Teeth Grinding, Clenching, and Bruxism

There is a good chance you have heard Dr. Shah & Dr. Velilla or someone else at Shah and Velilla DDS mention the term ‘bruxism’ and discuss the problems it can cause for your oral health. At the office, we talk about a lot of technical dental stuff that doesn’t necessarily concern our Novi patients, but bruxism is something we definitely want you to know about. Stress and bruxism go hand in hand, and we are going to tell you exactly what that means and how it affects your health.

Alright, we know you are on the edge of your seat! What is bruxism and why does it concern you? Well, how often do you find yourself clenching your jaw or notice others doing just that? Bruxism is a common condition characterized by jaw clenching and the grinding of teeth. It is perfectly normal to clench your jaw and grind your teeth from time to time, but it can be very damaging if it gets to be a regular habit. The biggest issue with bruxism is that people are rarely aware that they suffer from this condition, and left unchecked, it can cause a number of painful and inconvenient side-effects.

Have you or a loved one suffered from any of the following symptoms?

  • Your teeth have become chipped, broken, flattened or worn down
  • You have experienced pain, fatigue, or tightness in your jaw
  • You have frequent earaches
  • You have frequent headaches
  • Your teeth have become noticeably more sensitive
  • Your tongue has odd indentations
  • The insides of your cheeks are damaged from chewing
  • Your loved ones and/or sleeping partner notice that you frequently grind your teeth while you are sleeping.

If any of these tell-tale signs are familiar to you, it is time to let Dr. Shah & Dr. Velilla know. If you suspect you might have a damaging case of bruxism but aren’t sure, we recommend that you ask your spouse or partner. This is because loved ones are more likely to notice you grinding your teeth before you do.

Now that you know what bruxism is, let’s talk about why it happens. The answer is simple: stress. An increase in stress and/or anxiety is most likely the culprit behind a serious case of teeth grinding. Bruxism is one of many psychosomatic (physical manifestations of psychological problems) conditions that stress can cause and it can be especially damaging if any of the following categories apply to you.

Factors that can make the effects of bruxism worse:

  • An abnormal bite
  • Missing teeth
  • Crooked or improperly aligned teeth
  • Recent dental (including cosmetic) work
  • Recent orthodontic work

In some cases, bruxism can be caused by Parkinson’s disease or Huntington’s disease. Antidepressants have also been known to cause bruxism, but this side-effect is rare. If you are suffering from bruxism, it is most likely because of stress related to your daily life.

Why is Bruxism a Big Deal?

Good question. In most cases, it is not a big deal. However, Dr. Shah & Dr. Velilla remind us that patients who have severe bruxism are at risk for any and all of the following complications:

What to Do if You Have Bruxism

Treating the symptoms of teeth grinding is important and Dr. Shah & Dr. Velilla will certainly help with that, but bruxism often requires more. The best option is to work on alleviating the stress of your daily life. Easier said than done, we know, but we at Shah and Velilla DDS are here to help you get through it. Exercise, meditation, and good hobbies often work wonders, but counseling is a great option as well. In addition, Dr. Shah & Dr. Velilla can set you up with a custom mouth guard that will help mitigate the effects of teeth grinding. Do not trust bruxism guards from anywhere else in Novi, because it is possible to exacerbate your condition with anything other than medical-grade products.

Contact Shah and Velilla DDS today and we’ll help protect you and your family from bruxism!

Sources

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bruxism

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/bruxism/DS00337

http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/teeth-grinding-bruxism

“I love dentistry – it allows me to combine art and science to help people look and feel better. There are so many options available to restore a patient’s teeth and give them a healthy, long-lasting smile. At our office, we listen to our patients’ goals and desires and find a way to make them a reality. “It makes me feel good that so many people love coming to see me. We always create a welcoming, relaxed environment, an experience people always appreciate. It is not uncommon to hear people say that I make their dental visits enjoyable and they have never had such a good time going to the dentist! “I see only one patient at a time and each is given individual attention and ample time to address all their concerns. Our office is very different, and I welcome everyone to come and discover how enjoyable your dental visits can be.” DDS: University of Michigan School of Dentistry, Ann Arbor, MI
BS: Biology/Chemistry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Alumnus: Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies, Nash Institute for Dental Learning, Dawson Center for Advanced Dental Study
Member: American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, Academy of Comprehensive Esthetics, Academy of General Dentistry, American Dental Association, International Congress of Oral Implantology, Michigan Dental Association, Oakland County Dental Society Dr. Shah grew up in a family of physicians and knew from an early age he wanted to go into the medical field. He loves the hands-on, artistic aspects of dentistry, and in his spare time he enjoys spending time with his wife and two young sons. - Dr. Sanjiv Shah “I’m intrigued by all aspects of dentistry – I love helping my patients achieve healthy, beautiful smiles and a lifetime of oral health.” “I feel it is very important to earn my patients’ trust. I encourage them to ask plenty of questions, and I spend a lot of time during the consultation process to make sure they are comfortable with the treatment plan, prior to starting the work.” Dr. Velilla’s parents were both physicians who encouraged him to pursue a career in dentistry. His interest in the field was piqued at age 13, and today he enjoys creating beautiful, healthy smiles and making a difference in people’s lives. In his spare time, he enjoys golf and traveling. - Dr. Morris Velilla

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