Am I Grinding My Teeth Away?
Do you wake up in the morning with a sore jaw? Do you get tension headaches? Are your teeth sensitive? You may be grinding or clenching your teeth and not even be aware of it. Bruxism is a condition in which people grind or clench their teeth without knowledge of doing so. This can be caused by different reasons that Dr Garrett at Germantown Cosmetic and Family Dentistry will address in this blog and how it affects your teeth and jaws.
Causes of teeth grinding
Tension, stress, and anxiety experienced during the daytime can carry over to an individual’s sleep, and lead the person to grind his or her teeth together or clench the teeth unknowingly. Sleep apnea is another condition that can result in bruxism.
Effects of Teeth Grinding
Frequent clenching and teeth grinding wears down the chewing surfaces of the teeth, reduces tooth enamel, and can result in a cracked or chipped tooth, crown, or filling. The alignment of your teeth can be effected which causes more jaw problems. These jaw problems can lead to joint issues, tension headaches, and muscular problems.
Nightguards for teeth grinding
Custom nightguards are fabricated to fit like a glove and protect your teeth from the adverse effects of bruxism. Nightguards are created through a non-invasive process that simply takes an impression or scan of the bottom and top rows of teeth. The result is a nightguard that is flexible, comfortable, and personalized to your mouth.
Benefits of nightguards
Nightguards are helpful to reduce or eliminate the symptoms of dental damage incurred as a result of teeth grinding. They can reduce the discomfort associated with a sore jaw, headaches, tooth sensitivity, ear pain, and facial pain that many patients experience as a result of clenching or grinding of their teeth. In severe cases of bruxism, patients can develop loss of hearing, jawbone misalignment, and TMJ. Therefore, customized nightguards can help prevent the progression of teeth grinding into these more serious conditions.
At-home tips to reduce or prevent teeth grinding
Although it’s important to wear your nightguard faithfully if you grind your teeth at night, you can follow a few self-care tips to help to prevent your teeth grinding from worsening.
- Reduce tension and stress. Whether you take a warm bath before bed, listen to soothing music, or exercise, practice stress-relieving activities to wash away the tensions of the day.
- Avoid alcohol. In some patients, alcohol increases teeth grinding tendencies.
- Avoid caffeine. In some individuals, caffeine increases the likelihood of teeth grinding.
- Focus on relaxing jaw muscles. Make a conscious effort to keep your jaw relaxed. A warm washcloth against your cheek, sticking your tongue between your teeth, and avoiding chewing pencils, pens, and gum are all ways to train the muscles of your jaw to stay relaxed.
If you suffer from any of these symptoms, ask Dr Garrett or one of our excellent staff members how we can make a custom nightguard just for you!