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Dentistry in Leesburg, VA

General & Family Dentistry

Bruxism

What is Bruxism?
Some people react to stress by grinding their teeth unconsciously during the day or, more commonly, while sleeping. This constant pressure and motion can harm teeth, as well as muscles and tissues in and around the jaw. This condition is known as bruxism, and can be remedied with a nightguard.

The Facts About Clenching & Grinding
Common symptoms of bruxism include a sore jaw, headaches, or earaches. Causes vary, but may include stress, anxiety, tension, misaligned teeth, posture, diet, sleeping habits, and other factors. Bruxism is most prevalent in women and generally found in about one-third of the population.

Individuals who react to stress with anger, pain, frustration, aggression, or competition are most susceptible to this condition. People with bruxism may have other biting habits, such as biting fingernails, pencils, lips, or the insides of their cheeks.

Constant clenching and grinding of the teeth can cause not only the aforementioned symptoms, but it may also contribute to TMJ (temporomandibular joint) dysfunction, which has a long list of side effects associated with pain in the head and neck. Teeth rubbing together consistently will result in surface wear over time, which will eventually cause dental problems. Insomnia, eating disorders, and depression can result from bruxism if left untreated.

A Solid Solution
Working to stop an unconscious habit may seem like a daunting task, but Loudoun Dental Smiles & Dr. Varney are here to help you through each and every step of the process. A thorough evaluation will allow us to check your teeth, tissues, and muscles. If we determine that you suffer from bruxism, we'll create an orthodontic appliance, also called a nightguard or splint, to prevent grinding and clenching. Many types of nightguards exist, and our patients react differently to the various styles. If one appliance does not work, another may - we’ll keep trying until we find a comfortable and effective solution. In many cases, simply wearing a nightguard will eliminate the problem. However, if the condition persists, we can prescribe alternative therapies.

Some practices that can relieve symptoms of bruxism include stress and anxiety management, focused facial relaxation, massage and stretching of face and neck muscles, applying ice or wet heat, proper rest, eating soft foods, and hydrating the body. If your teeth were damaged because of bruxism, or if we find TMJ to be a factor, our team will repair and treat you to provide complete relief.

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