Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, can be caused by many different things. The most common causes of teeth grinding are stress and anxiety, which cause your muscles to tense up and grind your teeth in response to the feeling of being unable to release the tension in other ways. Bruxism often happens when you’re asleep and can lead to jaw pain or headaches. Chances are, you may grind your teeth during the day without even realizing it.
Symptoms of Teeth Grinding
Do you wake up with a sore jaw or headaches? Do you find that your teeth are sensitive to hot and cold temperatures? Are you noticing that your teeth are beginning to wear down? Do you have dental work like crowns or fillings that are starting to break?
These are all common symptoms of teeth grinding, also called bruxism.
People who grind their teeth are often unaware that they have a problem until someone points it out to them. If you suspect that you grind your teeth, pay attention to how your jaw feels while you’re awake and also when you focus on projects throughout the day. Do you wake up with sore jaws or headaches? If so, you may be grinding your teeth at night while you sleep. Another way to tell if you are grinding your teeth is if you consciously check yourself throughout the day to see if your teeth are clenched together. When our mouths are at rest, our lips should be touching but our teeth should be apart.
Causes of Teeth Clenching
Most people who grind their teeth do so because of stress and anxiety. When you’re stressed, your body goes into fight or flight mode, which can cause your jaw to clench and your teeth to grind together. You might also find that you’re clenching your teeth when you’re driving, due to traffic conditions. Or when you’re working on an important but challenging project at home or work.
Certain medications can also cause bruxism, such as stimulants used to manage ADHD symptoms.
Finally, sleep apnea may also lead to worn, broken teeth due to bruxism when you’re asleep. When your body is oxygen deprived during sleep, you instinctively clench your teeth together.
If you think you may be grinding your teeth, it’s important to talk to our Mesa, AZ dentist.
Harmful Consequences of Teeth Grinding
If you grind your teeth too much, you may experience serious side effects to your smile. For one, you can damage your teeth by wearing them down. Even though tooth enamel is extremely durable (and harder than bone,) extensive tooth-on-tooth wear will gradually wear teeth out. Chipped or flat edges are extremely common. Extensive wear can lead to tooth sensitivity and pain when eating or drinking hot or cold beverages, not to mention aesthetic concerns.
You may also develop TMJ disorder (TMD,) which can cause pain in your jaw and face. The TMJ pain is typically a result of overuse of your jaw joints and constant muscle fatigue in those areas. If you grind your teeth at night, you may even start to experience headaches when you wake up in the morning. In severe cases, teeth grinding can even lead to fractures in the teeth and broken dental work.
Treatments for Bruxism
If you are grinding your teeth at night, then a nightguard can help to protect your teeth from further damage. A nightguard can also help to alleviate symptoms such as headaches and jaw pain. Our Mesa dentist will be able to assess your oral health and determine whether or not a nightguard is the best solution for you.
Some of the benefits of wearing a nightguard or bite splint include:
- Protection from further damage to your teeth or dental work
- Managing TMJ disorder
- Reduced risk of teeth grinding and clenching
- Reduced risk of developing TMJ disorder
Adjunctive therapies are also available, such as massage, physical therapy, injectable medications, and cold compresses.
When you wear a night guard for teeth grinding, you protect your smile and prolong the overall life span of your teeth and dental work.
Bruxism Treatment in Mesa, AZ
Do you grind your teeth at night? If so, you may be suffering from bruxism. This condition can cause a number of serious side effects, including headaches, jaw pain, and damage to your teeth. Luckily, there are treatments available that can help relieve your symptoms and protect your teeth. At Eastport Dental in Mesa, AZ, we offer custom mouthguards and other treatments that can help you get relief from bruxism. Call us today to schedule an appointment!