Do you find yourself clenching and grinding your teeth? Tooth clenching and grinding, technically known as bruxism, is a common cause of tooth wear and damage. Whether you’re grinding your teeth at night or during the day, it’s important to get it treated before it causes serious damage to your teeth.
But the treatment for your bruxism depends on what’s causing the condition. Figuring out the cause of your bruxism can direct you to the best treatment.
Stress is one of the most causes of bruxism. If you notice that your tooth clenching and grinding tends to follow on certain situations, such as confrontations at work, periods where your job is especially busy, or other stress-inducing episodes, it’s possible that this is your problem.
Stress-related bruxism may occur at the time of the stressful event, later in the day, or even at night while you’re sleeping.
The cure for stress-related bruxism is usually to combat the cause: stress. There are many ways to combat stress, the simplest being simple at-home relaxation techniques. If you’ve tried relaxation techniques on your own without getting good results, then it may be time to get professional help. Many types of therapy are good for curing bruxism. Be wary of drug-related treatments, however, because some of these can actually make your bruxism worse.
As we hinted above, bruxism is actually a common side effect of medications. If you are taking antidepressants, these could be the cause of your bruxism. Bruxism is a side effect of many types of antidepressants including SSRIs (such as Paxil or Zoloft), SNRIs, tricyclic antidepressants, and lithium.
Other medications that have been reported to cause bruxism include dopamine agents. L-dopa, used in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, has been linked to bruxism. Acid reflux drug Reglan (metoclopramide) has also been linked to bruxism. Ritalin (methylphenidate) has been linked to daytime bruxism.
With medication-induced bruxism, you might be able to get relief by reducing your dosage. Other times, additional medications, such as buspirone.
Another potential cause of your bruxism is when your teeth don’t fit together quite right. Your jaw muscles may be uncomfortable and may be trying to find a comfortable position, and in the process causing your jaw to clench and grind. Bruxism is often associated with TMJ. Bruxism can cause TMJ, and TMJ can cause bruxism.
In this case, a bite splint is a good first step in establishing a comfortable jaw position, and, eventually we may decide to build up your teeth to provide a comfortable rest position.
Protecting and Restoring Your Teeth
If you have bruxism, it’s important to take steps to protect your teeth from damage. A bite guard can help reduce or eliminate damage to your teeth while you try other treatments.
If your teeth have already been damaged, we can repair them, using ceramic fillings, dental crowns, and other restorative dentistry techniques. Your smile can be restored to its proper dimensions and full health.
If you are looking for an Anchorage dentist that can help with your bruxism, please call today for an appointment at Excellence in Dentistry.