Bruxism is a condition characteristic of routine gnashing, grinding, or clenching of the teeth oftentimes related to temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMD. Over time, grinding and clenching can cause serious damage to the teeth, change how the teeth fit together, and can initiate or aggravate problems with the jaw joints and muscles. Grinding and clenching in Lafayette, IN, can be the result of physical, psychological, and/or genetic factors, though exact causes have been debated for many years. The risk for grinding and clenching is increased for some people, including those with high stress or anxiety, a family history of bruxism, with certain medical or mental disorders, and those taking medications or other substances. In some cases, grinding and clenching is temporary and not cause for concern, but for many people, it can be chronic and disastrous to their everyday life, especially in regards to occlusion, oral function, and the smile’s aesthetics.
Dentists take different approaches to treating grinding and clenching and many treatment options exist that do not require invasive surgery. Bite guards, occlusal adjustments, Invisalign®, behavioral therapy, or a mix of the four, have proven to be effective in most cases. Treatment is unique to each person, but with the proper customized care, grinding and clenching can be effectively managed or resolved.
Both bite guards and occlusal adjustments provide effective treatment for grinding and clenching. Bite guards help protect teeth, especially at night, while an occlusal adjustment can reshape the surface of teeth so that they align comfortably and correctly. For many patients, neuromuscular Invisalign® treatment is the most effective treatment option for chronic grinding and clenching if it is directly related to TMD or if bruxism has moved teeth far enough out of their proper alignment to affect the jaw joints. By straightening the teeth back into proper occlusion, symptoms of TMD like grinding and clenching are alleviated, oftentimes for good!