Lucio H. Kim DDS

Bruxism: Symptoms and Treatment

November 30, 2021
Posted By: Lucio H. Kim, DDS Staff

Bruxism is a severe condition that causes patients to grind and clench their teeth during sleep. According to the Sleep Foundation, it is estimated that 15 percent of adolescents have this condition, 8 percent of adults, and 3 percent of older adults. This statistic translates to millions of people across the globe. 

A bruxism dentist in Glendale, CA, Dr. Lucio H. Kim, treats this condition in the dental office.

What Is Bruxism, and What Are the Symptoms?

Mild bruxism, or occasional bruxism, may not present with symptoms right away. However, it is still essential to have a diagnosis and subsequent treatment because it can lead to health complications over time. For this reason and many others, patients are encouraged to see their dentist twice yearly for dental checkups. The American Dental Association agrees that regular checkups and teeth cleanings are crucial.

By having routine dental exams, a dentist can find the telltale signs of bruxism early before they cause significant damage, including tooth loss and fractures. This schedule saves the patient time, money, and unnecessary pain.

With prolonged or moderate to severe bruxism, the patient may experience some or all of the following, according to Mayo Clinic

  • Teeth grinding and clenching that is pronounced enough to wake others
  • Flat, chipped, fractured, or worn teeth
  • Worn tooth enamel
  • Tooth or jaw pain and sensitivity
  • Tired, tight, or muscular jaw joints
  • Locking or clicking jaw over time
  • Neck, face, ear, and shoulder pain
  • Sleep disruptions
  • Bits or abrasions on inner cheeks
  • Temporomandibular joint disorder

These symptoms can severely impact life quality.

Link Between Bruxism and TMJ

TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, but the shortened version often describes disorders of this joint.

The TMJ is the hinge-like joint that connects the mandible to your skull. If the patient grinds and clenches their teeth, this joint can be seriously affected, leading to deterioration, inflammation, and even misalignment.

Often the treatment a dentist uses for bruxism also eliminates TMJ symptoms, which are similar to bruxism signs. However, TMJ alone—or TMJ not triggered by bruxism—does not typically affect tooth health.

What Causes Bruxism?

There is no single answer to this question, but specialists often point to stress as a possible trigger. This can mean ongoing stress or a stress disorder. Other potential causes of bruxism, according to Johns Hopkins, include medications like antidepressants. 

Occasional teeth grinding may also result from nocturnal issues like nightmares or night terrors. Then there is the possibility of TMJ alone (present at birth or due to an injury) causing bruxism instead of the other way around.

No matter the cause, treatment is crucial!

Why Select Dentists Treat Bruxism

Dentists are maxillofacial experts, which means they have advanced training in the jaw, teeth, and entire oral cavity disorders. In addition, some dentists, like Dr. Lucio, have enjoyed faculty memberships and ongoing training in advanced areas of dentistry, making them ideal for treating conditions like bruxism and TMJ.

Additionally, bruxism impacts the health of teeth and jaw joints, making it a particular concern for most dentists. And the pain associated with bruxism means treatment is a compassionate and necessary undertaking for Dr. Lucio!

Teeth Grinding Treatment in Glendale, CA

Dr. Lucio has had success helping patients through night guard therapy. This approach means the dentist creates a custom appliance worn during sleep.

The bruxism mouth guard in Glendale gently separates the lower and upper jaw throughout sleep, which makes bruxism an impossibility. This device allows patients to sleep easier without fear that they’re damaging their teeth, gums, jaw joints. They can also wake up rested and without the associated pain.

A custom night guard can also help relax the TMJ and lower the inflammation causing pain.

For Bruxism Treatment in Glendale, CA, Contact Dr. Lucio’s Dental Office

Dr. Lucio and his team are happy to evaluate you for bruxism. Give their dental office a call today to get started or if you have any questions about bruxism and jaw health.

The dental team also encourages patients to ask about CareCredit and in-house financing. They do not want a lack of dental insurance—or lackluster coverage—to keep people from getting quality dental care and needed treatment for bruxism.

Lucio H. Kim, DDS, sees patients everywhere, including neighbors in Burbank and Pasadena.

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