A Dentist’s Guide to Bruxism

Bruxism is the clinical term for habitually grinding your teeth, and for many patients, the habit may not even be recognizable. Though you might notice your teeth grinding together when you’re stressed or angry, bruxism patients don’t usually realize that they’re doing it, often because the grinding occurs while the patient is sleeping. Walnut Creek dentist, Dr. Wayne Walker, often helps patients who suffer from bruxism find relief from their condition with an appropriate dental treatment. In many cases, the habit can be halted by correcting an imbalance in your bite’s symmetry, or by relieving excessive stress that may be causing your condition.

The Problem You Might Not Know About
If you notice yourself grinding your teeth during the day, you can proactively try to stop it. Placing the tip of your tongue between your upper and lower front teeth should forcibly stop your jaws from clamping down. For most patients, however, bruxism isn’t defined until the habit causes noticeable damage to their teeth and other oral structures. If you attend your dental checkups and cleanings on schedule (at least once every six months), then Dr. Walker can more effectively observe your dental health for signs of excessive wear or structural damage, like cracks, that can indicate the excessive pressure generated by bruxism. A comprehensive examination will help Dr. Walker determine the cause of your bruxism and prescribe an appropriate form of treatment.

Hope for Teeth Grinders
Luckily, bruxism patients aren’t without hope. On the contrary, once the condition is identified and its cause uncovered, habitual teeth grinding is highly treatable. Common causes of bruxism include crooked teeth, an asymmetrical jawbone, damaged or misaligned jaw joints (TMJ disorder), or an excessive level of anxiety. Correcting your bite’s balance can often restore its symmetry, relieving the discomfort that can cause your jaw to shift and clench unconsciously. If you’re under an increased amount of stress, then Dr. Walker can recommend stress-relieving techniques and activities that will help alleviate your anxiety, as well as the symptomatic grinding of your teeth that can accompany it.

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