Teeth grinding is a common problem that can be caused by conditions like stress, a sleeping disorder or a bad bite. If it happens once in a while, teeth grinding does little harm, if any. When it goes untreated for a long time, teeth grinding can result in pain and damaged teeth.
Chronic teeth grinding that is severe enough to cause pain should not be ignored. For this reason, you should be on the lookout for its symptoms. You should also learn about the various ways that a dentist or a doctor will treat bruxism.
How teeth grinding happens
Bruxism is when a person clenches their jaw constantly and unconsciously. The jaw clenching that causes teeth grinding can be an unconscious reaction to stress. Often, teeth grinding happens during sleep, especially in people who have breathing and sleeping disorders like sleep apnea.
It can also be the jaw's way of trying to correct itself when it is misaligned. People with missing, crooked or misaligned teeth are also more likely to clench their jaws and grind their teeth.
Symptoms of bruxism
A telltale symptom of bruxism is dull and persistent pain in the jaws, teeth or facial muscles. Other symptoms are:
- Worn-down or fractured teeth
- Tenderness of the jaw
- In severe cases, the person's lower face swelling up, changing their facial appearance
The root cause of a patient's teeth grinding determines how a dentist or doctor treats the disorder. Common treatments of bruxism are:
A mouthguard will keep a patient's teeth from making contact and grinding against each other during sleep. In this way, the mouthguard prevents the jawbone from absorbing the pressure of grinding.
2. Stress management techniques
Many people clench their jaws when they are stressed, so a constantly stressed person is likely to grind their teeth all the time.
By dealing with the stress itself, a person can get rid of the trigger that causes them to clench their jaw.
This treatment is meant to help a person quit the habit of clenching their jaw. It works by teaching the patient to be aware of the involuntary clenching of their jaw muscles.
A therapist teaches the patient to control the movements of their jaw muscles, often with the help of vibrations, visual stimuli or sound.
4. Orthodontic treatment
If the underlying cause of the grinding is a bad bite or a misaligned jaw, then treating the problem will cure the teeth grinding in the long term.
Do not let your teeth turn your life into a grind
No one should have to live with the pain and discomfort of chronic teeth grinding. If you find that your jaws or teeth are always hurting, do come and see us. We will find the cause of your pain and put you on the right treatment plan for bruxism.
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