Sleeping is a natural, healthy function of the body that replenishes energy. However, many people develop nightly sleep habits that they are completely unaware of. In most cases, these actions are harmless, but there are habits that can have severe implications.
One of these bad habits is bruxism (or teeth grinding). Bruxism affects somewhere between 8-33% of the population and can lead to greater issues like TMJ or jaw distortion. Despite how many people are affected by bruxism, most cases are undiagnosed since it happens while you’re asleep.
So how can you tell if you have bruxism? Dr. Brandon Dreier, a Janesville dentist at Dreier Family Dental, has successfully identified many cases of bruxism and will reveal all the symptoms along with the solution.
Symptoms of Bruxism
As bruxism predominantly occurs while sleeping, it can be difficult to identify. One quick method is called the Flat-Smile test. A very noticeable symptom of bruxism is that it shapes your teeth to ‘flatten’ into the same length across your smile. If your canines and incisors are as flat as your molars, you’ve failed the Flat-Smile test.
Unfortunately, the Flat-Smile test only works if you’ve suffered from bruxism for a while. If you have not, It’s important to note other symptoms, such as:
- Heightened tooth sensitivity
- Waking up with jaw or tooth pain
- Headaches in your temples
- Stiff muscles in your neck or jaw
- Damaged or cracked teeth
Causes of Bruxism
Before attempting to treat bruxism it is important to understand why you may have developed this habit. There are 3 main factors that induce bruxism:
- Stress & Anxiety – This is the cause that is the easiest to diagnose and treat. It is usually the source of late-onset bruxism and TMJ problems further on. Stress-induced bruxism manifests most commonly in adults and is a coping method for the stress they feel when awake. While there is medication available to treat this, more natural solutions include exercise, meditation and speaking with a counselor are recommended.
- Misaligned Or Crooked Teeth – While stress is the main cause of bruxism in adults, an abnormal bite is almost as common as it affects children, too. This is an easily recognizable form of bruxism as the protruding teeth are more affected than the rest. Treatments often involve extractions, ClearCorrect or a smile makeover.
- Sleep Apnea And Other Sleep Disorders – Bruxism generally occurs in tandem with other sleep disorders. Snoring, sleep talking and Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) all are linked to bruxism, along with some other severe disorders like sleep paralysis. Treatments vary depending on the disorder, but medication or an adjustment to sleeping habits may be required.
Other Treatments for Bruxism
As noted above, the treatment for bruxism can change depending on the cause. One effective means of preventing night bruxism or TMD is to wear a mouthguard while sleeping. At Dreier Family Dental, we’ll fit you for a custom night guard to protect your teeth and encourage proper sleeping habits.
No matter what the cause, it is important to meet with your dentist regarding your bruxism. For our patients in Janesville, we suggest scheduling an appointment with Dr. Dreier, as he’ll be able to perform a full analysis of your condition and ensure that you are diagnosed correctly.
Don’t let your bruxism go undiagnosed – Book an appointment with Dreier Family Dental today!
If you’re in need of bruxism and TMJ treatment in Janesville, look no further than Dr. Dreier. He can diagnose your bruxism or TMJ disorder, and will know the best way to treat your condition. Contact us at (608) 752-2931, or visit the Dreier Family Dental office at 2203 Holiday Dr. Janesville, WI 53545.