It’s estimated that 25 million Americans grind their teeth or clench their jaw while they’re awake or sleeping. This issue, also called bruxism, can result in jaw pain, headaches, or even tooth loss. A dentist can screen you to see if your teeth show signs of wear associated with bruxism, but you will also need to take steps on your own to stop this habit. Here’s what you need to know.
A Guide to Teeth Grinding
What Are the Symptoms & Causes of Teeth Grinding?
You may grind your teeth and not even know it. Often, people find out from their dentist or a partner that hears it as they sleep. Some common symptoms of tooth grinding include:
- Worn tooth enamel, exposing deeper layers of a tooth
- Muscle tightness
- Increased tooth sensitivity
- Chronic facial pain
- Teeth that are worn down, flattened, fractured, or chipped
Bruxism can have many surprising causes. You may grind your teeth because of stress, anxiety, alcohol consumption, smoking, caffeine, snoring, or fatigue. However, one of the most common causes is sleep apnea.
How Do You Stop It?
Get yourself checked for sleep apnea by going to a sleep expert. If this is the problem, getting treatment for this condition will help immensely. Also, try taking a warm bath before bed, pay attention to clenching during the day, and avoid alcohol or caffeine.
What Are Some Common Dental Treatments?
While you’re addressing the underlying causes of your bruxism, a dentist can make you a custom mouth guard or splint. This won’t stop you from grinding, but it will protect your teeth.
If your case is more severe, your dentist may need to reshape your tooth surface or install crowns to make chewing more comfortable for you. If you’ve had this habit for years, your teeth may be ground down to a point where you need dentures.
Four Corners Dental Group offers extraordinary dental care in a calm and comfortable environment. They have locations in both Anchorage and Wasilla, AK, for your convenience. Their dentists offer cosmetic dentistry, including crowns and teeth whitening, in addition to preventative dentistry. Visit them online to learn more about their services, or call (907) 258-3384 to make your first appointment.