What is Tooth Grinding?
Do you constantly wake in the morning with jaw or neck pain? Do headaches take over your day before it even starts? This is often a sign that you grind your teeth. Tooth grinding, also referred to as bruxism, is the process of repeatedly clenching and rubbing the top and bottom teeth together. Often done without a person’s knowledge, bruxism is associated with stress and can occur while you are asleep. Because of the harm that is caused by bruxism, you must act as soon as you think this might be happening to you.
Symptoms of Grinding Your Teeth
Unless you sleep within an earshot of someone, you may otherwise never know that you are grinding your teeth. If you hear grinding noises while someone else sleeps, be sure to inform them so they can take steps to make it stop.
Regular signs of grinding your teeth include:
• Constant Headaches
• Jaw, muscle, head, neck pain
• Painful, loose or fractured teeth
Each of these signs is often confused for different causes, but when two or more persist, contact your local dentist office to rule out the condition.
Children can also be “grinders”. Listen for the telltale grinding sound and for any of the reported symptoms above to get a jump on the treatment for bruxism. Children often grind their teeth in response to earaches and teething. While children can grow out of grinding, it is important to talk with your dentist about any signs or symptoms you have noticed to identify potential causes and solutions when necessary.
Dangers of Tooth Grinding
Wearing down your teeth is the primary danger of grinding. Severe cases can even cause significant pain, prevent easy chewing and result in cracked or broken teeth. If not treated, your face can suffer misalignment.
By continuously rubbing your teeth together, you are also rubbing away enamel, which can potentially result in a cracked tooth. If you crack a tooth, not only do you have to suffer pain but you will also have to pay to get it removed and replaced.
Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (TMJ) may also develop as a result of tooth grinding. Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD) affects your jaw, causing you to experience clicking or popping sounds when you open or close your mouth. TMD can also inhibit your ability to chew, and in some cases, could cause your mouth to be stuck in an open or closed position.
While asking professionals is always best, there are some things you can try at home to prevent bruxism. These treatments do not replace professional treatment, they can still help you with your problem:
• Avoid caffeine
• Refrain from drinking alcohol
• Do not chew on non-food items
• Stop chewing gum
• Techniques (exercise, meditation, prayers, counseling, etc.) to reduce stress
Each of these techniques helps to relieve some of the stress caused by bruxism. While not always completely effective, it is worth giving these ideas a try. If grinding persists, seek professional help as soon as possible.
Order a Custom Dental Mouthguard
If at-home methods fail, prevent the dangers of tooth grinding by asking your dentist for a custom mouth guard. Dentists make a guard based on the shape and size of your mouth to allow your jaw to comfortably assume a resting position while sleeping while meeting your unique needs. This prevents your teeth from clenching and moving against each other, and it protects your jaw muscles from strain as well.
The whole process of ordering a custom mouth guard is generally completed less than two weeks. Within no time, you will feel better and happier due to the relief of tension and pain caused by grinding. Give us a call at Sulens Dental Studio if you or your loved ones need help with their dental future.