Bruxism sounds like a scary dental term but what it translates to in simple English is ‘teeth grinding‘. Too many people grind their teeth every day, whether it’s because of a bad habit, from the anger and frustration of life’s struggles, or because of too much excitement. The real problem is that people tend to grind their teeth in their sleep too. According to to the Canadian Sleep Society, approximately 8% of adults and close to 13% of children experience sleep bruxism.
Some common signs found in daily teeth grinders include headaches, earaches, tooth sensitivity, and pain in the jaw area. When you clench or gind your teeth, you are exerting a massive amount of pressure on your teeth. If bruxism is allowed to persist for too long, some serious dental complications can develop such as cracked or chipped teeth, broken teeth, and even severe damage to the temporomandibular joint of the jaws.
But how do you prevent something that most don’t even realize they’re doing? The first thing is diagnosing the problem. This can easily be done through your regular dental visits. Notify your dentist if you suspect you or your child of grinding their teeth, especially if some of the symptoms mentioned before become recurring ones. Your dentist will be able to monitor your mouth and see if there are any particularly alarming amounts of wear on the surface of the teeth.
The next step is prevention. As difficult as it may sound for some, especially ones who have developed bruxism as a bad habit, this is nonetheless extremely important. Always be aware if you are clenching or grinding your teeth during the day, and if so, try your best to regulate this behaviour. Your teeth should always be apart during the day. Try to find stress reducing activities such as exercise, calm music, and reading in order to relax yourself from too much excitement and reduce the urge to clench or grind. On top of that, be sure to decrease your caffeine intake before bed, as this extra jolt of excitement can lead to sleep bruxism. In the worst of cases, your dentist might recommend wearing a custom-fit nightguard. This device works by reducing the pressure forced onto the teeth during sleep and reduces wear.
If you feel you are grinding your teeth, please give us a call at 604-731-3800 to book an appointment.