Bruxism Treatment in Washington DC and Alexandria VA
Do you find yourself clenching your teeth often? Clenching and grinding of the teeth are a common parafunctional activity for individuals dealing with a condition known as bruxism. Many patients deal with this condition while they are sleeping, but there are many patients that clench and grind their teeth during the day. It’s important to receive treatment before it does start to cause significant oral health problems. Dr. Zalewsky’s experience in dealing with bruxism has allowed him to develop unique treatment methods designed to reduce pain, prevent oral health concerns, and allow patients to rest easy.
Why Does Bruxism Occur?
Just like breathing, chewing is a neuromuscular activity that is controlled by your subconscious. The brain does have control over chewing and can become active while the body is resting which can result in grinding and chewing during sleep. When this occurs, patients often deal with enamel loss, facial pain, occlusal trauma, and arthritis.
What Are Bruxism Symptoms?
How do you know if you are struggling with bruxism? In many cases, patients will report ongoing headaches, earaches, depression, anxiety, stress, and eating disorders. If you awake to a still jaw and sore teeth each morning, there is a good chance you are dealing with bruxism. Scheduling an appointment for bruxism treatment is the best way to identify the severity of your condition.
How is Bruxism Diagnosed?
Patients will need to schedule an appointment with Dr. Zalewsky to determine if they have bruxism, and the extent of their condition. Some patients can have severe enamel loss, requiring dental crowns to be placed on the teeth to protect the root of a tooth. Other patients simply need a mouthguard to protect the enamel of the teeth from severe damage.
Dr. Zalewsky will discuss your symptoms and determine the best treatment options. Failure to treat bruxism will lead to additional concerns including:
- Gum recession. Bruxism is one of the leading causes for gum recession and tooth loss. When a patient grinds their teeth it can damage the soft tissue directly and causes the teeth to become loose. Deep pockets form around the teeth, trapping bacteria and causing decay to start attacking the jawbone and structure of a tooth.
- Facial pain. When a patient grinds their teeth, the muscles of the jawbone are pushed often. What normally occurs is constant headaches, facial swelling, and jaw pain.
- Occlusal trauma. The chewing surfaces of the teeth need to be cared for if you would like to prevent fractures and other oral health issues. Teeth grinding causes unnecessary pressure and friction on the chewing surface of a tooth, causing the tooth to become weak. When the structure of the tooth is compromised, it can easily crack and lead to severe dental problems.
- Arthritis. Bruxism will lead to a painful condition known as temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ). TMJ can cause the jaw to become locked in place and not open properly. Patients dealing with TMJ can end up dealing with long-term treatments needed to help the jaw open and close properly.
To identify the severity of your condition, Dr. Zalewsky will utilize in office devices to determine how much enamel loss and gum recession has been caused by bruxism.
How is Bruxism Treated?
Mouthguards can be worn to prevent teeth grinding. A mouthguard is placed between the teeth when resting, allowing a patient to clench and grind on it instead of the teeth. The mouthguard can prevent enamel loss, and for some patients, it will stop the grinding action altogether.
A BiteStrip is another treatment device we use to help patients with bruxism. The device will sense and monitor activity in the jaw muscles while sleeping which we send patients home with to determine common sleeping patterns.