Do you, your roommate, your child, or your partner have a problem with teeth grinding or clenching? If so, it may be time to seek treatment for bruxism, which is when people involuntarily and habitually grind their teeth. Although the causes of bruxism vary from person to person, bruxism can be brought on by stress, anxiety, hyperactivity problems, sleep disorders, acid reflux, or other medical conditions like Parkinson’s disease. While it may seem like a minor annoyance at worst, grinding your teeth can have a profound effect on your mouth, and should be treated right away.
How Teeth Grinding Affects Your Teeth and Mouth
When people grind their teeth uncontrollably, it can cause serious injuries to the teeth and soft tissues of the mouth, including dental cracks, tooth fractures, tongue and cheek lacerations, and a sore jaw. Teeth grinding can be very hard on dental restorations, damaging fillings, crowns, composite resins, porcelain veneers, dental implants, and fixed bridges.
Signs of Teeth Grinding
Unfortunately, because sufferers are often unconscious of the fact that they grind their teeth, most don’t even realize they have a problem with bruxism until it starts to affect their overall health. Here are some of the most common signs of teeth grinding, and how to spot trouble before bruxism causes extensive damage.
Loud Grinding Noises
When people grind their teeth, it can create loud scraping, crunching, or grinding noises. Talk with roommates, children, or your spouse to see if you make noise while you sleep.
Look at your teeth to see if the edges of crowns look like they have been chipped, filed flat, or fractured. Tooth grinding also causes tooth sensitivity, since fractures can expose delicate nerves and soft tissues inside the teeth.
Morning Jaw Pain
Does your neck or jaw hurt in the morning? The constant clenching during teeth grinding can make your neck, jaw, or face tender and fatigued. The muscle tension created by teeth clenching and grinding can also cause faint earaches or dull headaches that feel like they originate in the temples.
Pay attention to any new cuts you notice in your mouth. If you can’t explain why your tongue, cheeks, or lips are cut, you might be grinding your teeth as you sleep.
For more information about bruxism and how to prevent dental damage, make an appointment with Oak Park Dental. Our dentists in Madison, WI are here to answer your questions and keep your smile safe.