Doctors at the well-respected Mayo Clinic estimate that about 30 percent of the adult American population suffers from teeth grinding or clenching. More than an annoying habit, bruxism leads to many uncomfortable and destructive health problems. Dr. William Eick, dentist in Rocky River, offers solutions to bruxism so smiles stay strong and functional and patients return to full health and well-being.
It’s a Fact
Anger, work stress, and just the ordinary anxieties of life take a toll on our physical health. Bruxism, or teeth grinding, often originates as a reaction to the concerns and frustrations that plague individuals. Additionally, some physical conditions lead to this unconscious movement disorder of the jaw and teeth. Some examples are:
- Teething in infants
- Misaligned oral bite
- Sleep apnea, a sleep disorder involving snoring, oxygen deprivation and disrupted rest
- Acid reflux disease
Smoking and excessive alcohol and caffeine consumption increase the likelihood that a person will grind his teeth habitually. Young women seem particularly prone to bruxism, and it is fairly common among children. However, dentists say that most pediatric teeth clenching resolves by adolescence.
Besides the noisy grinding and clenching, individuals with bruxism:
- Have sore facial muscles
- Ear pain
- Facial pain
- Sore neck and back muscles
- Morning headaches
- Chipped, worn and mobile teeth
- TMJ (temporomandibular joint dysfunction)
- Tooth sensitivity
- Damage to the sides of the tongue and the inside of the cheeks
- Tendencies toward mental health issues such as depression
Treatment of Bruxism
Not to be neglected, the destructive effects of bruxism can be treated. Some patients benefit from:
- Stress and anger management classes
- Relaxation techniques and disciplines, such as yoga
- Ice and/or heat applied to the sides of the face
- Anti-inflammatory medications and muscle relaxants
- Facial stretching exercises
Dr. William Eick of Rocky River Dentistry evaluates his patients who complain of or show evidence of teeth clenching. His treatment strategies can include orthodontics to correct bite problems and replacement or correction of worn restorations such as dental crowns or fillings.
Additionally, Dr. Eick provides custom-made mouthguards which cushion the top and bottom teeth, lessening the intense physical forces associated with bruxism. Comfortable, biocompatible and individually fabricated from acrylic, mouthguards are worn at night and prove to be one of the least invasive and effective methods of controlling teeth clenching.
Dr. Eick has taken many hours of continuing education classes which give him insight into how facial muscles, bone structure, teeth and gums all interact and impact our oral and overall health. He has treated many patients with bruxism using these individualized guards, or splints, and has achieved excellent results.