Teeth Grinding

Nearly everyone will occasionally grind or clench their teeth. Sometimes, this is just a minor response to a stressful situation and requires no attention or intervention. Chronic teeth grinding, however, is a condition called bruxism, and can cause damage to the teeth and other health concerns.

Why People Grind Their Teeth

Teeth grinding is sometimes a response to stress and anxiety. For some people, however, the action occurs during sleep without any stress or other problems. In these cases, it is often due to an abnormal bite that causes the mouth to line up incorrectly. Sleep apnea and other sleep disorders can also cause teeth grinding.

Unfortunately, many people are unaware that they grind their teeth, because they do it in their sleep. The only symptom they may experience is a dull, constant headache or soreness in a jaw. Others may find out that they grind their teeth when someone who lives with them mentions hearing it. Excessive wear on the teeth noted at dental appointments can also be a sign that there is a problem.

Problems Connected to Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding, when it is a chronic problem, can cause fractures of the teeth or cause the teeth to wear down too far. Severe problems with teeth grinding can cause the teeth to loosen or fall out. Sometimes the action of grinding the teeth can damage or injure the jaws or cause problems with the TMJ. Some people, if the condition is not addressed, will notice a change to the appearance of their faces.

How to Stop Grinding Your Teeth

If you suspect that you are grinding your teeth, talk to your dentist. You may be able to use a mouth guard to stop the action and protect your teeth. Orthodontics may also be able to adjust your bite to limit the action.

For grinding that occurs due to stress, a dentist or doctor may be able to provide suggestions to reduce stress. For those who grind due to a sleep disorder, treating the disorder may be the answer. You can also help improve sleep and limit teeth grinding by avoiding caffeine, chocolate and alcohol consumption prior to sleep.

Teeth grinding, if left untreated, is more than just a minor annoyance. It can be a serious health risk. Talk to your Dr. James McCall if you suspect that you or someone you love is struggling with teeth grinding, so you can make the necessary changes to stop this potentially damaging behavior.

Comments are closed.