Keeping your mouth happy and healthy is important. You may brush and floss your teeth regularly, and go to the recommended dental examinations, but there are also some other things you should be aware of. You may not even know you are doing it. But if you wake in the morning with jaw pain, headaches, or chipped enamel on your teeth, you might be grinding your teeth in your sleep.
Why you Grind your Teeth
In most instances, teeth grinding is a nighttime problem. You are likely doing it while you are asleep and might not even realize it. Some studies have suggested that grinding your teeth is mediated by the central nervous system and is linked to sleep arousal patterns, brain chemistry, certain drugs, alcohol, smoking, and genetic factors. Personality and psychological factors, stress, and anxiety have been shown in some studies to affect bruxism in some individuals. Men and women are affected equally, though grinding your teeth is more common in children and less common as you age.
Signs you Grind Your Teeth
The most common symptom, of course, is the grinding itself, but this leads to a number of secondary concerns. The signs and symptoms are teeth wearing, jaw muscle tenderness, head muscle tenderness around the temple area, jaw muscle swelling, morning headaches, tongue indentation, and pain or tenderness during muscle movement. Over time, the short term effects of grinding your teeth can lead to greater complications if the issues is not addressed. If left untreated, it will lead to symptoms such as headaches, both tension and migraine, earaches, ear congestion, buzzing or hissing in the ear, ringing in the ear, tinnitus, hot and cold sensitive teeth, cracked or broken teeth, loose teeth or crowns, sore and painful jaw muscles, and worn-down teeth. In some instances the damage to teeth is permanent and may lead to extensive restorations of teeth or tooth loss. It may also lead to chronic muscle and jaw joint pain, which can lead to depression and get worse with stress.
Treatments for if you Grind your Teeth
Make sure to talk to us if you notice you grind your teeth. While it cannot be cured, it can be treated to minimize the impact on your teeth, jaw, and surrounding muscles. The primary treatment is to get fitted for a nighttime mouth guard. In some instances, medications are used to help treat nighttime teeth grinding, but these should be viewed as secondary to the mouth guard and only used temporarily. The mouth guard is the best option because of its safety, and it will protect your teeth from more wearing. Schedule an appointment and we can check your teeth and mouth and recommend what would be best for you.