Have you ever caught yourself grinding or clenching your teeth in your sleep? If you have, you’re not alone. Bruxism, or teeth grinding and teeth clenching, is the third most common sleep disorder among adults and children. Grinding our teeth can be spurred on by a few different things, but regardless of the cause, it’s extremely damaging for our oral health. Over time, grinding your teeth can lead to tooth fractures and eventual tooth loss. For those patients dealing with tooth loss, we offer restorative dentistry services restore missing teeth. Leaving tooth loss untreated can lead to increased risk of losing the surrounding teeth and more oral health complications. Many patients are unaware they are at risk for tooth loss because teeth grinding often occurs during sleep. The best way to avoid this potential risk is to be familiar with the warning signs of bruxism. Dr. Tall of Sandcreek Dental explains the common causes and symptoms of teeth grinding.
Catching bruxism early on can save yourself the pain of tooth sensitivity and expensive dental treatment. If you allow bruxism to continue on long enough, you can eventually wear away your tooth enamel, exposing the nerve of the tooth and causing tooth sensitivity. In other cases, bruxism can cause jaw dysfunction or temporomandibular disorders (TMD). If you show any symptoms of bruxism, speak to your dentist to find out the potential causes and solutions. Here are the common warning signs that you’re putting your pearly whites at risk by grinding or clenching:
Grinding sound at night
Painful or tight feeling in the jaw muscles
Damaged teeth or gums
Broken dental fillings
Swelling on the jaw
The causes of bruxism still aren’t completely understood because there are a variety of physical and psychological factors that have to be considered for specific patients. We do understand there are some universal factors that can cause people to grind their teeth. Here are the most common causes of bruxism:
Stress or anxiety
Misalignment of upper and lower teeth
Side effect of medication
Sleep apnea or other sleep disorders
As you can tell, reasons for teeth grinding range from physical issues to problems psychologically. Treating bruxism can be different for each patient, depending on what contributing factors are causing them to grind their teeth. For example, using relaxation techniques would be a great option for those who grind their teeth out of stress and anxiety. In other cases, a mouthguard can be a great option to protect your teeth while sleeping.
Grinding your teeth may be a coping strategy for dealing with stress or simply a weird habit you do while you sleep. Regardless of the cause, it’s important to address the issue before it progresses and causes irreversible damage. If you happen to already have significant damage to your teeth, we offer a range of dental services that can get you smiling again. Let our team at Sandcreek Dental give you a beautiful, confident smile again. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Tall and get one step closer to great oral health.