Causes of and Treatments for Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding – also known as bruxism – is very common: most people grind and/or clench their teeth at some time. It’s when the grinding becomes regular and, especially when done at night for a long time, can damage teeth and can cause oral health problems.

Teeth grinding can result in broken teeth or even loose teeth. Some people grind so much they wear the teeth down to stumps!

If teeth grinding has damaged your teeth or jaw that much, your dentist probably will recommend crowns, implants, a root canal, and/or dentures.

Some teeth grinding is so severe that it can progress to TMD/TMJ, which can change the shape and appearance of your face and even affect your ability to chew.

Most people grind their teeth during sleep so you may not know that you’re a grinder. One sign is a sore jaw in the morning, or a constant, dull headache. If you don’t hear the grinding, your partner may well tell you!

Your dentist also can tell by looking for abnormalities in your teeth and tenderness in your jaw.

You can be fitted for a mouth guard to protect your teeth during sleep. You also can purchase a guard at your local drug store, but your Plano dentist can create one custom made and shaped for your mouth.

As for stopping the grinding, there are a few things you can do:

  • Many people grind their teeth due to stress. If you do, talk to your doctor or dentist for tips on stress management. You may consider seeing a physical therapist or seeing a stress counselor.
  • Your physician also could write you a prescription for muscle relaxation, but you should opt for this only after trying other remedies.
  • When getting in bed, take a warm washcloth, place it against your cheek and in front of your earlobe. Doing so helps relax your jaw muscles.
  • Don’t drink alcohol or drinks such as coffee and colas that contain caffeine. You also may want to limit your chocolate consumption (chocolate contains caffeine).
  • Think about training yourself not to grind your teeth. Many people who grind their teeth at night also grind during the day, so training during the day can conceivably help at night. If you find yourself grinding or clenching your teeth, place the tip of your tongue between your teeth. Doing so helps keep your jaw muscles relaxed.
  • If you tend to chew on pens or pencils – or other objects – stop.

If you believe you’re grinding your teeth at night, contact Plano dentist Dr. Darren Dickson for a consultation. Call us or send us an e-mail at [email protected].

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