Many people are completely unaware that they are grinding their teeth. One might think that something people don’t even know they are doing could not be that harmful. On the contrary, chronic teeth grinding — also known as bruxism — can cause frequent headaches, worn teeth, or even broken teeth. The reason many people don’t realize that they grind their teeth is because it often happens while they are sleeping, although it can also happen throughout the day as well. Dentists like Plano, TX dentist Dr. Mark Sowell of Sensational Smiles can easily identify teeth grinding and help you with ways to stop it and its side effects.
Why Do I Grind My Teeth?
Tooth grinding and jaw clenching may indicate an issue with your bite. In dental terminology, the “bite” refers to the alignment of your teeth and how they meet when you bite and chew or just close your mouth. People who grind or clench their teeth often have uneven bites commonly seen with conditions such underbites or overbites.
In many cases, teeth grinding is commonly observed in those suffering from stress, whether from your own personal environmental factors or stress inside the mouth and jaw from a dental problem. When the intricate system of the teeth and jaws and muscles in the mouth and neck aren’t working together properly, it creates tension. This tension can lead to headaches, facial pain, and teeth grinding.
Signs of Teeth Grinding
Dentists can usually easily identify signs of teeth grinding, such as:
- Worn or dull teeth, especially chips or flat spots
- Sensitive teeth
- Jaw pain
- Frequent headaches
- Cuts or sores on the inside cheek
How to Stop Teeth Grinding
A lot of advice related to teeth grinding suggests reducing your stress levels, which may help you stop grinding your teeth. This may be true if the grinding is a subconscious reaction to stressors in your environment but if that stress is inside the mouth and out of your control, you’ll need to find other ways to stop grinding your teeth. In addition to stress reduction, occlusal appliances are often prescribed to treat bruxism.
There are a few different options available in the form of occlusal appliances. You may already be familiar with night guards, which are a type of occlusal appliance. These sturdy plastic appliances are custom-fitted to each patient’s mouth and designed to fit over the top or bottom teeth to prevent nighttime teeth grinding.
For more severe cases, your dentist may prescribe mandibular advancement devices, which are designed to move the jaw forward when the dentist suspects a sleep disorder is causing the problem. These appliances are often referred to as “snore guards,” which help align the jaw during sleep to treat sleep apnea or snoring.
Bruxism Treatment in Plano, TX
Teeth grinding can damage your teeth and cause you serious discomfort, so it’s important to seek treatment if you think you may be grinding your teeth. Dr. Sowell’s team at Sensational Smiles is a full-service dental office that can help you put an end to bruxism and keep your teeth and mouth healthy. Call Sensational Smiles at (972) 382-6855 or schedule with us online for a free consultation with Dr. Sowell about treating your teeth grinding issue or any dental concern.