Teeth Clenching and Teeth Grinding – Facts and Treatment
If you handle stress by clenching or grinding your teeth, you’re not alone. In the past, dental researchers blamed malocclusion for teeth grinding, but they now believe stress is the prevalent cause. Rarely, sleeping patterns can be responsible. Teeth clenching and grinding is commonly called bruxism, and it causes serious wear-and-tear damage to your tooth enamel. Eventually, this leads to tooth sensitivity, tooth decay, and damage to dental restorations. Prolonged teeth grinding and clenching can also damage your jaw and lead to osteoarthritis and even bone loss in the presence of gum disease.
Facts About Bruxism
- If you grind your teeth or clench your jaw, you’re likely aware of it. You may wake up with a stiff or tired-feeling jaw, or your sleeping partner may report hearing nighttime teeth grinding noises.
- People who clench their teeth and jaw may not even realize they have a problem. Some people clench constantly without realizing it. Jaw pain that gradually gets worse during the day can be a symptom.
- Teeth clenching can do more harm than grinding. Your jaw was designed for chewing; clenching it causes the joint to degenerate.
- Tooth grinding may actually cause more damage when it is done intermittently rather than regularly.
- Grinding your teeth may be hereditary, and it’s more common in women. It typically affects people who are between 20 and 40 years of age.
6 Tips for Coping with Teeth Grinding Symptoms
A dentist is the best person to diagnose damage caused by bruxism and can provide treatment to prevent further teeth grinding problems. These six tips may help you cope with teeth clenching and grinding until you can get to the dentist:
- Deliberately relax your jaw when you feel tense. Your lips should remain sealed, but your teeth should only touch when you are chewing and swallowing.
- Wear an over-the-counter night guard to prevent tooth damage until your dentist provides a custom appliance for long-term wear.
- Take a mild pain reliever to reduce discomfort.
- Exercise regularly to help reduce stress.
- To reduce tension before bedtime, try massage, warm baths, heat therapy, or guided relaxation.
- If you are suffering jaw pain, limit hard foods like popcorn and steak until the problem is resolved.
To get the dental care you deserve from an affordable dentist in Columbia, call Dental One Associates of Columbia today at (410) 346-2350 or make an appointment.
Dental One Associates offers affordable family dentistry and gentle, compassionate dental care in Columbia. With 12 affiliated practices throughout Maryland, our offices are conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. At Dental One Associates of Columbia, we provide most dental services, from basic preventative care and general dentistry to specialized procedures and complete dental reconstruction. We accept most dental insurance plans and offer affordable financial solutions for any budget. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable dental care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping those smiles healthy, beautiful, and bright. Discover an affordable dentist who truly cares at Dental One Associates of Columbia.