Do you wake up with a sore jaw or a headache? Do you find yourself clenching your jaw during the day? If so, you may be grinding your teeth at night. If that is the case, it is important to get treatment before further damage occurs.
Teeth grinding – also known as bruxism — is a common problem that affects some 20 percent of adults. While occasional teeth grinding may not be a cause for concern, chronic teeth grinding can lead to dental problems and discomfort. A qualified dental practice in your area will be able to give you a proper diagnosis and discuss the best solutions going forward.
To get to the root of the problem, start by finding out more about the causes, symptoms, and solutions for teeth grinding.
Causes of Teeth Grinding
Teeth grinding can be caused by a variety of factors such as stress, anxiety, and sleep apnea. Any of these problems can cause someone to clench their jaw or grind their teeth unknowingly. Sleep apnea may cause teeth grinding as the brain attempts to keep the airway open. Other factors such as caffeine, alcohol, and smoking can also contribute to teeth grinding.
Common Symptoms of Teeth Grinding
The symptoms of teeth grinding may vary from person to person. Some people may have no symptoms, while others may experience a range of them. Commons ones include:
- Jaw pain – sometimes called temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ)
- Worn-down teeth
If you have any of these symptoms, it is essential to consult your dentist for advice. Your dentist may recommend a comprehensive dental exam, including X-rays.
Multiple Solutions for Teeth Grinding
Fortunately, because teeth grinding is so common, there are many things you can do to treat and resolve the problem. A professional will work with you to determine the best path forward. In some cases, a combination of these solutions is recommended:
1. Mouth Guard
The most common treatment option for teeth grinding is a night guard or mouth guard. These custom-fit devices help protect your teeth from grinding and reduce muscle tension.
- Your dentist will take an impression of your teeth.
- A night guard will be created that perfectly fits your teeth.
- If you experience any discomfort, visit your dentist to have the mouth guard adjusted.
2. Address Any Anxiety
Another method to treat teeth grinding is to reduce stress and anxiety. Patients often benefit from relaxation techniques such as:
- Deep breathing
3. Avoid Things that Might Increase Teeth Grinding
Avoiding alcohol, caffeine, and smoking can also prevent teeth grinding. If sleep apnea is the cause of your teeth grinding, your dentist may refer you to a sleep specialist for further evaluation and treatment.
Mandibular Advancement Devices & Other Teeth Grinding Preventions
Similar to an athletic mouth guard, a Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD) may be able to protect your teeth and relieve the pressure and headaches caused by clenching and grinding. Located in Des Plaines, Illinois, First Class Smiles will customize a device that conforms to your teeth and mouth so you can comfortably sleep while wearing it.
Other preventive measures geared toward the individual’s medical profile may also be considered. For example, with children, it is essential to discourage thumb sucking and pacifier use. However, an adult may need to reduce stress by seeking counseling or therapy and exercising regularly, in combination with developing a better sleep routine.
In addition, avoiding foods that are hard, chewy, or sticky can also reduce the risk of teeth grinding.
Contact a Dentist in Your Area: Call First Class Smiles for Treatment
Teeth grinding is a common problem that affects many people. While occasional teeth grinding may not be a cause for concern, chronic grinding can lead to dental problems, jaw pain, and headaches. Ask your dentist about solutions such as night guards, stress reduction, and lifestyle changes. Remember, early detection and treatment will increase your chances of preventing long-term dental problems.
Understanding the causes and symptoms of teeth grinding is crucial to prevention and treatment. A free consultation will give you a chance to explore the right solutions for you. An expert at First Class Smiles will work with you to provide the proper treatment plan, as well as follow up with you to ensure the treatment is working and make any necessary adjustments.
Do you suspect you grind your teeth? First Class Smiles provides state-of-the-art treatments and expertise for a broad range of dental care. Our friendly staff is dedicated to caring for the oral health and well-being of every patient we see. Contact us online or call us at (847) 824-3536 to set up an appointment today!