in the facial region.
•  Wear of your tooth enamel. Over time, your teeth can begin to appear flat, or even begin to appear short.
•  Increase in tooth decay and cavities.
•  Gum recession.
•  Your teeth may become loose, or even fall out.
•  Chronic headaches or earaches.


Bruxism Causes


Bruxism can be caused by some different issues. One of the biggest causes of bruxism is stress. When you are stressed, your muscles tighten, including the muscles in your face. While you can control your muscles while you are awake, stress can also affect you while you sleep. Other causes of bruxism include:
•  Alignment issues.
•  Excessive alcohol.
•  Caffeine.
•  Certain types of medications.


Treating Bruxism


There are several treatments available for managing bruxism.
•  Avoiding alcohol or caffeine.
•  Speaking with your doctor about alternative medications. If you find that bruxism is a side effect of a medication that you are currently on, you can speak with your doctor about switching to a different one.
•  Practicing stress management. If stress is causing your bruxism, you can practice stress relief, such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga.
•  Wearing a night guard. A night guard is an oral appliance that is worn over your top teeth while you sleep. It holds your jaw in proper alignment and provides a cushion for your teeth, absorbing the impact when your muscles contract. This takes the strain off of your jaw and your teeth.
•  Botox. Botox injections are commonly associated with treating fine lines and wrinkles. Strategically injected into your jaw, it can be used to weaken the muscles that contract, preventing them from putting pressure on your teeth and your jaw.
•  Orthodontics. If your bruxism is caused by misaligned teeth, orthodontic treatment such as braces or clear aligners can straighten your teeth, putting an end to the issue.

If bruxism is causing you severe discomfort, we can help. Call Mark Romanelli DDS to schedule your consultation today at (805) 468-4659.

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