It's normal for someone to clench their jaw tightly once in a while when they are angry or stressed and it's also normal for someone to occasionally grind their teeth. Doing these things on occasion won't lead to long term problems. However, if you are grinding your teeth regularly, a condition referred to as bruxism, then you can develop problems ranging from damaged teeth to headaches and other aches and pains. The information below will explain bruxism and help you recognize the signs and educate you on the treatment.
How do you know if you suffer from bruxism?
Since most people grind their teeth while they are sleeping they can go for a long time without knowing they have a problem until someone else notices it and tells them they are grinding their teeth while they sleep. This is why it's a good idea to know the other signs of teeth grinding. These signs include:
- Pains in the muscles of your face
- Headaches upon waking
- Stiff shoulders and neck muscles
- Tension pains in the jaw
- Tender gums
- Sensitive teeth
- Chipped or worn teeth
What causes people to grind their teeth?
There are many possible causes of bruxism. Sometimes a person may grind their teeth for a short period of time depending on the cause and other times it can be something they do for a long period of time. Stress and anxiety can lead to teeth grinding. Someone who suffers from sleep apnea is also at an increased risk for teeth grinding. Consuming large amounts of caffeine can also lead a person to grind their teeth in their sleep. Also, sometimes the exact cause can't be pinpointed in some individuals.
What problems can teeth grinding lead to if left untreated?
If you continue to grind your teeth and you don't seek treatment then you can end up really damaging your teeth. You will be putting a lot of pressure on them and gnawing on them which can wear down the enamel, leaving you at a greater risk for developing cavities. Grinding on them can also cause them to chip, break or become fractured. It can even cause your teeth to become loose and it may even lead to tooth loss. It can even affect your jaw and lead to the development of TMJ.
What can be done for teeth grinding?
The best way to treat bruxism is to treat the underlying issue, whether that means cutting back on caffeine or cutting out as much stress as you can in your life. You want to go to the dentist and be fitted for a night guard or to see if you need braces for adults. Wearing the night guard when you sleep will prevent you from being able to grind your teeth.