“What is Bruxism and Why am I Grinding My Teeth?”
Many people are not familiar with the word bruxism but rather know it as teeth grinding or jaw clenching at night.
So, what is bruxism and why am I grinding my teeth?
There is a lot of speculation out there as to why we grind our teeth:
Bruxism is a teeth grinding disorder which causes you to clench your teeth together, grind or gnash them involuntarily. People suffering from bruxism occasionally find themselves unconsciously clenching their teeth together either during the day or at night.
Regardless of whether you are familiar with this condition or not it is very important for you to know the effects of bruxism and how it can influence your general health.
Bruxism is a very common condition today and studies show that approximately one in three people suffer from this condition. This disorder is usually as a result of a complication caused by another condition or state of being. Below are the full details about this disorder and what you can do to stop it. It is important to know what is bruxism, why it happens and what to do about it.
“Why does bruxism happen?”
There is no clear reason why this teeth grinding disorder occurs but studies suggest that there are various factors that are related to its occurrence. These factors include;
- Sleep disorders
Some limited research has shown that people who experience sleep disorders such as sleep apnea or even snore while sleeping are more prone to grind their teeth while sleeping. This is because these two factors cause a disruption to breathing while a person is asleep. However, recent studies show a weak association between sleep apnea and teeth grinding. It has also been suggested that people who experience sleep paralysis, hallucinations, behave aggressively while asleep or even talk in their sleep are more likely to experience bruxism.
- Anxiety and stress
The second factor that can cause bruxism to occur is stress and anxiety. These two factors are psychological and mental problems that affect victims who suffer from teeth grinding subconsciously when they are asleep. Studies show that excessive amount of work related stress or a traumatic event can affect your sleep resulting to occurrence of sleep bruxism. To be clear, anxiety and stress can cause teeth grinding and jaw clenching.
- Way of life
This teeth grinding disorder may as well occur due to specific life factors which include, excessive alcohol consumption, use of recreational drugs i.e. cocaine and ecstasy, taking six or more cups of caffeinated drinks a day such as coffee or tea and smoking.
Another reason why bruxism occurs is due to the side effects caused by taking certain medication including antipsychotics and anti depressants. Even though there is a high risk of developing this kind of grinding disorder if you are on these drugs, you ought to know that most people who take these medications rarely experience symptoms of bruxism.
“What can one do to stop it?”
Once a person suffering from bruxism identifies the condition, the first thing that he or she is usually eager to know is how to stop the teeth grinding condition. There is no specific solution of how to stop teeth grinding but there are several medical options and treatments that can help control the condition and prevent more damage to the teeth.
If you realize that stress is the cause of your teeth grinding disorder, consult your doctor about options to reduce your stress but if a sleeping disorder is what has caused bruxism then you need to treat that disorder so as to eliminate the grinding habit.
This is the most common and widely used resolution of bruxism. Mouth guards are devices worn at night to protect the teeth against grinding during sleep. The whole idea of using night guards is to prevent tooth damage since the devices have the ability to withstand the impact caused by grinding. This is because the patient will still continue to grind their teeth even with the mouth guard on.
- Exercising the jaw
Another way of controlling bruxism is by engaging in daily jaw exercises. You can consult either a chiropractor or your dentist to guide you on the type of exercises that you can carry out but meanwhile you can start by using warm water and a wet wash cloth on the jaw to help you relax and strengthen it. You can also relax the jaw muscle at night by holding a warm piece of cloth against your cheek just before your ear lobe.
- Train yourself to stop clenching or grinding your teeth
You can also control this teeth grinding disorder by training yourself not to clench or grind your teeth especially if you notice that you clench or grind during the day. Do this by putting the tip of your tongue in between your teeth as this practice trains your jaw muscles to relax.
- Avoid excessive alcohol intake
Studies have shown that excessive intake of alcohol tends to makes teeth grinding more intensified. For this reason, anyone who has bruxism should avoid excessive alcohol intake so as to stop teeth grinding.
- Keep off chewing on pens and pencils
Patients of bruxism should not chew on pencils, pens, gum or even anything that is not food. This is because doing this causes your jaw muscles to get used to clenching and this makes you more likely to grind your teeth.
“What Does Bruxism Have to Do With TMD?”
Bruxism and TMD disorder are two different issues but they can be related to each other. As we had mentioned earlier, bruxism is a teeth grinding disorder but on the other hand, TMD disorder occurs because of the misalignment of the joint that joins the lower jaw to the skull. Bruxism can be categorized as a TMD disorder also known as TMJ but the TMD disorder can cause bruxism. There is a high than average chance that a person suffering from bruxism also has the TMD disorder. Check out this recent article that explores TMD treatment by receiving botox injections.
Non-Specific Bruxism Vs Specific Bruxism.
This teeth grinding disorder is classified into two categories i.e. specific and non-specific bruxism. Specific bruxism is the type of bruxism that occurs naturally i.e. without any prior medical condition whereas non specific bruxism is the teeth grinding disorder that occurs as a result of a psychiatric or medical conditions. Non specific bruxism can also be linked with various medications such as recreational drugs and anti depressions.
Even though there is no specific cure for bruxism, it is important to control the effects of the teeth grinding disorder so as to prevent any further damages. Symptoms of bruxism include a painful jaw, high teeth sensitivity, muscle tenderness, insomnia, headache, eating disorder, ear ache, depression, anxiety and stress. Other preventive measures that may help relieve pain include drinking plenty of water, getting enough rest, massaging the muscles of the neck, shoulders and face and also learning physical therapy exercises that can help restore muscle and joints on each side of the head.
How to Save on Dental Night Guard Costs and Choose the Best Night Guard Type for You
Bruxism is a common problem that affects people of all ages. The common cause of teeth grinding for adults is stress, but it’s not always the case for everybody. Some people experience grinding due to prescription medications that cause teeth-clenching behavior, diet, lack of exercise, or overconsumption of caffeine or alcohol, while others (including children) suffer from bruxism for no apparent cause or reason.
Although mild bruxism will have little to no risk for most people, chronic bruxism may cause other health problems such as hearing loss, tension headaches and dental problems. Since bruxism is usually a symptom of an underlying health problem, there’s no specific medication to cure bruxism. The only treatment that most dentists recommend is through the use of night guards. For anyone who’s suffering from the disorder, this will usually be the first approach that dentists advise.
So how do you find the best dental night guards for less and discover which type is the best for you? You will also learn how you can save from dental night guard costs by purchasing night guards without your dentists’ assistance.
In order to minimize the damage caused by clenching and grinding of teeth at night, most people rely on dental night guards to avoid premature wear of teeth. If you’re buying a night guard for the first time, remember that you want to find one that is comfortable and highly durable. If you have sensitive teeth and/or gums, your a light sleeper, or this is your first time wearing a night guard comfort should be your top concern. When looking for the best night guard most of the highly durable ones are often made out of EVA plastic or acrylic material.
When buying night guards, it is a good idea to go with the type your dentist recommends.
A dentist can determine the degree of damage and recommend which night guard type is best for you. Most dentists charge a fee on top of the night guard price, so expect that your consultation fee and purchase will be costly. However, most night guards that come from dentists are made-to-order, to ensure that you will get the perfect fit. In order to save money on made-to-order night guards, you can simply buy direct from the lab. Oftentimes, this is where your dentist sends the mold of your teeth to be made anyway. Buying straight from the lab will cost you less and you don’t need to leave your home! Search for the best manufacturers on-line and compare prices. Once you’ve found one, you can simply make your order online and the lab will send you a molding kit for your special order. You will then send this back to the lab and they will send you your custom fit night guards in less than 2 weeks. This will save you a lot of money that’s usually paid for dentist fees and commissions.
If you’re in a hurry and need a short term solution as soon as possible, the next available option is purchasing ready-made night guards. Ready-made night guards available in different styles and brands. Many of these protectors look exactly the same as the mouth guards athletes use on extreme sports such as martial arts and boxing, so you pretty much have an idea on how comfortable (or better yet, uncomfortable) they can be.
While most custom-made night guards that you get from dentists will cost you around $350 – $950, ready-made night guards that you can purchase over-the-counter or on the internet will cost you around $15 to $40 per piece while custom-made night guards purchased direct from labs will cost you around $70 – $195 per piece. Purchasing mouth guard kits from online shops that will ship directly from labs for you (for a price lesser than most dentists usually charge) will help you save a great deal on your dental night guard costs if you prefer a custom-made night guard over the boil-and-bite variety.
If you’re looking to save money and you don’t worry much about not having a custom-fit night guard for your teeth, a ready-made night guard might be a viable option for you. Popular brands are: DenTek Comfort Fit Dental Guard Kit (around $26 per piece), SmartGuard Elite ($23 per piece) and Doctor’s Night Guard ($15 per piece).
When choosing the best night guard, always make sure that you make comfort and durability your top priority. You don’t always need to spend a lot in order to protect your teeth and gums from the damage caused by bruxism. You can either buy direct or through different shopping sites. A simple Google search will lead you to hundreds of on-line stores where you can get night guards for a fraction of the price your dentist provides.