Teeth grinding is a common habit that many people have. Bruxism, the medical term that refers to grinding of the teeth, should be taken seriously because of the many problems it can lead to. Some people grind their teeth in their sleep and are not even aware they do it until a dentist points out the wear patterns on their teeth.
People also grind their teeth or clench their jaw while awake in response to stress or anxiety and sometimes while hyper focusing. If you find yourself doing this, it is important to seek treatment before you do serious damage to your body.
Dr. Drew Shulman is a dentist in Northeast Philadelphia who has experience treating jaw clenching and teeth grinding. He can also correct the damage it can cause to the teeth.
What Causes Teeth Grinding?
The cause of teeth grinding is unique from patient to patient. At your appointment with Dr. Shulman, he will ask you a multitude of questions to help figure out why. Caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, and drugs can increase your risk grinding your teeth. Also, night time grinding is sometimes associated with sleep apnea and acid reflux.
Most patients we see at our Northeast Philadelphia dentist office suffer from teeth grinding because of:
- Malocclusion (when the teeth are not aligned properly)
- Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMD)
- Stress, anxiety or tension
Common Teeth Grinding Symptoms
If you grind in your sleep, you may not even be aware you are doing it. There are few telling signs that your grind your teeth including:
- Worn down teeth
- Broken or chipped teeth
- Sensitive teeth
- Jaw pain, sore jaw muscles, tight jaw joints
- Headaches, especially in the morning
- General ear or face pain
- Tissue damage on the inside of your cheek
Treatment for Teeth Grinding
As a talented restorative dentist in Northeast Philadelphia, Dr. Shulman can help you find relief form teeth grinding (bruxism). His goal will be to help you pinpoint the cause, stop the grinding, and correct any damage. If you grind your teeth due to stress or anxiety, the simplest answer may be a lifestyle change.
Finding ways to reduce stress or relax, such as doing yoga, may be the key to helping you find relief from this habit. Dr. Shulman offers the following treatments for teeth grinding:
Oral appliance or splint therapy – Dr. Shulman frequently uses oral appliance therapy as an effective tool to protect teeth from constant grinding if the patient does it in their sleep. The appliance is custom made from dental impressions and will fit over the front teeth.
It should be worn while sleeping on the upper or lower teeth. This innovative treatment will help with jaw and face pain and eliminate the risk of damage to the teeth from constant grinding and clenching.
Bite Alignment Therapy – A leading cause of TMJ disorders and teeth grinding is malocclusion. This is when the teeth are simply aligned incorrectly. Teeth can be brought into proper alignment with the use of several treatments including Invisalign® clear aligners, porcelain veneers, or dental crowns.
Repairing the Damage – If your teeth grinding has caused significant damage, Dr. Shulman offers many treatments to correct it. He may suggest repairing worn down, chipped, cracked or broken teeth with dental crowns, porcelain veneers, or teeth bonding.
Teeth Grinding FAQs
What is the main reason people grind their teeth?
Most people grind their teeth without knowing it. This is directly related to stress and is a physical release of stress in an involuntary manner. Grinding one’s teeth becomes a habit that can be hard to break. People may also grind their teeth due to depression, consuming excessive caffeine, or tobacco use.
Is teeth grinding harmful to my health?
Yes- teeth grinding can cause extreme damage to patients oral health. The pressure exerted on your teeth from grinding causes damage to their surface, and the enamel. Patients ability to speak clearly, eat, and sleep can all be impacted by teeth grinding.
How can I know if I have been grinding my teeth at night?
Many patients get chronic headaches because of their habit of teeth grinding. The headaches usually occur in the morning. Patients may also feel neck pain or muscular tightness due to teeth grinding. Other symptoms you may be grinding your teeth are TMJ pain and insomnia.
If you notice that the surface of your teeth is worn down or chipped, it is a good idea to see your dentist and be evaluated for what may be the cause.
How can teeth grinding be stopped or prevented?
The first step in breaking a habit is to find its source. For most patients the source of their teeth grinding is stress. Stress is a large overall issue, so finding exactly what is causing the patient stress is important. Then, attempting to help them deal with their stress in a healthy way can help stop them from grinding their teeth.
Wearing a mouthguard provides a physical barrier between the teeth so that damage is not caused and teeth are protected.