Bruxism is a condition in which a person unconsciously grinds or clenches their teeth. While it most commonly occurs at night when a person is sleeping, it can also develop during the day. Daytime bruxism can affect both children and adults, although some people do not even realize they have it. If you believe you’re experiencing daytime bruxism, speak with your Melbourne FL dentist about treating your condition. This painful issue can often be effectively eliminated by forming a treatment plan catered to the individual patient.
Daytime vs. Sleep Bruxism
Both daytime and sleep bruxism can be harmful to the teeth and jaw. However, the two conditions must be treated in different ways. As the name suggests, sleep bruxism occurs when you grind or clench your teeth during sleep. This type of activity is considered a sleep-related movement disorder. If you suffer from sleep bruxism, your dentist may recommend wearing a dental appliance at night known as a night guard.
As mouth guards are not practical for daytime use, alternative treatments are often sought for daytime bruxism. Traditionally, daytime bruxism has been managed through behavior changes. For example, being taught how to rest your teeth, lips and tongue. Medicine may also be recommended to regulate neurotransmitters. In some cases, biofeedback that signals when there is too much muscle activity in the mouth or jaw can help make patients alert of their grinding or clenching behaviors.
Common Signs & Symptoms
While daytime bruxism does not always cause symptoms right away, chronic teeth grinding and jaw clenching often causes discomfort in the long-term. Sometimes the symptoms are broader, such as headaches or facial pain. Other times, the symptoms can be more targeted, such as pain or stiffness in the jaw joint or surrounding muscles. Daytime grinding and clenching can also cause other symptoms such as earaches, disrupted sleep, and broken fillings or teeth.
If grinding and clenching continues, the teeth can wear down. In turn, you may experience increased sensitivity and possibly even tooth loss. In addition to your teeth becoming flatter, your teeth could also become chipped or fractured. All of these conditions can result in increased tooth pain and sensitivity that occurs all the time or when exposed to certain stimulants. Some people may also experience pain in the neck area.
Bruxism Risk Factors
It is not always easy to target the cause of daytime bruxism. However, there are certain factors that are known to increase your risk of experiencing teeth grinding and clenching. One of the most common causes is stress. Increased stress or anxiety can cause you to grind or clench your teeth without you even knowing that you’re doing it. Certain personality types, such as competitive or aggressive, are more prone to awake bruxism.
Your age may also impact whether or not you experience daytime bruxism. Teeth grinding and clenching is more common in children and will typically go away by adulthood. However, many adults do have daytime bruxism as well. This problem can also be a side effect of certain medications or other substances. For example, it can be a side effect of certain psychiatric medications, such as antidepressants. It is also more common in people that drink alcohol and caffeinated beverages, smoke tobacco, and use recreational drugs.
Managing Your Daytime Pain
Treatment for daytime bruxism is dependent on a number of factors, such as the age of the patient and the extent of the grinding or clenching. If the patient is a child, treatment may not be necessary as most children will outgrow it. However, if the problem is severe, treatment may be recommended. Dental appliances, medications, and therapies are most commonly used to treat daytime bruxism.
If misalignment of the teeth is thought to be contributing to the condition, your Melbourne Florida dentist may recommend orthodontic treatment. By getting traditional or clear braces, you may be able to alleviate your symptoms. It is also a good idea to avoid or limit your intake of alcohol and caffeine. Reducing your stress levels though deep breathing, yoga, exercise, medication, or acupuncture can also be helpful.