Teeth Grinding And Clenching
If you have ever woken up with a sore jaw or been kept up all night from the sounds of a tooth grinding bed partner, then teeth grinding has already affected your life negatively. Also known as bruxism, teeth grinding and clenching is, unfortunately, a common complaint.
Bruxism is treatable, however. Here’s what you need to know.
The Causes of Bruxism
There are actually several reasons that someone might clench or grind his or her teeth. Sometimes the exact cause is not clear, but there are still some common causes, including:
- Stress: Anxiety and/or stress is the most common cause of clenching or grinding. As the mind releases its tension, the jaw will often lock up as a coping mechanism.
- Sleep Disorders: People who suffer from sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, are more likely to grind their teeth than those without sleep troubles.
- Medications: Unfortunately, the medications that some take in order to control their anxiety or depression can actually cause teeth grinding as well.
- Daily Habits: There are several lifestyle choices that can also cause grinding, including excessive drinking of alcohol, excessive caffeine intake, smoking, and recreational drug use.
- Teeth Alignment: Sometimes, even having a misaligned bite can cause you to grind your teeth as a response when the teeth meet up.
How to Know you are Grinding
If you suspect that you might be grinding, but are not sure, here are some clues that could mean you do have bruxism.
- Headaches: If you wake up with a headache, teeth grinding could be a cause.
- Facial Pain: Facial pain means sore muscles along your cheeks and ears.
- Sore Jaw: Your jaw might feel tired, locked up, or simply sore from working all night on grinding.
- Earache: The jaw is closely connected to the ear. With too much work, your ear could hurt too.
- Broken or Cracked Teeth: If you have found that you are breaking or cracking your molars without explanation, you could be grinding.
- Excessive Dental Wear: When it seems like your teeth are wearing too quickly or unevenly, it might be time to call your local Vancouver dentist.
- Complaints from Partner: This is the easiest way to know if you have bruxism. Your spouse or partner should be able to hear you at night. Bruxism can be incredibly loud.
What you can do
Grinding your teeth does not need to become something that you deal with for the rest of your life. There are some steps that you can take. If you believe that your bruxism is caused by a lifestyle choice, you can start by altering choices that could be affecting your sleep.
For those who are still finding themselves grinding their teeth, you should call your dentist’s office to schedule a consultation. There are many solutions out there, including wearing a nightguard to protect your teeth and prevent the grinding. Even if you do not know why you are grinding, a nightguard can help prevent the grinding from causing damage. Contact your dentist for more information.