Teeth Grinding Can Ruin Your Smile
Teeth grinding or jaw clenching are also known as bruxism. One of the most common reasons patients come in for a visit, this condition can lead to a wide variety of oral problems that are painful and require extensive treatment.
Bruxism can occur during the day or at night. During sleep bruxism a person grinds their teeth or clenches their jaw while they sleep, whereas in a daytime bruxism a person does it while they’re awake without even realizing it.
What is jaw clenching?
Many people clench their jaw and don’t realize they’re doing it. When a person clenches their jaw, often in response to stress, they will clamp it tightly shut. This ultimately leads to muscle pain and cracked teeth.
Muscle pain will be most obvious when a person is eating. You might even notice your mouth tires out more easily while chewing. Jaw clenching can also lead to an increase in headaches around the temple.
People who clench their jaw for many years often experience an overgrowth of their jaw muscles. This can lead to the jaw appearing more square and misaligned with the rest of the face.
What is teeth grinding?
Teeth grinding is when a person moves their jaw horizontally so that the bottom and top teeth grind against each other. This leads to cracks and chips in teeth, wears teeth down, and can eventually lead to the need for a whole lot of dental work.
Grinding your teeth makes them more prone to decay and have an increase in sensitivity.
How do I stop grinding or clenching my teeth?
Stopping this habit is difficult, mostly because it’s something that happens while you sleep. Sometimes you need to ask your partner to wake you if they hear you grinding your teeth. A mouth guard is an oral device that can be custom made to fit your mouth.
It helps keep you from grinding and can also stop clenching because it creates a barrier in your mouth. For many patients meditation or prayer can help to reduce the stress that is causing them to grind or clench their teeth.
If you find yourself clenching or grinding your teeth we recommend you come in for a visit. We can take a look at your teeth and determine if any damage has been done and create a treatment plan to fix it.
Additionally, we can start the process of getting a mouthguard custom made for you, so that you don’t cause further damage to your teeth.