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What is Bruxism and How Do I Treat It?


Bruxism is a common problem where you unconsciously clench or grind your teeth. The condition can occur during the day or at night when you’re asleep; when experienced at night it’s known as sleep bruxism. Though most people don’t even realize they are doing it, they may experience side effects of the behavior, such as jaw pain, migraines, or damage to their teeth over time.

What Causes Bruxism?

Bruxism can occur in individuals for various reasons, but most commonly, stress or a tendency to nervousness, anger, or frustration is the cause. Certain personality types may be more prone to bruxism, such as those who are incredibly competitive, aggressive, or anxious. An imbalance in the brain’s neurotransmitters is also thought to cause bruxism in some people.

What Are the Symptoms of Bruxism?

While clenching and grinding may not seem like a significant problem initially, the repetitive, forceful motion can create various complications in the jaw, face, teeth, and head over time.

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, talk to your dentist about bruxism:

  • Migraines
  • Increased tooth sensitivity
  • Visibly worn tooth enamel
  • Locked jaw
  • Tense jaw or facial muscles
  • Clicking or popping sound of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ)
  • Cracked or chipped teeth
  • Facial pain
  • Sores on the inside of the cheek from wear

If you experience sleep bruxism, you may be informed by a roommate, family member, or spouse that you are audibly grinding your teeth in your sleep.

Treatment Options for Bruxism

Once you become aware of your bruxism, you can talk to your dentist about managing or treating it. In some cases, if bruxism suddenly develops in adulthood, there could be lifestyle factors affecting your stress level, resulting in this new behavior. In those situations, making changes in your life to reduce your level of anxiety may resolve the issue. Yoga, meditation, listening to music, or massage therapy are all excellent options for destressing.

However, for many people, bruxism is an ongoing concern that must be managed long-term. Your dentist may recommend an NTI-tss, which is a Nociceptive Trigeminal Inhibition tension suppression system. An NTI-tss is an occlusal splint known to prevent migraines and reduce sleep bruxism by managing the trigeminal nerve stimulation, which has three sensory areas within the face.

The splint disrupts the movement of the jaw muscles and reduces the amount of clenching possible, which lessens nerve stimulation. It sits between your front teeth, keeping them from touching each other. Wearing an NTI-tss device also encourages your facial and jaw muscles to relax, allowing you to get a better night’s rest.

Managing Dental Problems Resulting from Bruxism

If you suffer from bruxism, it’s essential to keep up with your regularly scheduled oral hygiene cleanings and dental checkups. You should visit your dentist every six months at a minimum to ensure you stay on top of any cracks, chips, or deteriorating enamel resulting from tooth grinding or clenching. Failure to identify and repair these problem areas quickly can create opportunities for dental caries to form, causing further oral hygiene issues in the future.

If you and your dentist determine that an occlusal splint is the best course of action for managing your bruxism and minimizing further damage to your teeth, ensure you are diligent about wearing it as directed.

Bruxism Treatment in Naperville

If you are dealing with bruxism near Naperville, Illinois, the team at Caputo Dental can help. Call our office today to book your appointment and discuss whether an occlusal splint is the right choice for you.

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