Posted on Wednesday, April 6th, 2016 at 11:16 am.
It is estimated that over 90% of people experience teeth grinding or bruxism, at some time in their lives. Many people are unaware they even have the disorder because it often occurs at night during sleep. When teeth grinding occurs on a regular basis the teeth can be damaged and other oral health complications can arise.
Research point the causes to be related to stress and anxiety, by an abnormal bite, and/ or missing or crooked teeth.
A symptom of bruxism is a dull, constant headache or a stiff, sore jaw. Many times people learn that they grind their teeth by their loved one who hears the grinding at night .
If the habit becomes chronic, teeth grinding can result in fracturing, loosening, or loss of teeth. Chronic grinding can literally sand down teeth to stumps affecting the nerves of the teeth. This could lead to sensitive or painful teeth, loose teeth, cavities, fillings, crowns, root canals and even extractions. It can also affect your jaws, cause or worsen tempomandibular disease (TMD/TMJ) and even change the appearance of your face ( as your teeth shrink, so can your profile).
Your dentist can fit you with a mouthguard to protect your teeth from grinding during sleep. Braces can help correct/ reduce the habit caused by an abnormal bite or crooked teeth.
If stress is causing you to grind your teeth, ask your doctor or dentist about options to reduce your stress.
Avoid or cut back on foods and drinks that contain caffeine and minimize alcohol consumption. Both can intensify grinding and clenching.
Avoid unnecessary habits like biting your fingernails, gum chewing, chewing on pens/pencil or using your teeth as tools. These habits allow your jaw muscles to get more used to clenching and makes you more likely to grind your teeth.
If you notice that you clench or grind during the day, train your jaw muscles to relax by positioning the tip of your tongue between your teeth. Also, licking your lips and swallowing helps to release the teeth from grinding or clenching.
Relax your jaw muscles at night by holding a warm washcloth against your cheek for a few minutes. Relaxation techniques before bed also help.
If you think you might be grinding your teeth, schedule an appointment to talk with us about your symptoms and concerns. Please call the office at 661-505-2926. Our address is 25385 Wayne Mills Pl. Valencia, Ca. 91355 in the plaza on the corner of Magic Mountain Pkwy and Tourney Rd. As always, we look forward to providing you with outstanding dental care!