Common Dental Issues // Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)
Why do I grind my teeth?
Sudbury Dental Arts serving Sudbury, Concord, Maynard & Lincoln and the surrounding areas.
Teeth grinding, also called bruxism, is often viewed as a harmless, though annoying, habit. Some people develop bruxism from an inability to deal with stress or anxiety.
However, teeth grinding can literally transform your bite relationship and worse, severely damage your teeth and jaws over long periods of time.
Teeth grinding can cause abrasion to the chewing surfaces of your teeth. This abnormal wear and tear will prematurely age and loosen your teeth, and open them to problems such as hypersensitivity (from the small cracks that form, exposing your dentin). Bruxism can also lead to chronic jaw and facial pain, as well as headaches.
If no one has told you that you grind your teeth, here are a few clues that you may suffer from bruxism:
- Your jaw is often sore, or you hear a popping sound when you open and close your mouth.
- Your teeth look abnormally short or worn down.
- You notice small dents in your tongue.
The good news is that bruxism is potentially treatable. One such therapy involves the use of a special appliance worn while sleeping. Less intrusive, though just as effective methods could involve biofeedback, and behavior modification, such as tongue exercises and learning how to properly align your tongue, teeth and lips.
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How can I stop teeth grinding?
Being fitted for an occlusal or night guard by Dr. Mackey for TMJ will help to protect your teeth from the effects of grinding while you sleep. However, in order to cease teeth grinding completely, it is important to treat the triggers for why you grind your teeth.
If stress is causing your bruxism, ask Dr. Mackey about stress reduction techniques and options. Exercise, stress counseling, or prescription muscle relaxers may help reduce how often or severely you grind your teeth.
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