Teeth grinding and clenching are common. Occasional teeth grinding—also known as bruxism—isn’t very harmful. However, if teeth grinding becomes a regular habit, it can cause damage to your teeth and inflict other oral complications.
Teeth grinding can often occur due to stress or anxiety, but it usually happens during sleep. It’s most commonly caused by crooked or missing teeth, an abnormal bite, or sleep disorders like sleep apnea.
People are often unaware of their teeth grinding habit since it occurs during their sleep. However, if you notice a constant, dull headache or a sore jaw after waking up, you might suffer from bruxism. People often learn about their teeth grinding through their loved ones, who can hear the grinding while they sleep.
Talk to our dentists if you suspect that you’re grinding your teeth to get your jaw and mouth checked for signs of bruxism. Common symptoms include excessive wear on the teeth and jaw tenderness.
Chronic teeth grinding can sometimes cause loosening, fracturing, or loss of multiple teeth. It can even wear your teeth down to small stumps, resulting in requiring bridges, root canals, crowns, dentures, or implants to maintain optimal function.
Apart from tooth damage and loss, teeth grinding also affects your jaw and can cause TMD/TMJ or worsen it. There is also the possibility of the grinding changing the appearance of your face.
Mouthguards are great for providing sufficient protection to your teeth as you sleep. You can also ask your dentist or doctor for options to reduce your stress if that’s what’s causing you to grind your teeth. You can start an exercise program, attend stress counseling, talk to a physical therapist, or get muscle relaxants.
If the cause of your bruxism is a sleeping disorder, you can eliminate your teeth grinding by getting it treated. It can also help to:
- Avoid caffeine in food and drinks such as colas, coffee, and chocolate.
- Avoid alcohol since it tends to intensify teeth grinding.
- Avoid chewing on pens or pencils, or even chewing gum, to avoid getting your jaw muscles used to being clenched.
Get in touch with professional dentists at Rapha Dental LLC if you grind your teeth to plan ways to decrease the habit’s frequency and its negative effects. Our dentists can get you fitted with a mouth guard to help protect your teeth as you sleep.