Do you feel like you constantly are experiencing headaches, jaw pain or tooth sensitivity? These symptoms can be indicators that you are grinding your teeth. Not only can teeth grinding affect the function of your pearly whites, but it also can impact the aesthetics of your smile.
When you grind your teeth, you are putting an incredible amount of force on them, wreaking havoc on your teeth and jaw. Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is a condition in which you grind, gnash or clench your teeth. You may be clenching your teeth subconsciously or consciously while awake, or grinding them during sleep. Bruxism can result in chipped enamel, flattened or broken teeth, jaw soreness and facial pain. Occasional teeth grinding may not cause any real concern; however, prolonged clenching can lead to damaged, worn-down teeth and other serious problems.
Bruxism has many causes, but it commonly is triggered by stressful lifestyles and busy routines. Determining the underlying cause of your stress is imperative to restoring the health of your smile. Having misaligned teeth also can cause you to grind your teeth. When teeth are not aligned properly, they press against one another, leading to wear and tear.
Teeth grinding is not a normal habit, and should not be ignored. If you suspect you may be suffering from bruxism, talk to your dental provider to help identify the cause of your clenching, and discuss the available treatment options.
A custom-made night guard often is recommended to protect teeth from excessive wear. The night guard will be measured properly and fitted to your teeth. Although a night guard will reduce clenching and grinding, it is important to address the reason it is happening in the first place.
To prevent bruxism:
- Avoid chewing gum and caffeine.
- Relax your jaw muscles.
- Meditate or exercise daily.
- Stretch your neck and shoulders.
- See a dentist regularly.
Having a youthful and healthy smile is important to one’s overall health and well-being, but teeth grinding can put a strain on your smile. Regular dental checkups will allow you to enjoy a happy and healthy smile for years to come.
– Dr. Scott Merritt founded BridgeMill Dentistry in 2002. The office is located on Sixes Road between Ridge and Bells Ferry roads.
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