Many people clench or grind teeth occasionally, but when teeth grinding becomes excessive, it can damage teeth and lead to other oral health problems. Promptly treating teeth grinding, also called bruxism, can prevent future problems, such as the premature wearing of the teeth.Bruxism is a medical or dental condition that involves excessive clenching or grinding…
What are the Causes and Effects of Teeth Grinding?
Also known as bruxism, teeth grinding is a condition where a person clenches, gnashes or grinds their teeth. It is typically an involuntary act, but some people grind their teeth as a habit.
Most cases of teeth grinding occur when the person is asleep, so there are many people out there who are not even aware that they grind their teeth.
Sleep bruxism is a sleep-related disorder, and people who suffer from it are also likely to have other disorders like sleep apnea or snoring. Mild cases of teeth grinding do not require treatment. More severe cases can lead to other health issues like morning headaches, cracked or broken teeth and temporomandibular joint disorders.
Warning signs of teeth grinding
Here are common symptoms that can help patients to recognize when they grind their teeth:
- Significant others or roommates complain about grinding sounds during sleep
- Flattened teeth that chip easily
- Sensitive teeth
- Worn-down enamel
- Sore jaw muscles
- Soreness in the neck or face
Patients should talk to a dentist as soon as they notice these symptoms showing up.
Causes of teeth grinding
The research is not yet clear when it comes to the causes of teeth grinding. Most professionals agree that a combination of psychological, genetic and physical factors can cause this disorder. Teeth grinding while awake can be a response to negative emotions like anger, stress, tension, frustration or anxiety. It can also be a coping habit that helps with concentration.w
Certain factors can make a person more susceptible to grind their teeth. These include:
- The patient's age: Young people are more likely to struggle with teeth grinding, but they typically outgrow it
- The patient's personality: People with competitive, hyperactive or aggressive personalities are more likely to have bruxism
- The patient's genetics: Teeth grinding tends to run in families
- Certain medications like antidepressants can trigger teeth grinding
- Habits like smoking, drinking or using recreational drugs
- Disorders like dementia, epilepsy, sleep apnea and Parkinson's disease
Effects of teeth grinding
Most people who grind their teeth do not end up with any serious complications. However, severe cases of teeth grinding can lead to:
- Damaged teeth and dental restorations
- Damaged temporomandibular joints
- Frequent headaches
- Jaw pain and facial pain
Treating teeth grinding
While there is still much to be learned about this disorder, there are some effective ways it can be managed. The go-to solution dentists often use to deal with teeth grinding is a customized mouth guard. The mouthguard is designed to reduce the forces the patient's teeth have to deal with while they sleep.
Reducing negative emotions before going to bed can also manage teeth grinding. Simple things like breathing exercises can be used to lower stress and reduce pent-up tension before calling it a night. People with bruxism that is triggered by habits like smoking or drinking should consider quitting.
Do you grind your teeth?
Has anyone ever said you grind your teeth when you are asleep? Have you woken up with a sore jaw? If so, it is probably best to visit a dentist to learn how to manage your teeth grinding. Call our office to discuss treatment options.
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