Bruxism is the clinical term for teeth grinding. Bruxism can cause abnormal wear and sensitivity of the teeth, pain in in the face, and in the jaw joint known as the TMJ. In teenagers, bruxism is fairly common, and is usually brought on by stress. School exams or emotionally upsetting situation such as breaking up with with a friend are common triggers for bruxism which often occurs in the night when you are sleeping.
Bruxism can be relieved by general stress reducing techniques such as exercise and mindful breathing. Some people find over-the-counter pain relievers helpful. You can also try alternating a warm and cold wash cloth over the tender joint, 10 minutes for each temperature. Changing your diet to softer and less chewy foods for a few days can help, and if you are chewing gum you should stop immediately because the high pressures generated from the chewing aggravate pain in the TMJ.
At Small To Tall Dentistry our doctors are trained to recognize problems associated with bruxism. Occasionally it is necessary to provide your teenager with a device called a night guard to prevent the grinding or to provide relief for the jaw pain.
If would like some more information about bruxism, TMJ pain or nightguards, give our office a call and make an appointment for an evaluation.