Grinding your teeth when you’re stressed or anxious, on occasion, is completely normal and typically doesn’t cause problems. Chronic teeth grinding, which is medically called bruxism, can cause all sorts of bad problems. Curious? Let’s examine what actually happens when you grind your teeth.
Teeth Grinding: Breaking it Down
The name of the condition is self-explanatory. Despite a common misconception, teeth grinding doesn’t just occur when you’re stressed or anxious. In fact, it most often occurs when you sleep, which can make it difficult to know if you’re a chronic teeth grinder. Bruxism can be caused by sleeping disorders like sleep apnea, and can also be caused by an abnormal bite or missing tooth.
Why is Teeth Grinding So Bad?
Teeth grinding can wear down your teeth and can cause fracturing or loosening of your teeth. If this happens, you’ll have to pay a lot of money to get the tooth fixed by getting implants, a root canal, a bridge or even dentures. Moreover, chronic teeth grinding can cause severe problems and can even alter the look of your face. It can affect your jaw and can cause the painful condition, TMJ.
Symptoms of Bruxism
Because you’re sleeping, you can’t catch yourself grinding your teeth. However, there are common signs and symptoms that you’re a chronic teeth grinder. These symptoms include:
- Dull, constant headache
- Sore jaw
Sometimes, your loved ones might hear you grinding your teeth in your sleep. It might be worth it to ask them if they’ve heard you grind your teeth ever.
Fortunately for you, dentists are trained to recognize the signs of bruxism. If you think you might grind your teeth chronically, make an appointment to get checked out and to talk with your dentist.
How Can I Prevent or Stop Grinding My Teeth?
There are a few options you can use to prevent or stop grinding your teeth. The simplest—and most practical option is to use a mouth guard. You could also visit your dentist and ask to receive an occlusal appliance, which is a custom-fitted device, fits over your top and bottom teeth and prevents you from grinding them together.
Another option, which is more severe, is to get a mandibular advancement device. Similar to an occlusal appliance, the device is custom-made and fitted. This device, however, is designed to bring your bottom jaw forward and prevent teeth grinding. If your bruxism is caused by a sleeping disorder, this is the most likely course of treatment that would be prescribed to you.
To get started on a treatment or prevention method, you need to visit your dentist or even a maxillofacial surgeon.
Bruxism is a serious condition that can cause facial and oral problems. It’s important to listen to your body to identify any symptoms of bruxism that may be presented. If you’re concerned about chronic teeth grinding, talk to your dentist.