Bruxism, a common dental condition in which patients clench or grind the teeth, can be caused by a wide range of factors. The most common trigger, stress, can be emotional or physical. For some patients, clenching and grinding can be the result of a nervous habit. The condition can also be observed when patients are deep in concentration, completely oblivious to the damage that may be occurring.
Although you may be unaware of the extent of your bruxism habit, discussing your symptoms with Dr. Richard Sousa, your dentist serving Old Westbury, can still be a major step toward the appropriate treatment. According to your specific signs and symptoms, Dr. Sousa may recommend a variety of treatment options, ranging from conservative to surgical. These treatments may be recommended to prevent clenching and grinding from occurring, or to correct any damage that may have occurred as a result of the habit.
For most patients, bruxism happens at night during sleeping hours. Though many patients are not aware that they are clenching or grinding the teeth, waking up with headaches, neck pain, or tenderness in the jaw joint can be a significant clue. Determining whether these symptoms occur every day or once a month can help to determine the treatment method.
A protective mouthguard , known as a biteguard or nightguard, is a common treatment for bruxism. The guard is custom-molded to the shape of the upper or lower teeth and serves multiple purposes. It provides a physically protective barrier that can prevent excessive wear or damage to the teeth. The guard can also be designed to properly position the jaw joint in order to reduce strain and joint damage.
For patients who clench or grind the teeth regularly, the mouthguard may be worn daily. For patients who only occasionally experience bruxism, the guard can be worn as needed. Your dentist may also recommend relaxation or meditation as a preventative measure against clenching and grinding.
Bruxism is a common dental condition that should not be ignored. If you believe that you may be clenching or grinding the teeth, call East Hills Dental Associates at 516-484-6600 and schedule an appointment to discuss your symptoms right away.