Bruxism is a condition that is brought about by the constant motions of grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw. These habits can be an unconscious way of dealing with stress or the agitation can occur while you are asleep. Bruxism may also be the result of taking an antidepressant or having undergone a neurological event. If left untreated bruxism can lead to a number of dental problems.
If you grind your teeth at night you may experience a tightness in your jaw muscles as a result. You may also get headaches. Teeth and fillings may become loose from all the wear and tear. If the grinding continues for a long period of time the surface of your teeth and the pattern of your bite will be affected.
Your dentist will examine your teeth for signs of bruxism and use a special dye to find any cracks that may not be picked up by the xrays. He may fit you with a nightguard to prevent the night grinding.
If stress is suspected as the underlying cause of your bruxism, your dentist can refer you to a counselor or suggest relaxation techniques.
The prescription medicines that you are taking may be changed or new ones ordered.