Teeth Grinding Dangers
Don’t Grind Your Teeth
Habitually grinding your teeth is a condition called “bruxism.” It’s one of the most common sleep disorders. Stress is usually the cause, though tooth abnormalities can also play a role. You may grind your teeth during the day or while you sleep. Bruxism can lead to health problems, so it needs to be addressed.
Symptoms of Bruxism
It’s possible to grind your teeth without realizing you’re doing it. Eventually the repeated action will lead to other symptoms though. You may notice the following if you grind your teeth:
- A tired, painful, or tight jaw
- Chronic facial pain
- Increased tooth sensitivity
- Worn down tooth enamel
- Chipped or fractured teeth
- A grinding sound (others may notice this even if you don’t)
Effects of Bruxism
In addition to causing the symptoms above, grinding your teeth leads to serious wear and tear on your teeth. Repetitive grinding can wear away the enamel that protects your teeth, leading to tooth sensitivity and decay. It can damage expensive dental work as well. Grinding also affects the muscles and joints in your jaw. Untreated bruxism can eventually lead to osteoarthritis and bone loss.
Treatments for Bruxism
The best way to start treating bruxism is to talk to your dentist. A professional knows what to look for and can help you determine whether grinding is the cause of your symptoms. If your bruxism is mild, you may not require medical treatment at all. If it is more severe, your dentist may give you a splint or dental night guard to wear.
If stress is the cause of your grinding, it’s important to take steps to reduce that stress. Professional counseling, meditation, and exercise are all options. Techniques like progressive relaxation or guided imagery may work for you as well. What matters is that the approach you choose helps lower your stress level.
There are a few things you can do on your own to reduce the frequency with which you grind. If you grind your teeth during the day, try to become aware of when you’re doing it. Remind yourself to relax your mouth. Practice bringing your lips together but keeping your teeth slightly apart and your jaw relaxed.
It’s also possible to relieve some of the pain caused by bruxism. Try to avoid foods that require a lot of chewing. Massage your jaw gently to relax it. You can also apply gentle, moist heat by soaking a washcloth in hot water, squeezing it out, and then holding it along your jaw.
Do you think you might be grinding your teeth? Talk to your dentist to find out what treatment options might be best for you.
Contact Lakeside Dental today at 704-987-9087!