Medically termed bruxism, this condition involves grinding, clenching, or gnashing your teeth. This condition is usually harmless if it occurs occasionally. However, if you grind your teeth regularly, you could damage your teeth besides developing oral complications. Frequent teeth grinding could lead to headaches and jaw disorders. Although bruxism can originate from anxiety and stress, it frequently takes place during sleep and occurs mostly due to an abnormal bite, crooked, or missing teeth. Since grinding frequently occurs when you sleep, you may be unaware of this problem. However, a dull, regular headache or sore jaw is a sign of bruxism. You should consult your dentist if you suspect that you have this condition. Your dentist will examine your jaw and mouth for telltale signs such as teeth abnormalities and jaw tenderness.
Causes of teeth grinding
This condition frequently occurs in connection with other aspects. Most incidences of teeth grinding occur due to anxiety and stress. There is a strong connection between this condition and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This sleep disorder arises due to the interruption of your breathing when sleeping. Moreover, your lifestyle can influence the emergence of teeth grinding. For instance, if you drink alcohol regularly, smoke, and use recreational drugs, your likelihood of developing this condition increases.
Harmful Effects of Teeth Grinding
In some instances, chronic bruxism can lead to loosening, fracturing, and tooth loss. The constant grinding may wear your teeth to stumps. When this happens, bridges, implants, and crowns may be necessary. Severe grinding could also lead to jaw disorders and possibly change your face's appearance.
Bruxism can cause various symptoms including headaches and facial pain. Symptoms such as facial pain will frequently disappear once you break this habit. However, others such as tooth damage could be permanent. Possible symptoms include:
- Stiffness and tightness in your shoulders
- Sleep disruption
- Facial pain
Mount splints and guards
Your physician may recommend you wear a mount splint or guard at night. These devices help prevent tooth movement by evening out your mouth pressure. A mouth splint or guard forms a barrier between your lower and upper teeth to protect them against further damage. They are also beneficial in decreasing any grinding noises you produce at night.
Treating underlying problems
Psychological treatments for instance cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can treat underlying problems such as anxiety and stress that may contribute to teeth grinding. CBT seeks to help manage your issues by changing your thoughts and actions.