Bruxism is a term for teeth grinding, which is a condition more common than most people think. Patients do not always realize they have a problem with it until they start seeing the effects that it has on their teeth. Most bruxism occurs when people sleep at night.

Although the specific cause of bruxism is not entirely known, it seems to be more common with patients who have some form of malocclusion. However, it can also be linked to factors such as stress, caffeine consumption, misaligned bites, overactive muscles, or other habits like gum chewing. In any case, teeth grinding can actually have terrible consequences for your dental health. Symptoms can show up as pain in the jaw, damage to teeth, headaches, tired jaw muscles when you wake up in the morning, gum recession, chipped or broken teeth, or other problems.

When periodontists treat bruxism, it typically begins with teaching good oral hygiene habits, such as proper flossing and brushing. Dr. Toms may also recommend relaxation techniques, such as a warm towel on your jaw before bed to relax the jaw muscles. It is also recommended to avoid chewing gum as it encourages excess activity by jaw muscles. Cutting back on caffeine may help reduce stress and nervous activity as well. In some cases, customized mouthguards may be advised to protect teeth from damage.

Bruxism can be costly to fix if it is not caught early. As more damage is inflicted on your teeth through grinding, your teeth can wear down excessively and gums can recede dramatically. This may lead to the need for gum or bone grafts, dental crowns or implants, or other restorative dental procedures. The best treatment is the one that is preventative and that fixes the issue before it has time to cause too much harm.

Dr. Toms can help assess your situation and advise you on specific steps and procedures to minimize damage and protect your dental and gum health. Call today at (513) 922-7300 to set up an appointment and get your dental health back on track.