At My Family Dentistry, we see lots of people who have tooth damage and discomfort as a result of teeth grinding.
If you’re among the millions with chronic headaches and aching jaws or worse, read on for a quick overview of the causes, symptoms, and methods of prevention and treatment!
Also known as bruxism, grinding your teeth can cause serious damage, not to mention chronic discomfort and pain. Bruxism may have a hereditary element, and women are three times as likely as men to grind their teeth, as are those between the ages of 20 and 40.
The primary cause of bruxism is stress and anxiety. Abnormal bite pattern, missing or crooked teeth, and certain sleep patterns can also contribute.
- Chronic dull headache
- Sore or tender jaw, problems with the jaw joint
- Sensitivity and tooth decay due to loss of enamel
- Fracturing, loosening, and wearing down of teeth
- Damage to dental work
- Hearing loss
- Osteoarthritis of jaw, bone loss
Prevention and Treatment:
- Get a mouth guard – made of plastic or acrylic, these don’t stop grinding and clenching, but they redistribute force and protect the teeth
- Reduce or manage stress – counseling, exercise, stretching and massage
- Train yourself not to clench or grind your teeth during the day, and avoid chewing on pencils, fingernails, gum, or anything other than food
- Drink lots of water – dehydration may be linked to grinding
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol, especially before bed
- Before going to bed, take a warm bath or hold a warm washcloth on your jaw muscles to relax them
- In serious cases, muscle relaxants may be prescribed and bridges, crowns, root canals, and implants may be needed to repair damage.
Do you grind your teeth? Give us a call if you have any questions, or need to see a dentist because of damage from grinding (or any other reason!).
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