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 often related to a TMJ disorder. In some cases, patients are unaware of their tooth grinding because it often occurs during sleep. Why do people grind their teeth at night? Stress is the most common issue we encounter in Westborough. Some patients also claim it’s due to a sleep disorder. Only a certified healthcare professional can diagnose your specific issue.
Our team looks for the signs of grinding teeth during your routine dental exams. Taking measures to prevent grinding as soon as possible can avoid permanent damage to your teeth, gums and jaw joints.
What Causes Teeth Grinding?
Patients who grind their teeth often have an underlying bite or TMJ-related dental problem. If the bite does not allow your teeth to make proper contact, tension can be created in the jaw muscles. Missing teeth and malocclusion can also cause jaw tension. This leads to repeated involuntary movement of your jaw, often occurring during sleep or times of stress.
How do I stop grinding my teeth?
Our team offers treatments for teeth grinding. She will work with you on an individual basis to address the underlying concern with appropriate dental care. We will review your bite pattern, provide ways to prevent bruxism, and restore your comfort. If there is tooth damage, this will also need to be addressed to avoid tooth loss down the road. Your treatment will be tailored to your oral health condition and needs. It may include:
- Night guard, splint therapy: The most conservative treatment option is the use of a custom night guard that will position the jaw to prevent teeth 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. We may treat tooth damage or change the fit of your bite through adjustments to teeth surfaces, placing dental crowns, tooth bonding, and other restorative treatments.
- 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 braces using Invisalign. Most Invisalign patients report little-to-no teeth grinding issues.
There are some things you can do at home to curve the effects of bruxism. We 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.
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 an appointment for a dental exam with us online today.
Teeth Grinding FAQs
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. Teeth grinding, especially long term, will cause muscle strain in the joints and muscles in your face, neck and shoulders. Chewing can be affected leading to issues consuming certain healthy foods. Getting a night guard is the best way to help protect yourself. Also, identifying the cause of the grinding and addressing it will benefit your health.
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 expose your tooth roots leading to sensitive teeth. Gum recession also causes many people to be embarrassed by their smile.