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Bruxism


Woman with jaw pain due to bruxism or teeth grinding Pain is a way in which your body lets you know that something is not quite right. Waking up in the morning, day after day, with a sore, aching jaw can be an indication of bruxism. Not only does this issue cause pain, but it can also affect the functioning of your mouth and your quality of life. Optimum Oral Surgery Group is here to help.

Do You Grind and Clench Your Teeth?


Bruxism is a term that refers to the grinding and clenching of your teeth. When you have bruxism, excessive pressure is placed on your jaws, your muscles, and the temporomandibular joints, or TMJ. This pressure can wear out your jaw muscles, as well as lead to extreme pain in your jaw and joints, making basic functions like eating and speaking difficult. If bruxism is severe enough, even just opening your mouth can be incredibly painful. With bruxism, your entire quality of life can be affected.

What Causes Bruxism?


There are several different issues that can lead to bruxism. Common causes include:
•  Stress. Stress is one of the leading causes. When you are stressed, your muscles, including those in your jaw, become tense. Tension in your jaw muscles forces your teeth together, placing excessive pressure on your jaw and TMJ.
•  Poor alignment of your teeth or jaws. When your bite is off, this can place uneven pressure on different areas of your jaw, leading to grinding.
•  Lifestyle habits, including tobacco use and alcohol consumption.
•  Certain types of medication.
•  Caffeine.

Indicators of Bruxism


Jaw pain is one of the most common indications of bruxism. However, it is not the only one. Moreover, many symptoms of bruxism do not appear right away. Instead, they start minor, often barely noticeable, and gradually increase the longer the condition goes untreated. Symptoms of bruxism include:
•  Tired facial muscles.
•  Facial pain.
•  Trouble biting, chewing or speaking. Even opening your mouth can be incredibly painful and difficult.
•  Excessive and uneven tooth wear. You may also notice tooth damage.
•  Gum recession.
•  Loose teeth.
•  Chronic headaches or earaches.

Treatment Options for Bruxism


There are several different treatment options for bruxism. With a thorough oral exam, we can determine the cause of your bruxism and help to provide you with an effective treatment plan. Common treatments for bruxism include:
•  Stress relief tactics. For stress-related bruxism, stress relief can be very effective. These techniques include breathing exercises, yoga, meditation, or other activities that help you to feel more relaxed.
•  Medications. Certain medications can be used to alleviate pain and swelling.
•  Reducing your alcohol consumption and quitting tobacco use.
•  A night guard. A night guard is an oral appliance worn over your teeth while you sleep. This helps to absorb the impact of grinding and clenching, taking the pressure off your jaw and TMJ.
•  Botox injections. Botox can be used to target the muscles that contract to cause grinding and clenching, weakening them. This prevents bruxism from occurring.
•  Orthodontics. Bruxism caused by alignment issues can often be treated with orthodontics such as braces or clear aligners.
•  Oral surgery. In severe cases, oral surgery may be required to alleviate bruxism.

With an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment, the pain and other issues associated with bruxism can be alleviated. For more information, and to schedule your consultation, call Optimum Oral Surgery Group today at (856) 778-8686.
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