Tooth Grinding SolutionsWednesday, January 23rd, 2013, 11:19 pm
Tooth grinding every now and then does not usually cause harm but chronic tooth grinding is a problem that needs a solution.
Tooth grinding, or bruxism, can be caused by stress, an abnormal bite, crooked teeth or even missing teeth. The grinding often happens during sleep so many people don’t realize they are doing it unless someone tells them. Signs of bruxism include: morning headaches, sore jaws and facial pain. If you suspect you might grind your teeth, schedule an appointment with your dentist. We can examine for signs of grinding such as damage to the teeth and jaw problems.
The constant grinding and clenching cause two types of damage. Your teeth can break, wear down or become loose because of the bruxism. Some people actually wear their teeth down to stumps. When this happens tooth loss may occur and the damage must be repaired using crowns, bridges, root canals, partial dentures or implants.
Additional damage is done to the jaw joint itself leading to severe facial pain, headaches, neck pain, hearing changes and even changes to facial appearance.
The medical community has not found a sure-fire way to stop tooth grinding but dentists can create a mouth guard that can protect your teeth and jaw joint from damage. There are steps that the patient can take to reduce the chances of tooth grinding including: cut back on caffeine, avoid alcohol (grinding tends to get worse after a drink), don’t chew gum, pencils or anything else that isn’t food, use warm compresses to relax your jaw muscles before bed and if you find yourself clenching during the day take the time to relax your jaw.
Early intervention is important when treating bruxism. Don’t ignore your grinding until severe damage has been done – there is help!