Many people grind their teeth whether it’s done subconsciously in their sleep or as a way to relieve stress. While this may not be problematic for most, grinding your teeth on a regular basis can be damaging to your teeth.
Why Do People Grind their Teeth?
There are several reasons people grind their teeth. Often times this correlates to stress and anxiety, but it is also seen in people who have under/over bites, missing and/or crooked teeth, misaligned teeth, or sleeping disorders. Certain medications as well as smoking can also be to blame.
Effects of Teeth Grinding
While occasionally grinding your teeth will not lead to severe damage, it is believed that up to 15 percent of adults are moderate to severe teeth grinders. Over time, moderate to severe teeth grinding can become problematic. In severe cases, the gums can recede which may result in tooth loss which can cause you to need bridges, crowns, implants, or dentures. Teeth grinding can become so severe that the jaws are affected resulting in TMJ disorders which can change the look of your face.
Knowing the Signs
Teeth grinding can occur at various times of the day including when your asleep and since the causes vary, it makes it hard to detect. One suggestion is to ask a relative or friend if they notice any signs of you grinding your teeth throughout the night. Other signs to look for…
- Reoccurring headaches when you wake up, particularly around your temples.
- A sore jaw
- Damaged or chipped teeth
- Sensitive teeth
- If you have a sleep disorder, like sleep apnea or snoring, you are more prone to grinding your teeth.
If you believe you are grinding your teeth, there are multiple options available to help eliminate the pain and protect your smile.
- Ice your jaws.
- Do not eat hard foods or chew on things that are not meant to be chewed on— bottle caps, pens, etc.
- Reduce your consumption of caffeinated foods and beverages, as well as alcoholic beverages, as these can cause teeth grinding.
- Relax your face muscles daily.
- If you have crooked teeth, you may consult your dentist about getting braces.
- If stress and anxiety is the root of the problem, seek help to learn ways to cope and process any problems. Assess triggers and figure out ways to relax.
- Use a night guard. These can be purchased over the counter or your dentist can have a custom one made for you. While more expensive, they are of better quality and fit your teeth perfectly.
- Is you have sleep apnea, you may see about getting a sleep appliance as these help adjust your jaw and open your airway which will keep you from grinding your teeth.
If you believe you are grinding your teeth, schedule an appointment with your dentist. Your dentist can assess the damage and work with you to come up with the best solution.
About Torbeck Dental
Torbeck Dental treats every patient with dignity and excellent care. We are highly-trained dental professionals with exceptionally friendly and helpful service. We understand that for many, visiting a dentist can be a stressful experience so our comfortable surroundings and compassionate staff will ease any fears you may have. We are here to help you achieve your happiest and healthiest smile! Our dental team are a group experienced professionals using the latest treatments. Our team has the professional experience to realize that there is no such thing as one-size-fits-all treatment, so we never use a one-size-fits-all approach to your dental plan. We provide quality and personalized oral health care while keeping your individuality in mind. Our goal is to improve and maintain your oral health so you can smile with confidence!