Do you routinely wake up with a sore jaw or a headache? Then you may be grinding your teeth in your sleep.
Teeth grinding (known as bruxism) is a rather common condition that affects many adults in the US. Unfortunately, apart from the immediate discomfort you feel because of it, teeth grinding can also lead to some unpleasant dental issues.
What Causes Bruxism?
Teeth grinding or jaw clenching can be caused by a lot of different things. For instance, patients who clench their teeth during the day usually do it as a response to high levels of stress or anxiety. Grinding the teeth during the night could be a symptom of sleep apnea or even acid reflux.
Moreover, people who drink alcohol, smoke, or take drugs also have a higher risk of grinding their teeth.
Regardless of why teeth grinding is happening, it’s very important to get this behavior managed as soon as possible.
The Dental Effects of Bruxism
One of the most common dental issues caused by teeth-grinding is tooth fracture. Essentially, as you continue to grind your teeth while sleeping or even during the day, you are slowly wearing them down. This increases the chances of your teeth chipping, cracking, or even breaking entirely. This damage can happen to natural teeth, but also dental prosthetics like dental crowns
Other dental effects of bruxism can include:
- Heightened tooth sensitivity
- Flattened teeth
- Increase tooth pain, especially right after you wake up
- TMJ and locked jaw, etc.
How Is Bruxism Treated
If you are dealing with teeth-grinding, it’s very important to provide your teeth with an extra layer of protection while you address your condition. A dentist can fit you for a custom mouthguard you can wear during the night, which will help reduce the discomfort of grinding and lower the risk for dental issues.
However, it’s worth noting that a nightguard is a way to manage your condition, not cure it. Since bruxism can have many causes, it’s essential to identify the underlying condition causing the tooth grinding and then establish an appropriate treatment.
For instance, if your bruxism is a result of anxiety, then you may require a combination of therapy and medication that can help improve your mental health, effectively reducing tooth-grinding.
Other potential methods to treat bruxism can include:
- Orthodontics, if bruxism is caused by jaw alignment issues
- Jaw surgery
- Muscle relaxants taken before bed, etc.
Are You Grinding Your Teeth? Dodds Dental Is Here to Help in Long Beach
No matter why you are grinding your teeth, Dr. Emily Dodds and Dr. Dustin Dodds can help reduce your discomfort by fitting you with a customized mouth guard that can protect your teeth.
To get started, book a consultation at Dodds Dental online and stop by our practice
Want to learn more about our services? Then feel free to call us at (562) 439-0754 for a short chat.