A lot of people suffer from teeth grinding or bruxism. While this may seem like behaviour and not a dental problem, it can lead to severe problems later on. Some problems associated with bruxism include headaches, joint pain and worse, wearing down of the teeth.
The exact cause of bruxism is not known; however, different factors can trigger it in different people. These factors include the following :
People who have a sleeping disorder or who snore are likely to develop bruxism as a result. It is an unconscious act, and can even continue as the person sleeps.
Sometimes, when people are tensed, they react by unconsciously grinding their teeth. Furthermore, when under stress or anxious, it can lead to the person grinding their teeth.
Teeth grinding has also been linked to a kind of medication. This medication is an antidepressant and is called Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI).
Some actions like drinking, smoking, consumption of beverages and abuse of drugs like ecstasy and cocaine can also cause teeth grinding or bruxism. It becomes worse when these drinks are consumed in excess.
Symptoms and signs associated with bruxism include:
There are various treatment options available for teeth grinding. Each of these treatment options is very effective when used in the right way. A mouthguard or mouth splint is one of the most effective treatments for bruxism. When worn, it prevents you from grinding your teeth together and also reduces the pain associated with bruxism. Mouthguards can also reduce the risk of you developing other oral problems and also avoid tooth decay.
Sleep hygiene and muscle relaxation exercises are other treatment options that work for sleep and stress-related causes of bruxism. In cases where bruxism is as a result of lifestyle, cognitive behavioural therapy is an effective treatment option.
Your dentist will recommend wearing a mouthguard even when sleeping to reduce the act of teeth grinding as well as protecting your teeth. Your dentist can also prescribe muscle relaxants for stress relief to help you deal with stress. You can speak with your dentist to help you recommend other options to reduce stress. Furthermore, you can start up an exercise program, or see a therapist just for help in reducing stress and its effects on you.
The cost of mouthguard varies, especially from the dentist you chose to get them from. For standard and customised mouth guards, the prices vary. However, the cost of these two ranges from £250 – £650.
If left to continue for long, bruxism can cause severe damage like loss of teeth or fractured teeth. In worse cases, the teeth can wear down entirely to a stump. When this happens, treatment options can include dental bridges, dental implants, partial or complete dentures, root canal treatment and even dental crowns.
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