Most people who grind their teeth are unaware of the fact, since it’s generally done while they are asleep. In some cases, teeth grinding doesn’t cause substantial harm to the teeth or jaws. But if it’s a persistent enough activity, your teeth could be harmed and other oral concerns could arise.
There are several reasons people grind their teeth, including anxiety and stress. But it can also occur due to existing dental health issues, such as missing teeth or an abnormal bite.
If you are unsure if you are grinding your teeth, look for some of the tell-tale signs. Maybe you have a sore jaw, sensitive teeth, or a persistent headache. If you think you may be grinding your teeth, make an appointment with us, and with a routine dental exam, we can look for evidence of grinding that may be a little more difficult for you to identify:
- Unusual tooth wear or fractures
- Loose teeth
- Compromised dental restoration, such as crowns or fillings
If left untreated, teeth grinding can lead to loosened, fractured, or lost teeth, if any of this hasn’t already occurred. If teeth grinding becomes a chronic problem, crowns, bridges or implants may be in order. There can be jaw problems and even hearing loss if the issue is not addressed.
So, how what are some of the ways to treat teeth grinding?
- If stress is the culprit, there many ways to counter it. If don’t already, start exercising, a known destressor.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
- Being fitted for a mouth guard can help prevent damage caused by teeth grinding.
- Avoid chewing gum, which can condition your jaw to remain clenched.
- Physical therapy can help restore balance to face muscles and joints.
Teeth grinding is often a hidden issue, unless you have a spouse who has witnessed it firsthand before they fall asleep. If you suspect you are doing it, make an appointment and we can help find the best solution for you.