Do you grind your teeth at night and sometimes wake up with sore gums or jaws? Sometimes the grinding noise might even wake you or your partner up at night. Teeth grinding is not unusual and is frequently associated with stress or anxiety. But it can also be caused by sleep disorders, medication, lifestyle or other causes. You may not even be aware you are grinding your teeth during sleep until your dentist advises you of excessive wear on your teeth. Dentists commonly refer to teeth grinding as para-functional, which describes a behavior that is outside the normal range of what your teeth are supposed to do. Some parafunctional habits include bruxism (excessive teeth grinding or jaw clenching), fingernail biting or other habits not related to speaking, eating, or drinking.

Teeth Grinding Can Cause Major Problems With Your Teeth

Severe teeth grinding can affect your jaws, cause possible tooth damage or loss, and might even change your appearance. It can affect any part of your oral system, causing pain such as headaches, neck or back pain or earaches.

It Could Be Stress

Teeth grinding, or bruxism, is frequently associated with stress. Changes to your life such as marriage, divorce or loss of job, may be causing these habits. Dentists frequently see grinding habits in their patients. Sometimes you might be prescribed a muscle relaxant drug if you are suffering from pain or muscle spasm, or even medication to help you sleep. If you have jaw pain, applying a warm or cold compress to the area, may help with some relief. Stopping damage to your teeth and relieving the system is generally the goal during treatment. Check with your dentist for recommendations and treatment. In some cases, your dentist will suggest the use of a bite guard for your upper teeth. The guard is made of hard plastic and fits over your upper teeth and prevents your lower teeth from grinding into the upper teeth. This may help prevent some jaw or muscle use at night, thereby relieving jaw pain. The guard may be used only at night, but your dentist may suggest also during the day, depending on your habits.

Maybe It’s Malocclusion

Your grinding problem may also be caused by other issues like malocclusion (the manner in which your teeth meet), or other irregularities. If this is the case, your dentist will probably suggest braces or other adjustments for your teeth.

The most important thing to remember if you are suffering from a teeth grinding habit, is to check with your dentist for advice. Your dentist can help determine if you have a serious problem or maybe just a temporary stress issue that can more easily be resolved.

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About Tri-State Family Dentistry

Tri-State Family Dentistry is dedicated to providing the highest quality dental care possible. Being privately owned since 2009, we don’t experience the corporate pressure that other dental practices have to hit certain revenue numbers. You will never be ‘sold’ dentistry at Tri-State Family Dentistry. After we explain your treatment options, you can make your own decisions.