Nighttime teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is a common habit that involves side-to-side movement of the teeth and jaws over each other. Grinding usually occurs at night, and many people are unaware of the condition and do not know that they need treatment. The dentist can provide effective and affordable oral devices to minimize…
Importance of Treating Teeth Grinding
Most people grind their teeth occasionally, but some people are prone to chronic teeth grinding, medically known as bruxism. Most people who grind their teeth chronically do it at night while they are sleeping. This can be problematic because they may not realize that they are doing it. There are telltale signs that someone is grinding their teeth. It is important to look for these signs so a treatment plan can be put in place. Chronic bruxism can cause a host of different dental problems and needs to be addressed as soon as it is diagnosed.
Recognizing and treating teeth grinding
Many people grind their teeth when they are stressed or anxious, but nightly bruxism is often the cause of dental abnormalities, misaligned bite or sleep disorders, like sleep apnea. If bruxism occurs mostly at night, there will likely be signs that it is happening. In many cases, a partner might recognize that it is happening because they can hear it, but the person grinding their teeth may also be able to recognize it by paying attention to the way that they feel in the morning. Morning headaches and jaw pain are common signs of bruxism. A dentist could also check for excessive wear on the teeth.
Why does it need to be treated?
Constant teeth grinding can cause many different problems. The constant friction on the teeth can weaken or even destroy the enamel. This likely means more cavities, and in extreme cases, the teeth can wear all the way down to stubs. Grinding can also fracture, loosen, and cause the loss of teeth. If the bruxism is not treated, extensive dental work like crowns, implants, and dentures might be required. The constant strain on the jaw muscles can also cause or worsen cases of TMJ.
What is the treatment for teeth grinding?
Treating bruxism is not that complicated, but looking into the causes of teeth grinding is important. If it is caused by something like a sleep disorder, then treating the disorder is an important first step. Solving the sleep problem may solve the bruxism. Dental abnormalities, like crooked and missing teeth, should also be addressed. Sometimes if the dental problem is fixed, the bruxism will resolve itself.
People who grind their teeth because of stress or anxiety might want to go over treatment options like therapy and medication. A dentist will likely make a mouth guard for bruxism patients to wear in order to protect the teeth, which can help while the underlying issues are investigated. A mouth guard will not stop the clenching of the jaw muscles, but it will prevent teeth from too much wear and tear.
Teeth grinding is a serious dental issue that needs to be treated as soon as it is discovered. If left untreated, serious oral health problems might arise. It can also affect overall health because it can disrupt sleep and cause tension and pain. Treatment will depend on the underlying causes of bruxism.
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