Teeth grinding (bruxism) can cause a host of problems
Grinding your teeth (also called “bruxism”) is when you tightly clench your teeth together during the day, or at night while sleeping. Stress, anger, eating disorders, a malformed bite or crooked teeth are usually behind bruxism.
The TRICARE Dental Program (TDP) has a bruxism benefit as long as the member’s diagnosed symptom is not related to a temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), which is considered a medical condition. The TDP covers an occlusal guard, one per consecutive 12-month period per enrollee age 13 or older who is experiencing bruxism.
Many cases of teeth-grinding do not need treatment. But if you’re experiencing jaw pain, headaches, damaged crowns or tooth loss, it might be time to see your dentist. Sometimes, you may not even know you have bruxism until a problem occurs.
Common symptoms of bruxism are:
- Headaches when you wake up
- Loose teeth
- Gum recession
- Neck pain
- Sore jaw
What can happen if I am not treated?
If your teeth grind together frequently and on a continual basis, you could wear down your teeth or have fractures in your teeth. These can cause you to need complex dental treatment and may results in tooth loss. So if you wake up with headaches, be sure to mention it to your dentist!
How is bruxism treated?
Your dentist may fit you with a custom mouth guard to help protect your teeth while you sleep. He or she also may encourage you to seek a support group or counseling to deal with stress.
The important thing to remember is that you shouldn’t be ashamed. Forty-five million Americans grind their teeth just like you. And they’re finding ways to keep on smiling.