In a recent blog, we talked about some of the potential symptoms of bruxism, the often painful grinding of the teeth or clenching of the jaw. Here I would like to provide some potential treatment options for those suffering from this condition that can cause headaches, jaw pain, sensitive teeth, or broken dental work.
• Time - For some patients, especially children, time alone resolves their issue with grinding and gnashing. Many children grind their teeth for a short period, particularly if they are experiencing stress or have sustained an injury. In adults, often times bruxism just fades away with the resolution of a conflict or after a vacation. For many, the grinding is simply not bad enough to warrant any action. If you or your child find yourselves grinding your teeth, it’s best to talk to your dentist about it. It’s possible that no immediate treatment will be necessary--other than just waiting it out--but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
• Medication - If you are in pain from the clenching and grinding, you may benefit from a mild pain medication like ibuprofen to alleviate your aches. If you find yourself taking medication for bruxism-induced headaches on a regular basis, consult your dentist to find a more preventative method to avoid the pain altogether. Muscle relaxers can help certain patients avoid clenching or grinding during sleep. Botox has even been used as a treatment for patients who did not respond to any other medications.
• Mouth guards or splints - If your bruxism reaches a certain point, it is likely your dentist may recommend mouth guards. Acting to protect the rows teeth from each other, the mouth guard will ensure that the teeth you grind do not come in contact with one another while you sleep--or even while you’re awake, as needed. Many patients report mouth guards to be the easiest, most long-term solution to their grinding and clenching aches and pains. Made of acrylic, or a similar strong but light material, mouth guards can be custom fitted to your teeth for comfort, convenience, and ease.
• Stress management - For many patients though the symptoms of bruxism are related to their teeth, the cause of their grinding is not even remotely dental. Managing bruxism can sometimes be more of a mental pursuit than a physical one. I have seen many patients successfully increase their exercise to release stress and minimize symptoms. Others begin yoga or meditation classes. Some have even benefited from seeing a therapist or attending group meetings to talk about stress and potential triggers of stress-related activities.
If you’re concerned that you or a loved one may be experiencing bruxism, call or message us today to learn more about what options we can provide to alleviate your pain and prevent this issue going forward.