Bruxism, or teeth grinding, is more than just an annoying habit that affects your partner’s sleep. It can actually cause some health issues, including headaches, jaw pain, and even fractures.
If you’re suffering from teeth grinding, here’s what you need to know about bruxism, its causes, treatments, and how a chiropractor for teeth grinding can help.
What Is Bruxism?
Bruxism refers to when someone unconsciously grinds their teeth or clenches their jaw. It often happens at night but may also happen during the day.
There are two types of bruxism: sleep and awake. Sleep bruxism is a sleep-related movement disorder. People with bruxism are more likely to have other sleep disorders like sleep apnea and snoring.
Awake bruxism is more of an unconscious habit than a sleep disorder. Awake bruxism doesn’t cause teeth grinding. Instead, people tighten their jaws or clench their teeth. This can also cause stiffness, dull headaches, and aching around your jaw.
Awake bruxism is also involuntary. People may notice that they do it more if they are stressed or in deep concentration.
What Is the Cause of Bruxism?
Each person has a unique trigger for teeth grinding. Knowing the root cause of your teeth grinding can help your dentist, doctor, or chiropractor for bruxism identify which treatment is right for you.
Evidence suggests that teeth grinding is a family trait that can be passed on from generation to generation. It means there is a greater chance you grind your teeth if a grandparent or parent grinds their teeth.
Sleep disorders also increase the chances of teeth grinding, especially at night. Talk to a dentist if you have sleep apnea or snore at night.
A person’s emotional and mental well-being may also cause them to grind their teeth. Some of the most common causes include anxiety, anger, depression, and stress. Medications like antipsychotics and antidepressants are also known culprits.
Signs and Symptoms of Bruxism
Sleep bruxism is a sleep disorder that may show signs and symptoms like:
- Clicking, popping, or grinding sounds when moving the jaw
- Facial pain
- Broken, sensitive, or loose teeth
- Jaw pain and stiffness
- Dull headache
- Worn-down teeth
People may also experience ear pain due to the closeness of the temporomandibular joint to the ear since it’s the joint that allows the jaws to open and close.
People who grind their teeth while sleeping may not hear the sounds they’re making, but the person sleeping with them can.
Dealing with Teeth Grinding
Some of the ways that can help you deal with teeth grinding include:
Biofeedback helps people recognize and change their behavior. It can also help treat sleep disorders and awake bruxism.
In biofeedback, a therapist shows you how to control your jaw muscles using electromyography’s visual, auditory, and vibratory feedback.
Meditation helps reduce stress, anxiety, pain, depression, and other symptoms. You can start by downloading a meditation app or joining a group. Meditation requires practice, so don’t lose your patience. You may also combine it with other therapies.
Mouth Guards and Splints
Mouth guards and splints are made to protect your teeth from grinding and clenching. They are made of hard acrylic or soft materials and fit over your lower and upper teeth. You may purchase them ready to wear, or you can have one custom-made at the dentist.
One study, which involves participants doing two 90-minute Hatha Yoga sessions each week for eight weeks, found that practicing yoga led to a significant decrease in mild to moderate depression. However, more extensive studies are needed to understand the effects of yoga on depression.
You should consult your doctor about the risks and benefits if you’re interested in using Botox for your teeth grinding. A medical professional will inject tiny amounts of Botox into your masseter, a large muscle that moves with the jaw. Botox will help relax this muscle, which may help with headaches and teeth grinding. However, it will not cure bruxism but just ease jaw tension. Furthermore, the effect of these injections will last for only three to four months and will need to be repeated.
Exercise can keep you healthy and reduce stress by triggering the release of feel-good endorphins.
If you’re new to exercising, start slow by creating and getting used to daily activities, or try a few different activities to find the right one for you.
Reductive coronoplasty is a dental procedure that can reshape the level of your biting surfaces. This procedure may help if the cause of your teeth grinding is crooked or misaligned teeth.
Tongue and Jaw Muscle Exercises
Exercises for the tongue and jaw can help relax your jaw and facial muscles. They also help maintain jaw alignment. You can do them at home or with a physical therapist. Some exercises to try include:
- Make the “N” sound. It will prevent your top and bottom teeth from touching each other and reduce clenching.
- Touch your front teeth with your tongue while your mouth is open to help relax your jaw.
- Gently massaging your jaw also helps loosen your muscles.
Why You Should See a Chiropractor for Bruxism
Can a chiropractor help with teeth grinding? Yes, but you should first see a dentist who can diagnose your problem and create a treatment plan. When that’s done, visit a chiropractor for bruxism. They can help stop you from grinding your teeth at night by addressing the root cause of your problem.
Teeth grinding and jaw clenching are often triggered by stress or sleep disorder in most cases. A chiropractor for jaw clenching can help you relax and reduce stress levels to address both problems. They may also help strengthen and relax your jaw muscles with jaw exercises.
How To Cope With Teeth Grinding
Aside from visiting a chiropractor for jaw clenching and teeth grinding, you can also take these steps to cope with your condition at home:
- Use a hot compress or ice pack to soothe your pain.
- Avoid hard foods like candies, popcorn, and nuts.
- Avoid sticky peanut butter and other difficult-to-chew foods.
- Adjust your pillows or sleeping position to add support to your head and neck.
Teeth grinding is a common condition, and it has various triggers. It’s important to treat it as soon as possible to avoid dental complications, headaches, and pain. Visiting a dentist, doctor, or chiropractor for teeth grinding is the best way to diagnose and treat it.
Have a better quality of life with Advanced Chiropractors Group.
Find a chiropractor for bruxism today. Our affiliate chiropractors in Clearwater provide different chiropractic treatments to help you sleep better and relax your body to help lessen your teeth grinding. Call us, and we’ll connect them to you right away.