Do you grind your teeth at night? Are your teeth worn down, but you don’t know why?
There are common signs that you may be grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw, from worn or cracked teeth to jaw pain and tenderness. Teeth grinding, also called bruxism, is a dental concern that is often related to TMJ disorders. In some cases, patients are unaware of their tooth grinding because it often occurs during sleep.
Stress is the most common reason for teeth grinding. However, only a certified healthcare professional can diagnose your specific issue. During routine dental exams, Dr. Trushar Patel looks for signs of grinding and wear to the tooth enamel. Taking measures to prevent grinding as soon as possible can avoid permanent damage to your teeth, gums, and jaw joints.
Teeth Grinding: Causes and Treatments
Patients who grind their teeth often have an underlying bite or TMJ-related dental problem. The jaw muscles become tense when the bite does not allow teeth to make proper contact. Missing teeth and malocclusion can also cause jaw tension. This leads to the repeated involuntary movement of your jaw, often occurring during sleep or times of stress.
Dr. Patel and provides treatments for teeth grinding. He will work with you on an individual basis to address the underlying concern with appropriate dental care. Dr. Patel will review your bite pattern, provide ways to prevent bruxism, and restore your comfort. He can also address any tooth damage to avoid tooth loss down the road. Your treatment will be tailored to your oral health condition and needs. It may include:
- Night Guards and Splint Therapy: The most conservative treatment option is the use of a custom night guard that will position the jaw to prevent teeth from grinding. This option does not include oral surgery or orthodontics.
- Restorative Treatments: If your teeth grinding is due to malocclusion or oral issues with your teeth, we may recommend restorative dental treatments. These treatments may address tooth damage or change the fit of your bite through dental crowns, tooth bonding, and more.
- Orthodontics: If crooked teeth are considered the root cause of your bruxism, orthodontics may be the solution to realign your bite. We offer the convenience of clear aligners using Sure Smile®. Most Sure Smile patients report little-to-no teeth grinding issues.
There are some things you can do at home to curve the effects of bruxism. Dr. Patel can show you mouth and jaw exercises to relieve some symptoms. Avoid overusing your jaw muscle to lessen the stress on your jaw. Also, try eating softer foods until you get examined by your dentist. Some over-the-counter medicines can also provide temporary relief.
Teeth Grinding FAQs
Want to know more about teeth grinding? Read answers to common questions about this dental problem here:
What should I do if my child grinds their teeth at night?
Teeth grinding in children is actually pretty common and most children will outgrow it. The damage that it causes until then is usually minimal. If you are alarmed by it, please bring it up at your child’s next checkup. Teething and improper tooth alignment are the typical causes of grinding in children.
What are the long-term effects of teeth grinding?
Teeth grinding can do permanent damage to your teeth and gums. It can also cause chronic pain in your temporomandibular joints (TMJ) and lead to severe headaches. In the long term, teeth grinding will cause muscle strain in your face, neck, and shoulders. Chewing can be affected leading to issues consuming certain healthy foods.
Can teeth grinding harm my gums?
Not only can teeth grinding lead to serious damage to your teeth, joints, and muscles as well as cause pain, it can also damage your gums. The constant pressure on your teeth can cause your gums to recede. Gum recession will also expose your tooth roots and lead to sensitive teeth.
Schedule a Tooth Grinding Consultation
If you have concerns that you may be grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw, discuss them during your next visit! Schedule a dental appointment with Dr. Patel online or call 508.342.1519.