Bruxism, or teeth grinding, can be caused by all sorts of issues, such as medications, illnesses, malocclusions, and even genetics. If you can figure out the root issue of your bruxism, treating the problem may reduce or eliminate your bruxism. If you don't treat your bruxism, you can actually wear down your enamel, making you more prone to gum recession, tooth decay, and tooth sensitivity. In worst-case scenarios, bruxism forces could damage restorations, like crowns or implants. Here are three ways to treat your bruxism.
Improve Vitamin Deficiencies
In order for the muscles in your jaw to relax, you need to be getting the recommended levels of calcium in your diet. If you have a hard time eating lots of nutrient-rich foods, ask your dentist about supplements that could improve your calcium intake. Keep in mind that calcium cannot be absorbed by the body without vitamin D, so you may need to get a supplement for that as well or get more time outside in the sunshine. Addressing vitamin deficiencies could be enough for some people to reduce their bruxism.
Get Fitted for an Occlusal Splint
Occlusal splints are similar to mouth-guards, but they have a customized fit and they are made of strong material to last a long time. Splints cover your teeth and prevent premature wear from teeth rubbing together. Some studies have shown that splints can also decrease grinding forces.
There are many types of occlusal splints, so you and your dentist may want to discuss which type would be best for you. For instance, if you suffer from sleep apnea, you could get a splint that slightly pulls your lower jaw forward to prevent airway collapse. These types of splints can protect your teeth from bruxism while improving your sleep health.
Visit Your Dentist for Botox Treatments
You may be surprised that some dentists offer Botox treatments, but studies have shown that Botox can relax the muscles in your face that are responsible for clenching. Your dentist can inject Botox just below your cheekbones and around your temples to improve bruxism. Not only will your teeth be protected from reduced bruxism, but Botox can improve bruxism-related TMJ and muscle spasms. Keep in mind that Botox can sometimes decrease bone density, so it is best used as a short-term treatment route until you can find the root cause of your bruxism or get fitted with a splint.
Reach out to a dentist for more information and treatment ideas.