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3 Types Of Bruxism And What To Do About Them

Poor oral hygiene may be the most common cause of dental and gum problems, but it’s not by far the only cause. Chronic teeth grinding, a condition known as “bruxism,” can wear down your enamel and expose your teeth to cavities.
It can also cause teeth to chip or fracture, create tooth pain and/or hyper-sensitivity, result in damage to your inner cheeks or tongue (which have been involuntarily “chewed on”), give you a chronic headache, and produce jaw pain or even TMJ disorder. In the most extreme cases, untreated teeth grinding can wear teeth down to stumps, cause teeth misalignment, or even end in tooth loss.

Three Types Of Teeth Grinding To Be Aware Of
As we have seen, bruxism can be a serious matter, and while very mild cases may not require professional treatment, other instances certainly do. But it’s also important to distinguish three basic types of bruxism, each of which may require a different approach:

  • Sleep Bruxism: The most common teeth grinding condition is one that occurs only (or mostly) at night, while you sleep. You may not even be aware of it, but your partner may be woken up by the sound at night.
  • Awake Bruxism: Less common and a bit easier to identify and treat, is awake bruxism. It may be you clench your teeth tightly or grind them when under high stress
  • Children’s Bruxism: Estimates are that from 15% to 33% grind their teeth. The two main time periods are when baby teeth come in and when permanent teeth come in, and in most cases, the problem goes away thereafter. But, if it continues, your child may need help.

How Can I Stop Grinding My Teeth?
How to treat bruxism varies from type to type and from person to person. Your periodontist can help you find the root cause(s) of your or your child’s condition and recommend effective solutions.

For milder cases, you may need simply to find ways to de-stress, such as through counseling, exercising more, or even getting a prescription for certain muscle relaxing drugs. Reducing caffeine intake (coffee, soda, tea, and chocolate), alcohol consumption, and use of chewing gum can also help.

During the day, be sure to avoid chewing on a pencil or using your teeth to open packaging. Put your tongue between your teeth to check yourself if you feel an urge to clench and grind your teeth coming on. Holding a warm cloth against your cheek can help too.

The above listed approaches may work for awake bruxism, but during the night, those with sleep bruxism are usually prescribed a special mouth guard. Click here to learn about the three major types of mouth guards for teeth grinding.

For children who chronically grind their teeth, try to help them avoid over-stressing – especially right before going to sleep. Give them a massage or have them do stretches to relax their muscles. Give them plenty of water to drink and a healthy diet.

For kids around preschool age and under, that’s about all you need to do. But if teeth grinding continues into older ages, see your periodontist as your child might need a night guard or a temporary crown.

Teeth grinding is not small matter. It can lead to serious dental problems. To learn more about treating it, contact periodontist Dr. Raymond A. Kenzik today!

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Ormond Beach Periodontics and Implant Dentistry is conveniently located on Nova Road in Ormond Beach, Florida. We help seniors, adults, and teenagers smile with confidence.

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