Bruxism is defined as excessive teeth grinding or jaw clenching. It can lead to many problems such as:

  • Sensitive teeth
  • Aching jaw muscles
  • Headaches
  • Tooth wear/Tooth fractures
  • Excessive wear of dental restorations.

Signs that you may be bruxing:

  • Tenderness in your jaw muscles
  • Broken or worn teeth.
  • Waking up in the morning with headaches or neck pain

The treatment for bruxism usually involves identifying when it occurs. For night time bruxism, we advise that the patient wear a custom fabricated occlusal splint, also known as a “night guard.” Night guards are made of a hard or soft acrylic material. The guard will fit over your top or bottom teeth. In some extreme cases, patients may need to wear their nightguard during the day due to daytime Bruxism. In such a case we would fabricate a thinner, lighter duty nightguard for the patient to wear during the day that doesn’t compromise her ability to speak or eat.

Bruxism has been associated with having a stressful a lifestyle. So practicing proper stress or anxiety management is important. You may try things such as meditation, reading self help books, or consulting a licensed psychotherapist.

Are there any medications I can take?

To date, it has not been scientifically proven that medications can successfully treat bruxism. More research needs to be done. However, the following medications have been shown to at least be somewhat beneficial:

  • Muscle Relaxants: in cases where you are having acute jaw muscle pain, a muscle relaxant can give you immediate short term relief
  • Botox: Botox may help some people reduce their level of bruxism, by freezing the muscles involved
  • Medication for anxiety/stress: These can help, as bruxism is often associated with a stressful lifestyle.

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