The grinding or clenching of teeth is a disorder called bruxism. It can affect adults as well as children and can occur during the day or at night. But what causes teeth grinding?
The Centre Dentaire & D’implantologie Boucherville, your dentist on the South Shore, can help you understand the different factors that can cause bruxism.
The Leading Cause Is Stress
Every individual experiences and releases stress in a different way, but muscle tension is one of the main physical manifestations. For some people, tension in the jaw will cause clenching or grinding of the teeth.
Most of the time, bruxism is caused by stress. It may be a temporary symptom. If you are going through a stressful situation or period in your life, there is a good chance that teeth grinding is a manifestation of the tension you feel in your daily life.
In fact, bruxism in children is often situational and will pass with time. If bruxism is primarily related to stress, then chronic anxiety can lead to chronic teeth grinding!
People suffering from anxiety disorders or certain psychiatric or neurological pathologies are more at risk of developing bruxism. This condition is also found in people with a competitive spirit.
How can bruxism be treated in these cases? In fact, there is no treatment for bruxism per se: the problem must be treated at its source. If you are experiencing significant stress, a multidisciplinary approach may be appropriate.
On the one hand, your dentist can help you counteract the adverse effects on your teeth by suggesting that you wear an occlusal plaque; we’ll come back to that later. On the other hand, a professional psychologist or therapist can help you reduce the stress that causes your bruxism. This will not only benefit your teeth, but your overall well-being.
For daytime bruxers, those who grind their teeth during the day, awareness of the movement makes it easier to stop than for nighttime bruxers, who cannot control the movement. Unfortunately, in the majority of cases, teeth grinding and clenching occur at night.
This is why your dentist will suggest a solution such as an occlusal plaque. It is made from an impression of your teeth and worn at night or during the day to avoid the upper and lower teeth from coming into contact.
This helps to limit friction, which causes tooth wear and can lead to various dental conditions. In addition, clenching of the teeth often causes mandibular pain and migraines; the occlusal plaque limits the impact on the jaw and reduces these side effects.
Bruxism and Malocclusion
While malocclusion is not usually the origin of clenching, it can significantly worsen the effects. In some severe cases, teeth grinding can even lead to occlusal or chewing problems.
In any event, treating a malocclusion is important for proper masticatory function and for your well-being. If your dentist determines that it is a problem, he or she may recommend orthodontic treatment or refer you to an orthodontist.
Orthodontics is not only a cosmetic solution; it is also a functional solution that can prevent many problems!
How to Identify Bruxism?
If daytime bruxism can be easily and rapidly detected, the same cannot be said for nighttime bruxism. Grinding will usually be identified by friends and family who hear the noise, and clenching of the teeth will usually cause pain in the head or jaw upon waking.
Sensitivity to heat and cold can be another sign that your teeth are being worn down by grinding. If you experience any unusual sensitivities or discomforts, it’s important to tell your dentist quickly!
Sometimes, the dental hygienist will be the first to notice the beginning of wear on your teeth caused by bruxism during your appointments. Dental health professionals are quick to notice abnormalities in your mouth and help you identify the source.
At the Centre Dentaire & D’implantologie Boucherville, prevention is a priority. If you suspect that you or members of your family suffer from bruxism, do not hesitate to contact us!