Woman With Neck PainWhen trying to sleep, many people do not have a silent night because of bruxism, the condition of clenching and grinding teeth, usually during sleep. Often, the sufferer is not  aware of the condition and, upon waking, does not understand the cause of his face and neck pain. In this blog, your Waco dentist, Dr. Corbet Locke, discusses the causes and symptoms of, and treatment options for, bruxism.

Causes of Bruxism

The exact cause of bruxism is not known, but doctors and dentists suspect that stress is a primary trigger. Other suspected factgors include malocclusion, diet, and drug and alcohol use.

Symptoms

People who grind their teeth while asleep often wake with severe jaw pain and headaches. Because the jaw muscles are close to the ear canal, many also have earaches. Other common symptoms include pains in the neck, low back, and face. Grinding will wear down tooth enamel, making teeth more sensitive to heat and cold. Often, teeth become cracked or broken because of grinding. Tooth grinding is also a suspected cause of TMJ disorder.

Potential treatments

There is no medication to treat the condition. Nighttime mouthguards have proven effective at preventing teeth damage, however. If Dr. Locke confirms that you have bruxism, he will create a custom mouthguard for you to wear during sleep. If symptoms persist, he can recommend other courses of treatment, as well as relaxation exercises. Many patients find that a reduction in stress causes the condition to subside. Reduce stress by healthy eating, exercise, and getting enough sleep. Not drinking alcohol, smoking, or using drugs will also reduce stress levels.

Your Waco Dentist Can Treat Your Bruxism

If you suspect that you grind your teeth during sleep, Dr. Locke will perform a complete oral examination to diagnose the cause. If the teeth have been damaged, he can suggest the best course of restorative treatment. If you have developed TMJ from bruxism, he can treat that as well. Schedule a consultation by calling our 76712 dental office at (254) 776-4888. We welcome patients from Waco, Woodway, McGregor, Hewitt, and surrounding communities.