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Nighttime Bruxism Goes Undiagnosed Too Often

Posted on 1/11/2021 by Fariba Mutschler
Nighttime Bruxism Goes Undiagnosed Too OftenBruxism, which is the clenching and grinding of teeth, may happen during the day, or at night, when the patient is sleeping. Because the activity often happens at night, night bruxism is frequently not diagnosed until some real damage has been done to the jaw or teeth. This damage can involve cracked and broken fillings and teeth, teeth and jaw soreness, aching teeth, and issues with alignment. Therefore, it is important to see us every 6 months to ensure optimum dental health. Children who have bruxism often outgrow the problem while some adults can overcome bruxism by learning to manage stress.

How Night Bruxism Is Diagnosed

During a regular dental exam, we may have a reason to believe that you have night bruxism if we notice your teeth are excessively worn down or you complain of tooth or jaw soreness. To evaluate the extent of bruxism, we investigate the tenderness of the jaw muscles, the presence of missing or broken teeth, or any indications of obvious tooth damage. X-rays help us determine the health of the underlying bone and the possible shifting of teeth. Do you have ear or jaw pain? If so, we will need to find out if bruxism is the cause. If we determine that you do have bruxism and it is related to issues with sleep, we may recommend you visit a sleep medicine specialist. A sleep medicine specialist can see if your bruxism is related to sleep apnea or another sleep disorder. To treat a current problem with bruxism, we may recommend the use of splints and a mouthguard to stabilize the teeth and prevent clenching and grinding. If the tooth erosion is severe, or hinders your ability to chew, we may need to place crowns or reshape the chewing surfaces using bonding.

Night bruxism is often hard to diagnose because the patient is unaware he or she is clenching and grinding their teeth while asleep. That is why we take extra measures to check for abnormal tooth wear or problems with tooth mobility. If you have dental problems you can't explain, bruxism might be the cause. Call us today if you believe you may have the condition.

My daughter was a little nervous to have her dental work done but everyone in the office was super friendly and very reassuring and that helped her nervousness go away. Thanks for the excellent dental experience. ~ Lilyana G.

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Dr. Fariba Mutschler & Dr. Mark Mutschler have created this informative blog to help educate the community. If you like an article or the dental blog in general please use the share it button to post to Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.
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