Bruxism is a dental problem associated with teeth clenching or grinding, as well as the clenching of the jaws. The teeth grinding can be done unconsciously as when a person is sleeping or it can also be done during the daytime while a person is awake as a way of dealing with pent-up and/or negative emotions. Frequent and excessive grinding of the teeth can lead to pain in the jaw area, and can also result to damage to the teeth, gums, or existing dental fillings.
Stress and Teeth Grinding
One of the most common causes of bruxism is stress. People who feel stressed may unknowingly and frequently clench the jaws, as well as clench the teeth together, to deal with suppressed emotions that may not be that easy to express. Stress-related bruxism can be addressed with proper stress management techniques, including relaxation exercises to relieve the stress that the jaw muscles are subjected to when the teeth are clenched. These exercises are also beneficial in easing the emotional stress that a patient goes through, so that negative feelings can be dealt with in a more positive manner.
Behavioural therapy with the help of psychiatrists can help in determining the cause of the stress, which in turn causes the problem with bruxism. Getting to know what exactly causes or triggers stressful episodes will help solve this concern at the root cause, so that the teeth grinding or jaw clenching moments can be stopped or at the very least, decreased in frequency and intensity.
Improper Teeth Alignment
The teeth may unknowingly and frequently be clenched together when they are not in a properly aligned position. Improperly aligned teeth or malocclusion can cause the upper teeth to involuntary be clenched against the lower teeth a problem which can cause the teeth enamel to be worn with the passage of time. Dental fillings may also be worn or damaged prematurely when they are subjected to this kind of regular and intense pressure.
Bruxism caused by improper teeth alignment can be addressed with the help of mouth guards, which protect both the lower and the upper teeth by preventing them from coming into contact with one another. Orthodontic treatments, such as the use of dental braces, will help move the teeth into a more properly aligned position so they will not grind against each other in an excessive way. Dental crowns and overlays, on the other hand, are used to repair the damage to the teeth caused by too much teeth and jaw clenching.