If you wake up almost every morning experiencing jaw pain or a headache, it’s possible that you’re clenching or grinding your teeth during the night. The medical term for teeth grinding is bruxism and the longer it continues, the more likely it is that teeth will suffer damage. Teeth grinding and clenching can cause more than just discomfort, it can eventually lead to teeth and jaw problems that require dental procedures to repair. Finding ways to stop teeth grinding is essential for your oral and overall health.
Causes and consequences of bruxism
When teeth grinding occurs regularly, it can lead to eroded tooth enamel and damage dental work such as veneers or crowns. Causes of teeth grinding or clenching include:
- Crooked teeth
- Missing teeth
- Abnormal bite
If you suspect that you grind your teeth at night, it’s essential that you visit the dentist as soon as possible for a thorough dental examination.
Preventing teeth grinding
Along with visiting the dentist and finding an effective solution for your teeth grinding, there are other ways you can prevent teeth grinding including:
Relieve stress- Stress can lead to teeth grinding and clenching at night so finding ways to reduce it may lessen the problem. Ways to relieve stress include exercise, spa treatments, meditation and taking a bath. Increase your efforts to relax right before you sleep so your body, including your jaw, feels at peace.
Jaw massage – Grinding your teeth all night long can lead to jaw soreness and mini jaw massages throughout the day can help relieve that discomfort. Avoid chewing on hard, non-food items such as pens, pencils, ice or your nails as this stressed your jaw and can damage your teeth.
Increase awareness – You may be clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth during the day when you’re stressed and not even realize it. Try increasing your awareness to notice when you’re doing it and stop yourself by relaxing your jaw.
Mouth guard/night guard – If you suspect grinding your teeth at night, a custom-made mouth guard/night guard from your dentist can help protect your teeth, gums and jaw while you sleep.
Sometimes teeth grinding is related to TMJ disorder, which requires more involved treatment including therapy and/or a bite guard to wear every night. TMJ disorder puts stress on the jawbone and ligaments that can lead to further dental issues along with pain and discomfort.
Look forward to waking up pain-free and with a healthy, protected smile by contacting Greater Baltimore Prosthodontics to set up an exam to diagnose and treat your teeth grinding issues.