Teeth grinding can appear seemingly out of nowhere. Unfortunately, this ordinary habit can have extraordinary consequences including major dental issues.
Common Causes for Teeth Grinding
Teeth grinding can be caused by multiple different factors. Individuals only need to experience one, of these factors to be affected by teeth grinding, but it is not uncommon to experience multiple. Below are common causes for teeth grinding:
When people are under pressure, they may unknowingly tighten their jaws, putting the upper and lower teeth into aggressive contact. Occasional anxiety may not result in harm, but repeated and frequent periods of stress can lead to damage to the teeth and jaw.
Misaligned teeth in this instance refers to the upper and lower teeth not being in their correct positions when the jaw closes. Normally, the teeth would not pose a threat to each other. But when the teeth are not in their proper positions, they can make unwanted contact.
Sleep apnea is a condition where a person momentarily stops breathing during sleep. As the person struggles for the next breath, the exertion can result in the teeth grinding each other.
Effects of Teeth Grinding
The effects of teeth grinding can vary from minor to severe. The primary effect is seen in the teeth and the jaw.
Continued teeth grinding can reduce a once-healthy tooth into a stump. Grinding can also loosen teeth and cause them to fall out.
Grinding can even produce enough pressure to fracture strong teeth. The damage can make it necessary to replace teeth with implants or dentures.
Teeth grinding is often the cause of common jaw complaints. Some people are in tremendous jaw pain when the lower jaw bone pops out of its socket.
This is called temporomandibular joint disorder or TMD. Some people also refer to it as TMJ.
The pain can be so severe that it keeps people from being able to continue their normal daily activities. Eating and speaking can become particularly difficult.
Treatment Options for Teeth Grinding
Your treatment for teeth grinding should be appropriate to the cause. Generally, treatments will target either emotional or physical trauma.
Medicine and Therapy
If you’re in a particularly stressful period of your life, you may need to seek medical help. There are prescription medicines to lower stress and anxiety.
There are also behavioral therapy techniques that can help you manage high-pressure moments.
Ordinary muscle relaxants can give relief. But one of the most effective methods for dealing with the physical aspect of teeth grinding is also one of the simplest. You can wear a mouth guard.
A mouth guard is a removable plastic protector that prevents your upper and lower teeth from making contact. It’s easy to wear at night and doesn’t interfere with your ability to sleep.
It’s similar to the mouthguards you’ve seen athletes in contact sports wear.
There are over-the-counter mouthguards available, but these are not your best option. They are generic in design and aren’t likely to fit your teeth well.
Instead, you want a custom-made mouth guard from your dentist for a comfortable experience.
Schedule a Consultation
Teeth grinding can be one of the most invasive dental problems you’re likely to face. But there’s no reason to allow it to control your life and the lives of those around you.
Instead, contact Fennell Yoxthimer and Associates today to schedule a consultation. Let’s discuss your options to make your teeth grinding a thing of the past.