Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, isn’t a disease by itself but usually a result of other underlying factors. Though teeth grinding and the underlying causes are generally not serious, bruxism can lead to tooth damage if it’s severe or unaddressed. Teeth grinding is a common occurrence, especially for children who have an abnormal bite or missing teeth.
For many people, teeth grinding is a minor annoyance, and it may go away on its own. If you find that it’s recurring and you aren’t getting relief, it might be time to visit your dentist to get some help. Call Lovett Dental Missouri City today at 281.346.9597 for more information about your treatment options.
What Is Bruxism?
Teeth grinding is the usually unconscious act of clenching the jaw so that the top and bottom sets of teeth rub against each other. It can eventually lead to the fracturing or wearing-down of your teeth, to the point where you would need implants, crowns, or bridges to compensate for lost natural teeth. The damage is usually most evident in the back molars, but it can affect most teeth, depending on how the jaw is aligned.
Why Is Teeth Grinding Harmful?
In addition to damaging your teeth themselves, if you have TMJ or another jaw problem, teeth grinding can make it worse. Bruxism and TMJ can go hand-in-hand, and if they’re both unaddressed, both will worsen under typical circumstances.
Damaged teeth that need bridges or crowns due to bruxism can also alter how your face looks. Classic signs of bruxism are cracked teeth, headaches, and jaw pain. These symptoms can be distracting and lower your quality of life, so many people quickly reach out for treatment.
Causes of Teeth Grinding
For children, a misaligned bite can often cause the teeth to grind. They may also grind their teeth in their sleep, as can adults. Nocturnal grinding of teeth is more typical for people who are under a lot of stress or suffer from anxiety. The problem with teeth grinding in sleep is that you’re likely unaware of it.
Sleep disorders like sleep apnea or insomnia can also cause teeth grinding. For many people, just not getting enough sleep can make them grind their teeth. If you treat the underlying sleep problems by following your doctor’s advice, you can alleviate or resolve teeth grinding related to poor sleep quality in many cases.
In the event you suspect you are grinding your teeth, you should speak with your dentist. They can take some information and identify damage explicitly caused by teeth grinding. Then they can give you information on how to proceed with resolving it. Your dentist can also create a mouth guard for you that prevents your teeth from grinding while you sleep. Additionally, they can evaluate your jaw alignment and determine whether you have TMJ. They may need to address this condition separately and might alleviate your teeth grinding when it resolves as well.
You can speak to your primary care physician about the potential impact of stress on your teeth grinding and how to treat it. Often when people start getting better sleep or relaxation, they find their teeth grinding resolves.
Contact Lovett Dental Missouri City
If you’re in the Houston, Texas area, and you think you might be grinding your teeth, the team at Lovett Dental Missouri City would love to help you. We are a full-service dental office, offering services for teeth grinding as well as: