Teeth Grinding, otherwise known as Bruxism, is the clenching or grinding of your teeth. Those who are affected by Bruxism aren’t even aware that they are doing this. In the United States, bruxism affects about 30 million to 40 million children and adults.

There are two types of teeth grinding; Some people only grind their teeth while they are sleeping. This is referred to as “nocturnal bruxism” or “sleep-related bruxism.” As the brain approaches the deep sleep cycle, all of the muscles in the body have to fully let go and relax. Since the jaw is so heavy and the tongue expands to nearly twice its size when relax, the airway is bloackes. Researchers have studied the brain scans of those who had airway blockages while sleeping and have concluded that the brain’s natural reaction is to grind the teeth, as it reopens the airways.

Others will find themselves grinding or clenching their teeth during the daytime also. Daytime bruxism is often correlated with stress or anxiety. Stress can occur for many different reasons, both happy and sad. Stress can last for a long time, or be fleeting. Anxiety is a disorder and can range from mild to intense feelings or worry and fear.

Bruxism can have a variety of causes. Bruxism has been categorized by experts as nothing more than a habit. It can also be the body’s natural reaction when your teeth and jaw do not line up or come together properly. It is a common symptom of certain rare diseases that affect the nerves and muscles in the face. In rare cases, it may be a side effect of some medicines that treat depression.

People with severe bruxism can break dental fillings or damage their teeth. Grinding your teeth together will cause the outer layers of enamel to wear away, explosing dentin. The exposal of dentin can increase tooth sensitivity and cause extreme pain. Tooth damage caused by teeth griniding can be prevented in both children and adults. The common solution to this problem is to being given either a night bite plate or bite splint to wear at night to prevent teeth grinding while you are asleep. A bite splint provides relief of the pressure on the facial muscles and jaw joint. The muscle pain and jaw tightness caused by bruxism can be relieved by using a hot compress on facial muscles.

If your bruxism is related to stress or anxiety, your dentist or physician may recommend professional counseling in order to reduce your level of stress and help you relax. You also may receive a prescription for diazepame or amuscle relaxant to relieve you of anxiet or ease the spasm in your jaw. If you develop bruxism as a side effect of antidepressant medicines, your doctor may switch you to a different presciption or give you another medicine to counteract your bruxism.

If you experience any of these signs and symptoms, schedule an appointment at Beautiful Smiles of Long Island. We will be able to determine the best treatment for you.