What is Teeth Grinding and How Can You Prevent It?
The condition where an individual gnashes, clenches, or grinds their teeth is called bruxism. Bruxism can occur while awake or during sleep. Grinding teeth in sleep is also known as nocturnal or sleep bruxism. However, some people also clench or grind their jaw subconsciously while awake. This is also referred to as awake bruxism.
Fortunately, whether patients grind teeth in their sleep or while awake, there are several remedies available at their disposal. Understandably, some remedies will work better than others, depending on the symptoms and underlying causes of the condition. A dentist or doctor can provide the best recommendation to end bruxism.
Some of the possible remedies for bruxism include:
Mouthguards and Splints
Mouthguards work by cushioning the teeth and preventing them from grinding against each other during sleep. They can be purchased over-the-counter (OTC) or custom-made at the dentist’s office.
For those with chronic sleep bruxism, custom-made mouthguards may be used to prevent damage to the teeth. Custom-made ones are often more expensive compared to OTC options but they can be the best option for some people.
However, while OTC mouthguards may not be the recommended alternative for those patients with severe bruxism, their low cost makes them a viable and attractive choice for patients with minor teeth grinding.
Reductive coronoplasty is the dental procedure that involves the reshaping or levelling of the biting surface of the teeth. The procedure is often considered the best option if the grinding is caused by misaligned, crooked, or crowded teeth. In some instances, a second procedure known as additive coronoplasty is performed to build up the teeth. Both procedures can be done by a dentist.
For some individuals, bruxism may be the result of mental health issues such as depression, stress, and anxiety. That being said, stress-reduction techniques may be recommended. Some of the stress-reduction techniques that can help with bruxism include:
Some studies reported a dramatic reduction in mild to moderate depression after yoga practice. One study had their participants do two 90-minute Hatha yoga session weekly for eight straight weeks and a significant decrease in depression was noted. However, more comprehensive studies are still needed to fully understand yoga’s effect on depression.
One of the practices that’s believed to greatly reduce and alleviate pain, anxiety, depression, and stress is meditation. Nowadays, people have the option to either download a meditation app and meditate on their own or join a meditation group if it is more to their liking.
Exercise has also been known to minimise stress by helping produce feel-good endorphins. Those who are new to exercise however are advised to take it slow at first and try to incorporate exercise in their daily activities when possible. A doctor may also be able to recommend the best exercise suited for patients.
- Talk Therapy
Talking to a trusted friend, counsellor, or therapist may also be recommended to help reduce and alleviate depression, stress, and anxiety. However, if stress is already affecting the individual’s day-to-day life, a psychiatrist may prescribe medications when needed.