Bruxism, often viewed as an annoying habit, is the involuntary grinding of the teeth. Usually the habit is attributed to physical discomfort or the inability to deal with anxiety or stress.
However, teeth grinding, left uncorrected, can severely damage your teeth and jaws over long periods of time.
Teeth Grinding can cause abrasion to the chewing surfaces of the teeth. This abnormal wear and tear can damage the periodontal ligament, causing teeth to become loose and, in some cases, cause hypersensitivity (from small fractures that form, exposing dentin.)
Symptoms such as chronic jaw pain, facial pain and headaches can be attributed to bruxism.
Below are a few clues you may suffer from bruxism:
- Your jaw is often sore, or you hear clicking sounds when opening or closing your mouth.
- Your teeth seem abnormally short or worn down.
- You notice small indentations in your tongue.
Bruxism can be treated. A common therapy involves a custom appliance worn while sleeping. Other effective methods such as biofeedback "auto suggestion" and behavior modification can be used.
Your dentist can help you decide which treatment best suits you.