The repeated and unconscious gritting and grinding and clenching of your teeth is known professionally as bruxism. It most commonly occurs during sleep and can be hard to diagnose until the symptoms have escalated to gum disease, temporomandibular disorders, or even lost teeth. If you wake up with an aching jaw or notice you tend to clench during the day, it’s vital you seek out a professional consultation from a qualified oral doctor as quickly as possible.
When you partner with Elizabeth Oral Surgery Group, you are giving yourself access to some of the most qualified oral and maxillofacial surgeons in the country. We will help diagnose your bruxism and begin a course of treatment based on the severity of your condition. For an idea on how to approach your bruxism, we have put together a guide on a variety of treatment options.
4 Ways to Treat Bruxism
First and foremost, all of your side effects will be treated first. This can include gum disease, lost teeth, or wobbly teeth. When it comes to actual grinding and clenching, your oral surgeon may recommend one of the four possible treatment options:
If most of your teeth grinding happens while you sleep, your oral surgeon may want to have you fitted for a mouthguard. This will be as minimally invasive as possible so as to not disturb your sleep or to provide any more discomfort. A fitted mouthguard will prevent the wear and tear normally associated with bruxism.
When left untreated, the grinding can see the outside of your teeth begin to wear away, leaving you susceptible to infection, increased sensitivity, and chipped teeth.
Clenching and teeth grinding are often associated with a certain level of stress and anxiety. After all of your physical ailments have been addressed, your oral surgeon may suggest a few lifestyle changes, including:
- Less caffeine or no caffeine after a certain hour
- Anxiety medication
- More consistent sleep schedule
Sometimes, if the root cause of the stress is tackled, bruxism will naturally heal.
Botox or Muscle Relaxants
Bruxism specifically targets the temporomandibular joint, which is used to chew, bite, and speak. Any injury to that joint can cause temporomandibular disorders, migraines, and painful chewing and biting. When a muscle relaxant or Botox is injected directly into the jawline, your muscles will be weakened to the point where the involuntary, chronic grinding will stop. It may even soften out the roughened appearance of the jawline typically associated with bruxism.
It is important to note that voluntary actions, like biting, chewing, and speaking, will not be affected by the muscle relaxants. Combined with other treatments, muscle relaxants can be a great way to alleviate some of the more painful side effects of bruxism.
Professional Jaw Massage
Massage therapy may be employed to help alleviate pain in your jaw, ears, and head. Clenching for hours and hours while you sleep can cause migraine, ear aches, and increased pain while you eat. Receiving a professional jaw massage that targets your masticatory muscles can see a decrease in inflammation and swelling, as well as a less painful chew and bite.
This will often be done in conjunction with other forms of treatment to alleviate the root cause and pain simultaneously.
Are You Affected by Bruxism? Elizabeth Oral Surgery Group Can Help
A painful jaw can really impact the way you go about your life. Enjoying meals becomes more difficult, as does smiling and talking. When your life is being negatively affected by your bruxism, the first course of action is calling a qualified oral and maxillofacial surgeon at Elizabeth Oral Surgery Group. Our doctors have devoted their careers to alleviating pain and delivering minimally invasive, cost-effective surgeries.