Some do it while they sleep. Others do it when they’re stressed. The majority do it, however, without even realizing it. Teeth grinding, or bruxism, is a common oral habit that can wreak havoc on your smile and your overall well-being. It can involve grinding, gritting or clenching your teeth for an extended period of time. Regardless of the reason or frequency of your teeth grinding habit, it needs to be addressed. Here’s some FAQs to help you understand bruxism and its symptoms:
Q: What triggers teeth grinding?
It has been most acknowledged that teeth grinding is an emotional response to stress or even anger. It can also become a habit during a certain activity, like running or weight lifting. Teeth grinding is most commonly performed during nighttime sleep. Some researchers say that nighttime bruxism is linked to depression or the use of alcohol, tobacco or caffeine.
Q: What are the symptoms of teeth grinding?
It is very common for patients to be unaware of their teeth grinding habit, especially when it occurs at night. If you don’t have a bed partner that’s willing to confess your habit, then you’re likely to notice symptoms such as morning headaches, jaw stiffness, TMJ pain and worn down teeth.
Q: Why is bruxism so harmful?
Perpetual or chronic teeth grinding involves more exertion and force that your jaw muscle and teeth were designed to handle. Therefore, the jaw muscle (and TMJ) will suffer strain, and the surfaces of your teeth can also weaken and wear down prematurely. Furthermore, when the outer layer of the teeth is destroyed, your smile becomes more vulnerable to decay and infection.
Q: How can you stop teeth grinding?
For some patients, a change in lifestyle or reducing their daily stress can put a halt to teeth grinding. For others, a dentist is needed to intervene. The most proven treatment for nighttime bruxism is wearing a custom night guard. This can protect your teeth and jaw muscles from the harmful habit. In some cases, teeth grinding can be eliminated by adjusting a bad bite through orthodontics. These are options that we can explore for you at Park South Dentistry.
For an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment for teeth grinding and jaw pain, call our New York office today!