Although the term “Bruxism” may seem foreign, you are likely familiar with the behavior. Bruxism is the medical term that is used when someone grinds or clenches their teeth. Many people do this without even realizing it. In fact, it is very common for patients to grind their teeth in their sleep which can lead to painful symptoms.
Occasional teeth grinding is not detrimental to your mouth, however, consistent teeth grinding can be painful and can take a serious toll on your dental health. We outline the causes, symptoms, and remedies to help you find out if you have bruxism and what you can do to help.
What Causes Teeth Grinding?
Teeth grinding is most commonly caused by stress or anxiety. For many people, clenching of the jaw, grinding, or gritting of the teeth is a repetitive, nervous reaction to stressful situations or lifestyles. In fact, according to The Bruxism Association, 70% of bruxism occurs as a result of stress and anxiety.
It has also been found that teeth grinding is a result of psychoactive substances such as tobacco, alcohol, and caffeine. These substances can lead to problems falling asleep and staying asleep which can cause teeth grinding or clenching during the night.
Why Is Teeth Grinding Harmful?
The effects of teeth grinding can range with mild annoyances such as headaches to serious medical issues such as tooth fractures and even the loosening or loss of teeth.
Chronic teeth grinding can wear down your teeth significantly until there is not much more than a stump of tooth left. In this case, you may need dental implants, crowns, or bridges to repair the tooth and regain aesthetic function.
How To Tell If You Grind Your Teeth
Because teeth grinding often occurs at night, many people do not realize that they are doing so. Often times, family members or friends are the ones that bring this to someone’s attention as they can hear them at night.
There are many common symptoms to bruxism that may catch your attention and help you identify whether or not you grind your teeth at night. Symptoms include:
- Tooth Pain
- Jaw Pain
- Flat or Dull Teeth
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms and think that you might be grinding your teeth, contact Tower Dental Associates of Gainesville for a consultation and talk to our doctors about remedies such as a night guard.
How To Stop Grinding Your Teeth
There are a few things that you can do to prevent teeth grinding and the damage it has on your teeth. At Tower Dental Associates, we can sit down with you and evaluate the extent of your bruxism as well as fit you for a mouth guard that will help prevent teeth grinding at night.
Other preventative measures that you can take at home or throughout the day include:
- Limiting caffeine intake, which can make your jumpy or tense
- Avoiding gum or other chewy foods and candies
- Holding a warm cloth against your cheek at night to relax your jaw
- Reducing stress
- Consciously relaxing your jaw when you notice you are clenching throughout the day
There is no definite cure for bruxism but there are many ways that we can work with you to manage it and make sure that your smile stays as happy and healthy as possible. At Tower Dental Associates, we’re committed to making sure our patients feel comfortable and confident in and out of the office. Contact our dentist office in Gainesville, Fl for an appointment.