Grinding or clenching your teeth from time to time is not uncommon. It is medically known as bruxism. Occasionally, grinding or clenching your teeth is not harmful at all. However, it can become harmful if it occurs on a regular basis. This is because it can result in the damage of teeth as well as in the development of other dental complications.
Causes of bruxism
Teeth grinding is usually caused by stress or anxiety. Simply observe people under stress, anxiety or who have been angered by an event. You’ll notice that they have a clenched jaw.
Bruxism can also occur during sleep. In this case, it may also be caused by stress or anxiety that has not been dealt with. Bruxism during sleep can also be the result of a missing or cracked tooth as well as an abnormal bite.
How can I know if I grind my teeth while sleeping?
Many people who grind their teeth are unaware of the habit as it occurs while they are asleep. Many of these people wake up with common symptoms of bruxism which include:
- A headache
- A sore jaw
In most cases, people learn that they grind their teeth when they are informed by a loved one of the habit. If you suspect that you grind your teeth in your sleep, you should talk to your dentist. Dentists can examine your jaw and mouth to determine if the signs of bruxism are present. Some signs that dentists look out for include:
- Jaw tenderness
- Tooth abnormalities
Why you should be concerned about grinding your teeth
If teeth grinding is so common and natural, why should you be concerned about it if it occurs while you’re sleeping? Firstly, grinding or clenching your teeth while sleeping is not normal. Chronic grinding of the teeth can result in damage to the teeth. It results in wearing down of the teeth into stumps. You may need to have crowns, bridges, implants, a root canal or dentures to correct the damage.
The fact that your jaw is clenched for an extended period of time can also result in damage to the jaw. In some cases, the effects to the jaw may result in affected hearing. Some people with bruxism have experienced hearing loss as a result. You may even suffer a change in the appearance of your face. In worst cases, patients develop Temperomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMD or TMJ). This is a disorder of the jaw nerves and muscles resulting from injury to the temperomandibular joint.