What Causes Teeth Grinding
If you occasionally experience teeth grinding, it is not considered as a big problem, as it usually does not cause any significant harm.
However, when teeth grinding occurs on a more regular basis, teeth can be damaged followed by other oral health complications.
You’re also more likely to grind your teeth if you:
- talk or mumble while asleep
- behave violently while asleep (such as kicking or punching)
- have sleep paralysis (a temporary inability to move or speak while waking up or falling asleep)
- experience hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t real) while semi-conscious
Other lifestyle habits may accelerate the possibility to start grinding your teeth while asleep such as:
- drinking alcohol
- using recreational drugs such as cocaine and ecstasy
- lot of tea or coffee( more than 6 cups daily)
Unfortunately, most people who grind their teeth and clench their jaw, aren’t aware they’re doing it.
It often happens during sleep,while concentrating or when they are under stress.
Teeth Grinding Symptoms
- Flat, nubbed, or dull teeth
- Tooth pain
- Broken teeth or fillings
- Chronic pain in the mouth and jaw stiffness
- Worn-out tooth enamel
- Damage to insides of cheeks
- Tongue indentations
- Sensitive teeth
- Jaw pain
- Wear spots on teeth
Let’s analyze some of these symptoms.
Jaw pain results from the clenching and grinding of the teeth, which puts excessive pressure on the joints in your jaw.
It may also be exacerbated by chewing gum, or eating tough foods that involves lots of cracking with teeth, which will cause even more jaw pain.
The most obvious and most serious of all symptoms is tooth pain and it’s not so hard to figure out why this occurs.
Grinding of teeth applies the same force you’d need to crack a walnut, and teeth simply can’t stay healthy in the long run when exposed to that pressure every single day.
Grinding usually leads to occurrence of small fissures or fractures in the tooth, which causes pain when the teeth are used for chewing.
Your teeth can become overly sensitive, because bruxism wears away the enamel that protects the teeth from extreme temperatures, and grinding can only wear down teeth, making it difficult and painful to eat or drink.
Wear Spots On Teeth
Wear spots are places on your teeth where the enamel has been already worn away by the grinding.
The layer underneath, called dentin, begins to fade as well and make teeth more sensitive, because they are less protected without the layers of enamel.
When you go to regular dental control, dentists always check-up for these spots, because they’re 100 % an indicator of teeth grinding (or clenching).
Whats-more, facial pain and headaches often disappear when you stop grinding your teeth.
Teeth Grinding Treatment
Once problem is detected, number of treatments and medical options are used to help manage and overcome this while preventing further damage to the teeth.
Whether the symptoms should be cured, or the disorder itself, these are the most common ways to overcome and cure this habit of teeth destruction:
1.Stress reduction (finding causes that alleviate teeth grinding)
2. Drink more water
3.Have more quality sleep
4.Avoid chewing gum, or other objects
5.Relaxing the face and jaw consciously throughout the day
6.Using teeth grinding mouth guard
7.Avoid alcohol to decrease the urge to clench the teeth
8.Avoid caffeine and tea
9.Use a warm, wet washcloth on the jaw to soothe muscles and relieve pain
10.Massage jaw muscles, neck and the face in order to relieve tension
11.Get physical therapy if it became severe condition
12.Perform exercises to relax the jaw
13.Visit a chiropractor
14.Use muscle relaxants to relax the jaw
The Use Of Teeth Grinding Mouth Guard
Night mouth guards are worn at night to guard against teeth grinding, and they are different from mouth guards that athletics wear.
Because teeth grinding occurs at night, by using a mouth guard, they avoid damaging their teeth, because the guard absorbs all the grinding.
There are two types of night guards.
The first one is a custom built night guard made by a dentist, who will measure your mouth and teeth, and build a guard according to those specifications.
That guard is made especially for you, and cannot be used by anyone else, because it will not fit properly.
Using custom made night guards are often a better solution in protecting against bruxism, because they are made for your unique mouth shape to protect you from teeth grinding pain.
You can also buy a non-custom night guard at a drug store, but, these may fit less comfortably, because they aren’t designed for your mouth in first place.
However, they can offer a good teeth protection from night grinding.
Teeth Grinding In Children
Teeth grinding can also affect children. It can happen right after their baby teeth appear, and afterwards when adult teeth appear as well.
Luckily, this grinding stops after the adult teeth are fully formed.
There are some signs to watch for, if you suspect your child is teeth grinding such as:
- grinding noises when your child is sleeping
- complaints of a sore jaw, or face, after waking up in the morning
- pain while chewing
If you think your children are grinding their teeth, you should schedule a dentist appointment as soon as possible.
Teeth will be examined to determine if there is chipped enamel and unusual tear and wear, and will spray air and water on teeth to check for any unusual sensitivity.
No one knows exactly why children grind their teeth, but considerations most often include:
- improperly aligned teeth
- irregular contact between upper and lower teeth
- other medical conditions (such as nutritional deficiencies, pin-warm, allergies, endocrine disorders)
- psychological factors including anxiety and stress
Tips To Help A Child Stop Grinding Teeth
These are some specific tips suggested to treat this condition:
- Decrease your child’s stress, especially just before going to bed
- Try to massage them, and make them do light stretching exercises to relax muscles
- Make sure your child drink plenty of water, as dehydration may be linked to teeth grinding
No intervention is usually required with preschool-age children, but when it comes to older children, they may need a temporary night guard to prevent night grinding.
When it comes to teeth grinding, the first line of help is to establish what is the main cause and to work on it. Whether it is stress, or other symptoms involved, it is always recommended to cure the causes, so the symptom will go away by itself.
However, if this is condition that won’t go away, immediately visit your dentist, and try to find solutions while you work on other health issues to resolve this problem permanently.
Teeth Grinding Guide created by Schererville Family Dentistry.
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