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Lifetime Smiles June 28th, 2007


Don’t Take It Out On Your Teeth


Baglio & McDonaldGrinding your teeth or clenching your jaws is called bruxism and it often happens as we sleep. Bruxism is not just caused by stress but by sleep disorders, an abnormal bite or teeth that are missing or crooked. This condition effects both children and adults. Bruxism can be mild and may not require treatment. However, it can be frequent and severe enough to lead to tempromandibular joint disorders (TMD), headaches, damaged teeth and other problems. Unfortunately, people with sleepbruxism usually are not aware of the habit, so they aren't diagnosed with the condition until complications occur. That is why it is important to know the signs and symptoms and to seek regular dental care. Teeth grinding can be loud enough to wake your sleep partner. Some of the signs of bruxism are teeth that are worn down or chipped, which can expose the inside of your tooth causing sensitivity. Some of the other signs and symptoms may be jaw pain or tightness in your jaw muscles, earaches, headaches, chronic facial pain or chewed skin on the inside of your cheek. Some of the causes of bruxism in adults may be anxiety, stress or tension, suppressed anger or frustration, aggressive, competitive or hyperactive personality types. In children, bruxism may be related to growth and development of the jaws and teeth. Most children will outgrow bruxism before they get their adult teeth. Bruxism can also be an uncommon side effect of some psychiatric medications including certain antidepressants. During your dental exams your dentist will check for physical signs of bruxism, such as unusual wear and tear on your teeth, broken dental restorations and tooth sensitivity. If your dentist suspects bruxism he or she will try to determine its cause by asking questions about your stress level, your general health, your daily medications and whether you routinely drink alcohol or caffeinated beverages, especially during the evening. If you have a sleep partner they may be able to detect unusual grinding sound during the night. If your grinding is extensive enough, your dentist may make a mouth guard to fit your teeth and prevent further damage. Your dentist might alsorecommend crowns or other dental restorations to reshape the chewing surfaces of your teeth and replace worn off tooth surface. Although reconstruction of your teeth can correct the wear, it will not stop the bruxism. Other approaches to bruxism can be behavior therapy, as well as stress management. Talk to your dentist about this common problem and you may find yourself waking up more refreshed, experiencing less headaches, saving your teeth, and protecting your tempromandibular joints.

Thomas P. Baglio, DDS & Rabee McDonald, DMD

General and Cosmetic Dentistry
1060 E. Grand Ave
Escondido, CA 92025 760.747.1811.





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