Should I Be Worried If I’m Grinding My Teeth?
Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is normal if it is occasional. Most people clench or grind their dentition unconsciously during sleep, and this habit does not cause harm. However, if the habit is prolonged on regular basis, it can potentially be harmful to dental health. In case of regular teeth clenching, you must consult the dentist and get it treated, else it can lead to considerable teeth and gums damage along with various other oral health issues like sleep apnea.
Causes of Bruxism
Several aspects contribute to the problem of teeth grinding, which can be a combination of psychological, physical, or genetic factors. Possible causes of bruxism include anxiety and stress, irregular bite, crooked or missing dentition, sleep apnea, and aggressive personality characteristics. People suffering from various medical conditions like Parkinson’s disease, gastroesophageal reflux disorder, epilepsy, attention deficit syndrome, or hyperactivity disorder are also at risk of developing this habit. A family history of teeth grinding also puts an individual vulnerable to bruxism. And, it can be a side effect of some anti-depressant medications.
How to Identify if You Suffer from Teeth Grinding?
Bruxism mostly occurs when an individual is sleeping; hence, the affected person usually remains unaware of the condition. It even goes unnoticed as it is a common behavior that many people moderately display during sleep with mild or no symptoms. Nevertheless, symptoms are likely to appear when the condition progresses and teeth clenching is increased. Major symptoms you should look for identifying the condition incorporates:
- Headache after getting up from sleep
- Dull or achy pain in the jaws and ear
- Stiffness in jaw muscles while chewing food
- Cracked or chipped teeth
- Teeth sensitivity
- Jaws not meeting properly
Due to constant grinding, the dentition may appear shorter than usual. Besides, constant teeth grinding habit is conducive to tenderness and inflammation of the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ), which hinges the jaws in moving sideways, opening, and closing. The joint is prone to damage if the condition is not treated. Moreover, chronic bruxism is a critical stage in which teeth enamel erosion can happen right down till stubs. Therefore, you must seek help before reaching this chronic stage because early diagnosis of the problem can easily be reversed with root canal therapy, bridges, and crowns. The severe outcomes are consequential to tooth extraction of partial or full dentures.
Teeth Grinding Treatment Options
Clenching of teeth is a behavioral problem; hence, it is imperative to interrupt or discontinue the habit. Therefore:
- a mouthguard is one of the most common and effective ways to treat bruxism and stop the effects of clenching teeth, as it puts your jaws in a relaxed state.
- A splint is another option that dentists recommend to keep your dentition separated and prevent teeth from clenching.
- In some cases, Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD) is advised to ensure that your jaws remain in a fixed position.
- Other preventive methods to relieve the problem include curbing your stress levels by engaging in physical activities, exercises, yoga, meditation, or whatever suits you. You can also get some muscle relaxant medications to loosen or calm down the jaws.
- Behavioral therapies, stress management techniques, and dietary patterns are also some substantial elements to reduce bruxism and its associated effects on dental health. The conditions of the patients determine the best possible treatment option.
- Other options which can be offered in the case of “Jaws not meeting properly” are:
1. Orthodontic treatment with Braces or Clear Aligners (Like Invisalign), which can, in some severe cases, be associated with,
2. Jaw (also called Orthognathic) surgery.
Our Consultants Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons, at the Dome MedDental Clinic, are experts in Orthognathic Surgery.
If you are suffering from bruxism or your TMJ conditions are worsened, you should immediately contact The Dome MedDental Clinic. We house highly experienced and extremely skilled maxillofacial surgeons that can help you cure the problem, so don’t bear the pain and complicate the situation.