Bruxism, or the grinding and clenching of teeth, is a common dental problem in both children and adults. While it can occur during the day, it is much more likely to occur at night while you sleep. Dr. Richard Healy provides treatments to alleviate the effects of bruxism and help you enjoy better oral health. Please call 805-928-3928 today to make your appointment with our dentist and learn more about bruxism in Santa Maria, California.

Bruxism may be caused by several different factors. Most often, it is a result of malocclusion, or a bad bite. It can also occur as a response to stress, developmental disorders, traumatic brain injury, or as a side effect of specific medications. In children, bruxism usually ceases by the age of 13.

Symptoms of bruxism include:

  • Frequent headaches, ranging from mild to severe in intensity
  • Ear pain
  • Injured teeth and gums
  • Excessively worn teeth
  • Loud grinding or clicking sounds
  • Rhythmic tightening or clenching of the jaw muscles
  • Aching or sore jaw muscles, especially in the morning
  • Unusual sensitivity to hot and cold foods

Bruxism can cause many dental problems. Some of these problems include:

  • Gum recession and tooth loss – Bruxism leads to loose teeth and deep pockets where bacteria can colonize, causing infection and inflammation that destroy the supporting bone. It is one of the leading causes of gum recession and tooth loss.
  • Occlusal trauma – The abnormal wear patterns on the chewing surfaces of your teeth caused by bruxism can lead to fractures in the teeth, and may require restorative treatment.
  • Arthritis – In more severe cases, bruxism can lead to arthritis in your temporomandibular, or TMJ joints (the joints that connect your upper and lower jaws).
  • Myofascial pain – Bruxism can eventually shorten and blunt your teeth, leading to muscle pain and debilitating headaches.

There is no single cure for bruxism. Our dentist offers a variety of helpful devices and tools to manage bruxism and alleviate the symptoms. Common treatments include:

  • Mouth guards – mouth guards, also known as night guards, may be provided using impressions of your teeth to minimize the abrasive action of tooth surfaces while you sleep.
  • NTI-tss device – this device covers your front teeth, and is used to prevent the grinding of your rear molars by limiting the contraction of facial muscles.
  • Botox® – our dentist can inject Botox® into your facial muscles to relax and weaken them. Botox is an excellent treatment for bruxism because it weakens the muscles enough to prevent grinding, but not enough to interfere with everyday functions, such as chewing and speaking.

Our dentist may also recommend relaxation exercises, stress management techniques, and biofeedback mechanisms to treat bruxism. Once your bruxism is under control, cosmetic and restorative treatments can be used to restore the appearance of your smile.

Please contact us today for more information on bruxism and to make your appointment at our office.