What is bruxism?
Teeth grinding, also called bruxism, is often viewed as a harmless, though annoying habit. Teeth grinding can literally transform your bite relationship (how your teeth fit together when biting down), and worse, severely damage your teeth and jaws over long periods of time. Teeth grinding can cause abrasion to the chewing surfaces of your teeth. The abnormal wear and tear will prematurely age and loosen your teeth. Bruxism can also lead to chronic jaw and facial pain as well as headaches.
If no one has told you that you grind your teeth, here are a few clues that you may suffer from bruxism:
- Your jaw is often sore, or you hear popping sounds when you open and close your mouth.
- Your teeth look abnormally short or worn down.
- You notice small dents in your tongue.
Bruxism is somewhat treatable. A common therapy involves use of a special appliance called an occlusal guard, worn while sleeping, or during the day during stressful periods of life.