Teeth grinding is a medical condition where someone excessively grinds or clenches his or her teeth or jaw. In most cases, this happens while the person is asleep. In fact, he or she may not even be aware that it is happening! However, in some cases, individuals may grind their teeth during the day. Teeth grinding is also called bruxism. This article touches on the negative effects of bruxism, or teeth grinding, and what you can do if you suspect you might be grinding yours.
What causes teeth grinding or bruxism?
Unfortunately, there is not one specific cause that leads to teeth grinding. There are several theories about why it happens, and it may vary from individual to individual. Some suspect teeth grinding is part of breathing airway issues such as sleep apnea. Others believe it has more to do with jaw posture positions, tooth position, or an abnormal bite. There could also be emotional or developmental issues – i.e. some attribute teeth grinding to stress.
What are the effects of teeth grinding?
If you regularly grind your teeth, it can cause many problems. Some of the problems include muscular pain in the jaw or face, headaches, damage to the tooth structure, damage to the gums, tooth sensitivity, damage to the jaw bone, and even changes to the face.
Signs that you might be grinding your teeth include headaches, muscle pain, jaw tenderness, shortened teeth, recession of the gums, tooth sensitivity, or cracked or broken teeth.
What is the treatment for teeth grinding?
Every teeth grinding situation is handled uniquely, and it is important to seek the advice of a medical professional in order to have the situation solved in the best way possible. Typically, the first step will be a sleep study to rule out any airway issues. If an airway issue is discovered, then treatment for the airway issue is typically taken care of first, and sometimes the teeth grinding will go away by itself.
Additionally, we can prescribe a mouthguard. The mouth guard is worn when sleeping to protect the teeth from grinding. Other treatments include dietary changes, postural modifications, medications, tooth adjustments, dental work, or surgery.
Dr. Emma Wu & Associates: Cosmetic Dentistry at its Finest.
If you think that you might be grinding your teeth regularly, and suspect you need treatment, contact Dr. Emma Wu & Associates today. We can help assess whether you are grinding your teeth and help pinpoint the cause. Once the cause is uncovered, then the appropriate treatment can begin.