Teeth grinding that occurs on an occasional basis typically isn’t harmful. Many people grind their teeth infrequently, especially when they have an overabundance of stress in their lives. However, teeth grinding on a regular or even semi-regular basis can cause oral health problems. Millions of people throughout the United States suffer from a condition known as bruxism, which is the medical term for teeth grinding. If you’re someone who suffers from teeth grinding, it’s time to talk to your family dentist about it, if you haven’t already. Following are tips and information regarding bruxism from top dentists that will help clear up some of the questions you may have about your teeth grinding.
Causes of bruxism
Bruxism often is caused by something more serious than anxiety or stress, especially if it occurs regularly. Many people who grind their teeth experience it at night, while they’re sleeping. This is because bruxism often is caused by an abnormal or misaligned bite, crooked teeth, or missing teeth. Bruxism can even be caused by a medical condition known as sleep apnea, a sleep disorder that can cause breathing cessation while sleeping. Sleep apnea is a major cause of bruxism, and because it can be dangerous, it is vital that those who suffer from teeth grinding during sleep see a healthcare professional as soon as possible.
Symptoms of bruxism
One piece of good news about bruxism is that there are warning signs that will help you to determine if you’re a sufferer. People who suffer from teeth grinding while they sleep may have morning headaches that are dull, with the pain sometimes lasting all day. Additionally, they may experience a sore jaw, as this is a telltale sign of bruxism. Of course, many people who suffer from bruxism sleep with a partner who informs them of the night teeth grinding, often because it can become loud and interfere with a loved one’s restful night’s sleep.
Effects of bruxism
For some patients who suffer from bruxism, results can be serious. Nightly teeth grinding can lead to loose teeth, fractured teeth, and even loss of teeth. Continuous or constant grinding of teeth can wear them down. For many sufferers, this situation often results in their need for dental crowns, bridges, implants, root canals, or even dentures. Sometimes teeth grinding can even lead to more serious medical conditions such as TMD, temporomandibular joint disorders (often wrongly referred to as ‘TMJ’, named for the temporomandibular joint). TMD can lead to serious complications such as severe pain and even jaw sticking, which makes it extremely difficult to open the mouth.
What you can do about bruxism
If you suspect you may be suffering from teeth grinding, it’s vital that you see your family dentist as soon as possible for examination. There are some steps you can take to help quiet your bruxism. These include utilizing stress relief products before bedtime, such as relaxation videos or any type of music that relaxes you. You can also try holding a warm damp cloth next to your face for about 10 minutes before you go to bed in order to ease the muscles of your jaw. A hot bath or stretching before bedtime can also help to relieve muscles. Some people even find comfort in meditation before bed. Additionally, it’s important to reduce the consumption of caffeine before bedtime. However, the most important thing you can do if you’re suffering from any of the warning signs of bruxism is to be evaluated by your family dentist or a cosmetic dentist in your area. The best news about teeth grinding is that healthcare professionals such as cosmetic dentists can treat it.
There are many reasons why people might grind their teeth every now and then, including anger, stress, and frustration. It’s when teeth grinding happens on more than an occasional basis that it becomes a problem. In fact, if you’re someone who suffers from bruxism, you likely already have a problem, and that’s what’s causing the teeth grinding in the first place. You need to let your family dentist know immediately about the issues you’re having with teeth grinding. Not only is teeth grinding that happens regularly or even semi-regularly occurring because a problem already exists; it can lead to more serious oral health problems, and the causes of your bruxism need to be addressed. Contact a top dentist in order to determine the cause of your teeth grinding, and to begin any necessary treatment.