Bruxism is a condition that explains clenching and grinding of the teeth. This problem affects both adults and children, and in many cases it is something that occurs while you are asleep. Stress and anxiety often trigger the condition, and you might find yourself grinding your teeth without even realizing it.
Unfortunately, bruxism can be extremely damaging to your mouth. It can cause your teeth to shift out of position and can lead to premature wear of the chewing surfaces. You might experience TMJ pain, headaches, and neck pain, and as the structure of your teeth change, your facial shape might also be altered.
Additionally, as your teeth wear down, the nerve roots can become exposed, and you might need restorations like crowns put into place in order to correct the damage.
Fortunately, there are ways that you can prevent bruxism and the related effects if you think that you might be at risk. Caffeine, drugs, and alcohol all tend to aggravate the problem, so if you consume any of these substances before you go to bed, you could be at a heightened risk of clenching and grinding while you are asleep.
Besides avoiding these things, you can also try to hold a warm cloth against your cheeks before you go to bed, as this can help to relax the muscles while you are sleeping.
If you or your child is experiencing bruxism, it is important that you talk to your dentist. It can be especially difficult if your child is the one who is experiencing the problem, but your dentist may be able to prepare a mouth guard in order to prevent damage.
You or your child will wear the mouth guard while asleep in order to prevent the negative effects of grinding.