Bruxism refers to the clenching or grinding of teeth. This condition can occur at any age, but is generally thought to occur due to stress. Some people are aware of the process if it takes place during the day, but most occur at night. Because of this, most don't realize it is an ongoing problem.
What are Bruxism's impact on the mouth? There are several conditions that can occur in the mouth when people are experiencing Bruxism:
Wearing away the tooth enamel and possibly the dentin
Cracking or chipping teeth, bridgework, crowns and even implant failures
Tooth sensitivity can occur
Teeth can become painful and loose
Temple or facial pain due to clenching of jaw muscles
Overall facial fatigue
Pain in the temporomandibular joint or jaw
Avoid chewing very tough foods such as beef jerky that tax the joint and fatigue the muscles. Limit chewing gum for the same reason.
Treating the Problem:
Individuals suffering from bruxism should see their dental professional/specialist to determine if they are experiencing this condition. Your dental professional may recommend that you wear a mouth guard or a night guard to cushion the clenching or tooth grinding during sleep. Additionally, your dental professional may suggest ways to reduce stress so you can decrease the level of bruxism. If the problem continues or can't be mitigated, a referral to a specialist may be neccessary.