What You Need to Know About Teeth Grinding and Clenching
Teeth grinding and clenching, also known as bruxis, can be uncomfortable and disturbing to others, but it can also lead to long-term negative effects for yourself, including damage to your teeth. Teeth grinding can be prevented with proper treatment, or eliminated if the root cause is discovered.
Causes of Teeth Grinding and Clenching
Teeth grinding is often a side effect of misalignment. It can also be caused by temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), in which the jaw joint is not properly aligned. However, it can also cause TMD, so when bruxis is diagnosed or treated by your dentist, often TMD is also discovered and managed at the same time.
Tension and stress can also lead to teeth grinding, regardless of the alignment of your teeth. Teeth grinding most often happens while you are sleeping, so in many cases you might not even be aware of the teeth grinding or even the stress and tension that cause it. Symptoms, though, can be more obvious, and might include headaches, pain in the neck and shoulders, pain in the jaw or ear, and damage to your teeth.
Treatment for Teeth Grinding
If teeth grinding is a side effect of misalignment or of TMD, correcting the alignment of your teeth is usually the most effective treatment. Alignment can be corrected through orthodontic dentistry, use of inlays, onlays or veneers, or with Invisalign corrective alignment trays. In severe cases, TMD might require surgery.
Teeth grinding caused by stress can be alleviated through stress relief techniques. Your dentist might recommend an orthotic to wear at night that will reduce the likelihood of your grinding causing damage to your teeth. The combination of stress relief, relaxation techniques, and protection for your teeth can help alleviate symptoms and side effects of grinding while you treat the root cause.
At our office of dentistry in Plano, we can help you by diagnosing and treating your teeth grinding and clenching. Please call today to schedule a consultation.