Wondering what is bruxism? It is a fancy name for grinding or clenching one's teeth while sleeping. Of course this sleep disorder is often not recognized by the sleeper but rather noticed by a sleep partner or parent who sees and hears the sound sleeper grinding one's teeth.
Symptoms of bruxism often are a sore jaw including muscle pain and tightness as well as headaches. Difficulty chewing or opening the mouth wide are other signs of bruxism. Many times it will be during a routine dental exam when the dentist notices that the teeth enamel has been worn down by constant grinding.
Grinding of teeth is common in children. Often parents can hear it when they go in to check on their sleeping child. It occurs during deep sleep and increases during periods of stress. Fortunately the majority of children outgrow this habit, but if they do not, check with the child's dentist to determine how this sleep disorder is affecting their teeth enamel.
When teeth grinding or gnashing becomes chronic it may be time to look at some treatment options. Determining the cause of teeth grinding is important in figuring out what treatment route to take. Misaligned teeth can be one cause of bruxism, but another common cause is stress.
Kids and adults subconsciously increase teeth gnashing at night when the next day presents some challenges or stress such as an exam or a new job. In these situations try to find out what is causing your child or partner to feel worried or concerned. Provide support and reassurance especially before bedtime. Adjust the bedtime routine to include some relaxing habits such as a warm bath or a soothing book. Ask your child about his or her day and what concerns they may have for tomorrow.
For misaligned teeth there are mouth guards or night guards that are custom made by the dentist from molds of the patient's teeth.
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