It is quite common for people to grind and clench their teeth from time to time. A lot of people notice they are doing it when they are stressed. Bruxism is the medical term for teeth grinding. If you occasionally grind your teeth, it is not harmful and does not cause permanent damage. However, regular teeth grinding can cause all sorts of oral health problems and complications. Eventually, tiny cracks appear in your enamel which causes it to wear away. This can make your teeth very sensitive to a variety of foods and drinks and temperatures.
Why can Teeth Grinding Occur?
Teeth grinding that appears randomly can certainly be caused by stress or anxiety. What a lot of people may not realize is teeth grinding often occurs during sleep and is more likely caused by an abnormal bite, missing teeth or even crooked teeth. Certain sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, can also cause teeth grinding.
How do I Know if I’m Grinding my Teeth?
Because it is most commonly happening when you are asleep, you may not know to notify your dentist that are grinding your teeth. However, if you experience headaches more regularly or suffer from a sore jaw when you wake up, you are most likely grinding your teeth in your sleep. If this is occurring, you should book an appointment l so your dentist can fully examine your mouth and look for jaw tenderness and excessive wear on your teeth.
How Harmful is Teeth Grinding?
In more severe cases, chronic teeth grinding can result in fracturing, loosening, or even loss of teeth. The chronic grinding can actually wear teeth down completely. This could also mean bridges, crowns, root canals, implants, partial dentures and full dentures may be needed. It can also affect your jaw and cause TMD (temporomandibular joint dysfunction). This is the joint that is located at the base of the skull in front of the ear structure that connects the lower jaw and upper jaw.
How do I Stop Grinding my Teeth?
In severe cases, your dentist will fit you for a mouthguard. You will need to wear this guard while you are sleeping to protect your teeth. If you think your teeth grinding may be triggered by stress, talk to your dentist and see if there are other options you can take.
Other tips that may help you stop teeth grinding are;
- Avoid food and drinks with an excessive amount of caffeine, especially close to bedtime such as coffee, colas, chocolate, etc.
- Avoid alcohol.
- Do not chew on pencils or pens and avoid chewing gum. The repetitive motion can cause stress on the jaw and therefore can cause teeth grinding automatically.
- If you catch yourself clenching or grinding your teeth during the day, be sure to stop yourself. You can try positioning the tip of your tongue between your teeth to relax your jaw muscles.
- Before bed, try relaxing your jaw muscles by setting a warm washcloth on your cheek in front of your earlobe.
- Try massaging your face too when you’ve noticed your jaw is more sore.
- You can also try seeing a Physiotherapist or an Athletic Therapist to loosen up TMD joint if you’ve noticed it’s very sore and your jaw locks or clicks.
At Palladium Dental, we want you to experience the most comfortable, reliable and the best consistency in dentistry. Book an appointment or request a free consultation today and we would be happy to discuss the best options for you to manage your teeth grinding 613-591-0834. Feel your best and smile your best today!