Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is a common habit that primarily occurs during sleep. If left untreated, it can lead to chronic pain and dental damage. In this article, we’ll explore the signs of teeth grinding, its long-term effects, and effective treatment options.
What does it mean if you grind your teeth?
During sleep, many individuals unconsciously grind, gnash, or clench their teeth, resulting in forceful contact that can cause significant damage. Although bruxism can occur during the day, it is most prevalent at night. Surprisingly, most people who grind their teeth are unaware of this habit until their partner informs them.
Signs that you may be grinding your teeth:
It’s important to be aware of potential symptoms since teeth grinding often goes unnoticed. Look out for the following signs:
- Sore and painful jaw
- Increased tooth sensitivity to hot or cold stimuli
- Facial pain
- Dental damage, such as flattened, chipped, or worn-down teeth
- Difficulty sleeping
- Stiff shoulders
Potential long-term damage caused by teeth grinding:
Untreated teeth grinding can result in the following long-term consequences:
- Temporomandibular (TMJ) disorder, which damages the joints in your jaw
- Tooth damage, including breakage or excessive wear that may necessitate root canals or replacement teeth
- Loose teeth
- Aggravation of existing gum inflammation
- Reduced jaw mobility
Managing and treating teeth grinding:
In some cases, making lifestyle changes can help reduce bruxism. Consider the following approaches:
- Seek stress relief through exercise, massage, yoga, or other relaxation techniques
- Avoid stimulants in the evenings, including caffeine, smoking, and excessive television
- Correct malocclusions (Braces or Invisalign)
- Replace missing teeth to stabilize your bite
- Correct defective dental restorations
If lifestyle modifications do not provide sufficient relief, additional remedies may be necessary.
Night guards are a commonly prescribed and highly effective treatment for clenching or grinding teeth. Your dentist can create a custom mouth guard typically made of hard acrylic by taking a mold or digital scan of your teeth and mouth. This guard is worn only at night, typically on the upper teeth.
Following treatment for teeth grinding any resulting long-term damage can be corrected using dental crowns or other appropriate methods.
If you experience one or more symptoms of teeth grinding, do not hesitate to contact Dental365. With multiple convenient locations, we offer extended business hours on weekdays, are open seven days a week, and provide emergency dental services.