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What is Bruxism in Dentistry?

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Bruxism in dentistry is the act of clenching your teeth in your sleep, or gnawing and grinding your teeth together subconsciously. Left untreated, bruxism can become a very painful condition with lots of side effects.

Diagnosing bruxism can be pretty easy. Often, your spouse may be able to tell you “I hear you grinding your teeth at night”. They may even wake you up to get you to stop as it can be uncomfortable for someone else to hear, or wake up to. 

When you come in to visit us here at Wilmette Dental, physical signs may also be easy indicators of diagnosing the condition. Sometimes, an unexplained, uneven bite can be a cause of nightly teeth grinding and jaw gnashing. A surprise cracked tooth in an otherwise healthy and strong mouth can be another sign of bruxism. 

Bruxism is involuntary and mostly a subconscious activity brought on often by environmental factors like stress. Many people who fit the “Type A” personality type discover they have bruxism, so learning to control your environment and manage stress become two major factors in reducing or eradicating the effects of bruxism.

A deficiency in Vitamin D or low levels of calcium can also be culprits of bruxism, which can also explain the tendency for teeth to crack under such pressure, which are common side effects of untreated and long-term bruxism. 

Bruxism was coined in the 1930’s by MD Bertrand Frohman as an occlusal habit. Many theories arose during this time of research and development, ultimately coming to believe more generally that bruxism is caused by issues of the mind, such as stress, depression, anxiety, or otherwise. Making sure that your oral, mental,l and personal health are tended to is one of the best preventions to mitigating or eradicating bruxism. 

Often, until the environmental factors can get under control, you can wear a night guard or bite splints to take the pressure off your molars and jawline. If you’ve ever woken to a splitting headache after a night of teeth grinding, you’ll certainly be open to the idea of something to soften the blow.

Thorough consultations and peace of mind are things you can expect as standard around here at Wilmette Dental. With Marquette graduates Dr. Robert Madrigal and Dr. Tom Moscinski who grew up in Glenview and neighboring Lake Forest, our doctors have a passion for the people in the community. It’s because we care deeply, right down to the root.

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