Teeth grinding, medically known as bruxism, is a common stress response. How common? Very. In fact, one study found that as many as 33% of people engage in occasional tooth grinding. But occasional is key. When bruxism is a sometimes habit, it likely poses no real danger to long-term oral health. But for those who are chronic tooth grinders, it can cause a range of serious and even permanent problems with the teeth and jaw.
Chronic bruxism often occurs during sleep, though some people may notice jaw clenching during high-stress times during the day as well. In both cases, you may not even notice what it is doing to your smile until a dentist asks, “Do you grind your teeth?”
Telltale signs your dentist may notice include uneven tooth wear and gum recession, two irreversible consequences of bruxism. These problems will require restorative services such as dental crowns and dental bonding to correct and may necessitate an occlusal guard to be worn at night to prevent future damage.
In addition to signs your dentist may notice, severe bruxism may cause a range of issues in and around the jaw including:
- Frequent headaches
- Ear ringing, pressure, and pain
- Sinus pressure and pain
- Jaw clicking and popping
- Jaw pain
- Generalized facial pain
If you experience these symptoms for more than a few weeks, you may be experiencing the consequences of chronic tooth grinding, making it a good idea to bring them to the attention of an experienced dentist.
Nightguards are one of the best treatments for bruxism. These help to prevent the teeth from grinding against one another and may even assist in relaxing the jaw to help prevent clenching. In addition to nightguards, stress reduction, limiting caffeine intake, and, in some cases, medications can be useful in the treatment of bruxism. During your evaluation, Dr. Nathan Tenney will carefully assess your teeth and jaw and discuss all potential treatment options to help ensure you are receiving the best treatment possible.
Do you grind your teeth? Call Desert Smiles at 602-978-1790 to schedule a consultation and learn about your treatment options.