Do you ever wake up with a dull headache—or worse—a migraine? Does your neck often feel stiff and achy, and do you experience jaw pain? What about damaged teeth or irritated gums? These are all signs of bruxism, or teeth grinding. Teeth grinding is a harmful habit that’s extremely damaging to your teeth and gums. Your dentist is the best person to diagnose your bruxism and discuss treatments with you. How is bruxism commonly treated?
Your dentist will likely recommend a custom mouthguard while you follow up with your options for bruxism treatment. Although you do have the option of buying a standard mouthguard at the store, these mouthguards often fit poorly and don’t provide the comfort and breathability that a custom mouthguard will at night. Bruxism often happens at night while the sleeper is unaware of it, but it can also happen during the day, too. Talk with your dentist about a custom mouthguard to help prevent damage to your mouth from teeth grinding while you sleep.
Behavioral therapy can help to alter certain behaviors you have and better cope with stressors in your life. Behavioral therapy could include incorporating exercise, meditation, or mental health counseling into your routine. Bruxism often happens because of stress or anxiety, and behavioral therapy can help you to address these problems in a healthy and rational way rather than unconsciously exerting immense pressure on your teeth and jaw. Ask your dentist about behavioral therapy for your bruxism!
Correcting an Improper Bite
Teeth grinding can happen because your upper and lower rows of teeth are not aligned properly. This can lead certain patients to be more susceptible to bruxism. Your dentist can perform an oral exam on your mouth to determine if an improper bite could be the root cause of your bruxism. There are several treatments for correcting an improper bite and the way your teeth fit together. One of the most popular and easiest options is orthodontic treatment, which helps to properly align your teeth so you’ll be less likely to grind them.
Practicing Mindfulness and Body Awareness
Being aware of your body and your habits can be an important treatment factor in treating bruxism. Many people aren’t aware that they have this damaging habit, but others are aware. You can help stop bruxism by simply practicing mindfulness and becoming aware of when you grind your teeth. What emotions are you experiencing at the time? Are you stressed at work or home? This practice works well with behavioral therapy for treating bruxism and properly managing stress and emotions that can influence bruxism.
If you have any of the symptoms of bruxism, schedule an appointment with your dentist. He or she can tell if you’re a teeth grinder and advise you for options to treat this condition. Teeth grinding can eventually lead to tooth loss, so it’s important to recognize the symptoms and seek treatment— bruxism can be treated and you’ll feel better!
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