Teeth grinding, or bruxism, is a dental issue that can have a variety of causes. It usually occurs at night and can be caused by stress, anxiety or just an uneven bite. While you may not notice if you grind your teeth unless you have jaw pain or aches when you wake up, anyone sleeping in the same room as you will hear it. If you aren’t sure if you grind your teeth at night, we may be able to identify some signs of wear on your teeth that are the result of bruxism. Teeth grinding can have some adverse effects in the long run so it’s best to get it taken care of as soon as possible rather than waiting.
As mentioned above, bruxism comes with headaches and jaw pain. But those aren’t the only issues you can experience. Chronic teeth grinding can actually loosen or break teeth or quite literally “grind” them down. If the damage becomes too severe, you may need crowns or partial dentures. Eventually, full dentures may be needed.
If you suffer from bruxism, Dr. Roberts can have you fitted with a custom mouth guard to wear at night. This will protect your teeth from extensive damage as you sleep. If stress is causing your bruxism, treating its root cause may help to alleviate your anxiety so that the grinding doesn’t occur as often. Also, try to avoid caffeine and alcohol as these are stimulants and likely make grinding worse.
If you chew on pens, gum, or other items as a nervous habit throughout the day, it may be helpful to eliminate these habits. Biting on non-food items means your jaw stays clenched for much longer than it should, making it a natural state. Work on relaxing your jaw muscles just before bedtime and you could see a decrease in teeth grinding.
Finding out why you grind your teeth – whether it’s stress, misaligned teeth, or something else – will play a large part in determining the best course of action. Get in touch with our office if you have any questions about bruxism and how to best treat it.