Bruxism – a Common “ism” You May Not Have Heard Of

Everyone deals with daily stress – personal and professional relationship can be difficult, along with chronic financial or health concerns. The search for ways to relieve stress is also common – walking, meditation, exercise and yoga can all be helpful.

One of the ways stress can manifest itself physically is jaw clenching or teeth grinding. This is called Bruxism, and it affects approximately 40 million adults and children.

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  • You may not even aware that you’re doing it.
  • You may do it when you sleep – this is called “nocturnal bruxism.”
  • You may grind and clench your teeth during the day.
  • Severe bruxism can break dental fillings or damage your teeth.

When your teeth rub together, the outer layers of your tooth enamel can wear away and your teeth become sensitive. You may also find that you wake with a dull headache or experience facial or jaw pain (TMJ).

Although some experts describe bruxism as nothing more than a bad habit, it may be a result of your body’s reaction if your teeth do not line up or come together properly – this is called your “bite.” Bruxism may also be a symptom of diseases of the facial nerves and muscles. In rare cases, bruxism may be a side effect of some medicines that treat depression, such as Prozac and Paxil.

If you notice any of these symptoms, you may be grinding your teeth:

  • Facial pain and/or headache
  • Popping or clicking in your jaw
  • Jaw muscles that are tight or painful
  • Rhythmic contractions of your jaw
  • Damaged teeth or broken fillings

If you think you are grinding or clenching your teeth at night or during the day, call to schedule a consultation. Dr. Winter will discuss your general health, the possible sources of your stress, your sleep habits and what medications you are currently taking. He will examine the surfaces of your teeth, their alignment, and look for tenderness in your jaw and facial muscles.

If you would you like to know more, call today, to schedule a consultation appointment: 414-464-9021.

Posted in: General Dentistry

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