Bruxism or teeth grinding is an irritating condition that can affect you unconsciously while awake or asleep. Thus, when you wake up, you might experience various symptoms, including tight jaw muscles that might prevent your jaw from opening completely, tooth pain, dull headache, and earache.
Teeth grinding is a frequent problem affecting every third adult during the day and every tenth in their sleep.
While mild bruxism seldom requires treatment, in more severe cases, it can lead to frequent headaches and destructive consequences on the teeth, jaw, and temporomandibular joints (TMJs).
Keep reading to learn about how to stop grinding your teeth and the underlying causes and complications of the condition.
Why do people grind their teeth?
Teeth grinding most likely occurs due to a complex relationship between genetic, physical, psychological, and environmental factors. Experts are still unsure about the main culprit, but they concur on several risk factors and theories that may shed light on the condition soon.
Some suggest that bruxism during the daytime may be a coping mechanism for deep concentration, while sleep bruxism could be associated with arousal during sleep that causes chewing activity.
Unsurprisingly, teeth grinding can be a frequent consequence of chronic stress, anxiety disorders, anger, and frustration, especially during the day. Additionally, having other family members with bruxism increases the risk of adopting the poor habit.
Also, it turns out that teeth grinding is sometimes found in people with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorders, Parkinson’s, dementia, epilepsy, and sleep apnea, to name a few.
How can you treat teeth grinding?
If you suspect that you might have bruxism, start with a dentist appointment, where you can get an accurate diagnosis. The dentist will look for signs and changes in your teeth and jaw, including flattened, fractured or chipped teeth, worn enamel, and TMJ disorders.
If he or she confirms the diagnosis, you will then try to determine the underlying factors and causes, and look for the best approach in your case. Usually, treatment is not necessary for teeth grinding, especially in children who often outgrow it.
However, if the condition persists in damaging your teeth, jaws, and TMJs, then your dentist can suggest numerous methods to either prevent the damage from bruxism or cure it altogether.
You could try mouthguards to keep teeth separated, muscle relaxants, and Botox injections for severe cases. Most importantly, try to manage stress and anxiety with meditation, massage therapy, sports, or whatever works for you.
What are the consequences if left untreated?
If left untreated, severe bruxism can lead to disastrous effects on your teeth, jaws, and TMJs. It can flatten out the teeth or lead them to become fractured, chipped, or loose.
Prolonged bruxism may wear out the tooth enamel to expose the deeper layers of the teeth. The result is debilitating tooth pain and increased sensitivity to hot and cold. As well, tightened and fatigued masseter and temporal muscles may keep your jaw from opening or closing fully.
Many individuals with teeth grinding experience dull headaches originating from the temples due to the constricted temporal muscles. Chewing activity during the night can also lead to damage and sores on the inner cheeks.
Last but not least, sleep bruxism may disrupt your sleeping patterns and lead to constant fatigue and drowsiness during the day.
Book Your Next Appointment With Us Today!
Teeth grinding is a bothersome condition that can have destructive effects on your teeth. Therefore, it is crucial to take the necessary steps before there is irreversible damage.
Dentistry at Consilium in Scarborough has a team of highly skilled professionals who can take care of your bruxism and create your dream smile. Schedule your next dentist appointment by calling us at (416) 296-1080 or book an appointment online.